Last summer painting outside on my property…
I just came back from a road trip with my son. We travelled down to Bend, Oregon to see the band Sigur Ros together. It was a wonderful experience. The concert was incredible. Bend is an amazing town. The people were friendly and very stylish. It seemed to me that everyone walking the streets was wearing colorful climbing gear, even people who didn’t look like they ever stepped foot off the sidewalk were dressed in Patagonia head to toe. In the place were I live now and the nearby town of Ferndale, it’s all about Carhartt. It got me thinking about clothes.
I love clothes and was in the clothing business twice in my life. I understood early on the power of change you felt when you put on clothes of style and quality. No matter how you felt on the inside a transformation, however subtle, would occur with the right jacket, shirt or sweater.
I ditched my silk ties, threw out my dress shirts and gave away all my suits a long time ago. All my casual clothes became quickly splattered with colorful flecks of paint. I began to designate clothes just for painting and they quickly became a canvas of colors on their own.
I needed to work and bring in money, so I started doing odd jobs and housepainting. While I waited for paintings to sell. I was introduced early in that cycle of my life to a pair of very thick white cotton Carhartt overalls. I loved them and I immediatley felt more qualified, confident and capable of tackling any task before me. Over the next ten years my skills and workload increased in my day job. The housepainting morphed into carpentry and I always found a piece of Carhartts that fit the need. Like a suit of armour I would slip into the work clothes and become someone you could count on to do good work, someone who was solid, honest and dependable. I got things done and rarely needed to call in anyone to do work around our house. I learned to do it all myself.
Around my new home the people I run into are not trying to portray themselves as something they are not. They are just good, honest folks trying the best they can to survive and succeed in life. Friendly, helpful and honest. They mostly wear Carhartt because it’s just the best clothes out there for working folks. Fashion and presentation mean nothing. They need clothes to help them through their life…Ferndale is a Carhartt town and I like it that way…
I realized today as I just crested my 50th year that I am a seed planter, a fishermen. I’ve spent my life at the beginning of ever changing cycles. I often knew what to do or how to act before the group did. I saw areas of opportunity before others. I saw the end result of an undertaking before it even began. As a younger man that always deep feeling of knowing in my heart the path to take was often confused by my brain wanting safe or normal. Outsiders perhaps saw me as different because I did not jump headlong into an idea they had. I just saw it another way.
Being an artist means you have to have vision and trust in that knowing when others can’t see what you see. Time and the trickster brain can wreak havoc on a dream. Trusting in the knowing and letting go of fear comes with practise. Age has begun to bring patience and the wonderful affirmations that some of the actions I have taken have paid off. Often for others. The type of life I have lived and the choices I have made when looking at my grown up children make me feel confident that with all the uncertainty I went through to pursue a dream while raising a family, they are going to be okay. Probably better than okay.
A seed planter never rests, even while looking like he’s in a restful state. Like a fisherman in a lawnchair sitting by the waters edge with five or more baited fishing poles in the water. You never know when the line will tug and you pounce on the reward. I was mowing some tall grass yesterday by the ditch and was happy to see Walter my Red Tailed Hawk neighbor pounce down from his tree limb as I had just ran over a snake. I kept moving and was happy to look back at that magnificent bird feasting. Looking to the right I saw how the wildflower seeds I scattered along the ditch last year are really starting to Grow.
Art, vision and seed planting can be a lonely business at the beginning, but, having Faith and living with Love can make miracles happen, however small…