And I'll Puff
And I'll Blow Your House Down
Looking For Miracles
Among the Ruins.
My first exhibition. Dani's Place. She took my framed garden pages and built a lifelike garden space in the back of her store. Brought in tree stumps. Landscaped the floor with stepping stones. My garden pages blooming in her garden retreat. Dani gave me aesthetic advice on adding punch to my styling. I didn't see her foot coming. Too busy cozying up to my new celebrity.
Kicked me out.
Told me to take my act on the road.
Life is not one-stop shopping.
Move. Move. Move.
If not, you might get hit by a train.
She wasn't kidding.
That is exactly what happened to her. Her first store, located precipitously close to the train tracks, took a vicious hit. From a train. Hurtling off the track. A very unwelcome and dangerously disgruntled consumer.
Move. Move. Move.
She did. Grateful for life. Grateful for second chances.
I don't always listen well. Caught up in the fabulousness of first fame, I needed to show off. First time is the charm. This artist business a breeze. Who wants my autograph? I picked up my son from the airport. Off to see the wizard. That would be me! On the way, an ominous warning. A speeding ticket. 25 mph in a 15 mph zone. I was in the zone all right. A police escort to my grand opening, under different circumstances, might have been nice. This was not part of the red carpet ceremony I had in mind. Sirens, yes. Ticket scalping, no.
At the top of the hill.
Lots of them.
My son mused cautiously, "Mom, I hope that your store is not the one with the police tape around it."
The sooty, blackened and charred remains, not my store, but Dani's. Ashes to ashes and garden pages to dust. I have the newspaper photo in my studio. Through the front door, my garden pages are visible, waterlogged and blistered.
They are nothing compared to the look on Dani's father's face. Heart. Ache. First a train. Now an electrical meltdown.
This time Dani would not make a comeback. I tried to reach her, but we never spoke again.
Move. Move. Move. She said. Keep moving. Even then, there are no guarantees. No warranty for good behavior. No promise that tomorrow will be a better day.
Dani took a chance on me. She took a chance on many artists in the area. She gave them space and encouragement and hope. I used that hope, her belief in me, to keep moving. Hope, became the first of the three little pots. Faith and charity were soon to follow.
I did the only thing I know how to do when life is difficult.
I wrote...to her. I wrote...
I've been hit by a train
burned to the ground
scorched and singed
two big strikes
and my eyes are on the sky
is this a sign
the final blow of a train whistle
the remnants of a conflagration
a signal to put my hands in my pockets
and to walk away
maybe the business woman
the bottom line chaser must quit
but the artist in me
the believer in the spirit
of good work
of hands creating
of minds dreaming
cannot succumb to idle fate
my business has been a home
and has made a path
for artists to speak
porcelain, paint, flowers
these artists will remain with me
wherever I go
and return to me
whenever I need
a reminder to dream
hope to believe
and courage to rebuild
Thank you notes, people.
No matter where you are on your journey, it is more than just being polite, it is a personal reminder that we are never alone.