Gratitude

I had mentioned in a previous post that my family and friends helped me spend a month traveling this past spring. People gave me money, advice, portable art supplies, all kinds of support. And the whole thing was my parents’ idea. I had no idea how much I needed this trip until I took it, and I will never be able to repay them for this gift. I was literally sick with anxiety before I went, an anxiety that had crept into my life so slowly, over so long, that I didn’t really know what it was until it was gone.

I got to let go of daily cares for a month, to ignore politics, to drink in art and history, to spend time with the friends and family who joined me for different parts of the trip looking at beautiful things, walking in the footsteps of idols and legends, eating delicious food, and wandering through incredible landscapes. I got to slow down and think about bigger and more abstract things than my next day’s schedule and deadlines and traffic and what to make for dinner. And as good as my imagination is, there is no substitute for the rock-solid reality of being in the real place, in front of the real painting, inside the real church, placing your hand on the real standing stone.

I came back with new creative life, new drive, and free of the kind of anxiety that gripped me before the trip, and so far none of those benefits has faded.

My wonderful cousin and his wonderful girlfriend gave me some mini art pens and tiny sketchbooks to take with me on the trip, which were perfect, allowing me to travel light without sacrificing materials I like to have with me wherever I go. They also inspired my gratitude project. I bought a bunch of blank postcards, and using those tiny pens, filled them with drawings of things I saw on my travels, then sent them as thank you cards for everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday in such style this year. I worked on them all summer, and finally put them in the mail today. These are the postcards:

Streets of Rome
Streets of Rome

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Sculptures and gardens of Rome
Sculptures and gardens of Rome

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Gardens of Versaille
Gardens of Versailles

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Rodin Museum
Rodin Museum

 

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Images from around Paris
Images from around Paris

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London
London

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Thurso
Thurso, Scotland

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Brough of Birsay, Orkney, Scotland
Brough of Birsay, Orkney, Scotland

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Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland
Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, Scotland

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St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland
St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland

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Other Orkney, Scotland
Other Orkney, Scotland

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Other Scotland Images
Other Scotland Images

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