Sunday Letter, Dec.13: The art of life is a lot like making a rug.
For years when my children were at home I took the month of December off. Some years I did not even put a rug on the frame during December. I just wanted to be present, to make gingerbread, to help them make gifts, to have fun, to enjoy the preparation. I loved those years.
I love the getting ready. I savour the time before something beautiful is about to happen. I cherish the expectancy. I have since I was a small child. The quiet before the happening when the house is clean, things are prepared and laid out for loved ones is a special kind of quiet. A silence waiting to be broken.
This year I will be taking more comfort in them than usual as it is unliking we will be able to gather. Yet I know that the ones I love are safe in their homes, with food on the table, candles lit and fires in their hearth. I know they are ok, and that will make me ok. This year is different. So different.
Yet, I don't resent it because it too is made up of days to fill. I find a day to be such a sacred thing. A beautiful thing. When I wake in the morning in the dark, often too early to get out of bed I lay there and think of how I might fill it. I think of how I will feel when the light begins to wash the day with its' brilliance.
I am grateful for it. There is so much good to do.
A day is a day and it is yours to love.
In the dark this morning I thought of sitting here with my coffee and writing to you. I thought about the empty Cheticamp frame that needs a rug drawn upon it. And I thought about you out there making things, putting your hands to work to enrich your lives. Then I read and fell back to sleep for that early morning slumber filled with rich confusing dreams, and woke again ready to embrace what is.
So many of you I have met at a workshop or in the studio, and I know you know the value of a day, even one in a difficult year. I know you know because you too are a maker, a creative, we share this knowledge, this understanding of the beauty of time.
When you wake up and you feel healthy, and your loved ones are good, you have everything you need to create the day.
Because there is an art to life.
I take it on like I'd take on any creative project. I try to fill it with the good, because our good is good enough. The best of us is mixed in with it. I try to curate my days. Most of them are filled with love and forgiveness, for others and for myself, cause I need it too.
Some days things happen that are out of my control. I have learned that when I am able surrender to these things I am better for it. Clearly, sometimes I have to drag myself to that place. One night in particular this week I could feel myself on edge. I could see that I was not being patient or kind, or any of the the things that love is made of.
I slowly talked myself back. It wasn't easy and I know I couldn't have talked my younger self back. But I managed and that makes me grateful for growing older. I just don't want to waste an evening being miserable. The cure for me is easy. I just go to the little studio by myself and make or read or just be. When you know the cure you'd be foolish not to take it. Creativity is only a cure if you express it. It works when you work it.
I am so thankful that I had my creativity to turn to this year. It gave me a place to go. I hope that you too found a deeper love for your hands and your own creative spirit, and that it offered you what you needed. I know that this new deeper relationship I have with my creativity will be staying with me as I move into whatever next year brings.
Thank you for reading, for letting me write to you each week. Writing to you is a blessing in my life,
- Angela Davis