The Passage of Time in a Place

‘YOUR eyes that once were never weary of mine
Are bowed in sorrow under pendulous lids,
Because our love is waning.’
And then She:
‘Although our love is waning, let us stand
By the lone border of the lake once more,
Together in that hour of gentleness
When the poor tired child, passion, falls asleep.
How far away the stars seem, and how far
Is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart!’
Pensive they paced along the faded leaves,
While slowly he whose hand held hers replied:
‘Passion has often worn our wandering hearts.’
The woods were round them, and the yellow leaves
Fell like faint meteors in the gloom, and once
A rabbit old and lame limped down the path;
Autumn was over him: and now they stood
On the lone border of the lake once more:
Turning, he saw that she had thrust dead leaves
Gathered in silence, dewy as her eyes,
In bosom and hair.
‘Ah, do not mourn,’ he said,
‘That we are tired, for other loves await us;
Hate on and love through unrepining hours.
Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell.’

 – Ephemera by W.B. Yeats, 1865-1939

For the last few days, I have been walking the two and a half miles from my friend’s house to the jewelry studio and realizing that the quiet time that walking gives me is what is giving structure to my day and to my thoughts. If I don’t walk a long distance, I feel like my day is incomplete.

The other day I went to one of my favorite coffee shops for lunch with a friend. We had amazing salads served by a super cute waitress who looked like Julianne Moore, and I was completely overwhelmed by the experience, simply because of the sheer amount of people who were so uniquely dressed, so funky, so cool.

The culture of Austin encourages uniqueness of spirit and clothing, and the young people here go all out. This is definitely where I get my own sense of style:  having grown up in a city where I was encouraged to be myself. One of the strengths of this city, I think, is its encouragement of people being themselves and not worrying what others think. This makes it a very young city, which is a good and a bad thing. The Peter Pan quality of Austin, or in other descriptive turns of phrase, the Velvet Coffin Effect, is one of the main reasons why I moved away from the city a year and a half ago. But, it sure is nice to visit and see  amazing people and realize how exciting it is to be in a place where there is so much to do.

That being said, however, I find myself overwhelmed by the intense action of this city. I used to find it very laid back, and on this trip I am actually finding it to be incredibly busy, colorful, loud and not the place that I remember it.  I know that, when I lived here, I had a home and a job and all the things that ground your life, but, I think that you gain a sense of perspective once you leave a place and return to it as a visitor. Returning to Austin with eyes wide open after a year of Philadelphia, New York and Maine, has shown me that while I truly love this city and the fact that it helped me cultivate and create my personality from a girl of eighteen to a woman of thirty, that I was right to have moved away.

Creativity has been the theme of my trip to Austin: I have spent much of my time here working on jewelry at my old studio off South Congress. There are few places in the world that I love more than this studio. The studio is in an old building above an antique shop called Uncommon Objects, and I have been working there for about five years.  I find the space itself inspiring and welcoming, and every time I go inside, my mind starts working on overdrive to make make make and to dream of one day having my own studio that is filled with a million inspiring objects.

Is clutter and collection a part of the creative process?

It definitely seems to be; all my friends, myself included, who are intensely creative are magpies of a sort. We collect, display and learn about many different things. Our houses are filled with tiny trinkets and artworks, seemingly random objects that hold an amazing beauty and inspire the process of making new things. I cannot tell you the joy I get from wandering through junk shops, looking through piles of old photographs, or installing a new treasure into a corner or shelf of my home simply for the joy of looking upon it.

For me, home is a place to decorate as if it were a living museum, dedicated to the beauty of strange objects. Home is an art work, one that is never completed.

About six months ago, after years of massive upheavals, I decided to fundamentally change my life and take this year off to reflect. Making that decision was a scary one, but just now I am beginning to feel that I am on the right course.

My Cross Country Tour has been very disruptive to me and makes me feel, sometimes,  like I am falling off track or something, but I am learning to just go with it and let it flow. Every moment I am thinking and learning about myself and what I want to be doing with my time. I am trying to pay attention to everything that I see, taking note of trees and flowers, rocks and houses, people, cars , animals, stores. I am trying to let go of controlling my thinking so that, especially as I walk, the thoughts that are important bubble up into my conscious brain and realizations are then made.

Today’s post rambles around a bit: I think this is the problem I am having here is that there is so much going on that everything is distracting. But perhaps this leg of the journey, these moments, are opportunities to be in the present and experience what is going on around me. To not over-think, just to be for a little while, watch and listen, create some beautiful objects, remember and think forward to two weeks from now, when I will have a home of my own again.

“Whatever it was, the image that stopped you, the one on which you
came to grief, projecting it over & over on empty walls.

Now to give up the temptations of the projector; to see instead the
web of cracks filtering across the plaster.

To read there the map of the future, the roads radiating from the
initial split, the filaments thrown out from that impasse.

To reread the instructions on your palm; to find there how the
lifeline, broken, keeps its direction.

To read the etched rays of the bullet-hole left years ago in the
glass; to know in every distortion of the light what fracture is.

To put the prism in your pocket, the thin glass lens, the map
of the inner city, the little book with gridded pages.

To pull yourself up by your own roots; to eat the last meal in
your old neighborhood.”

Shooting Script by Adrienne Rich

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