I have been captivated by Helen Cann’s book Hand Drawn Maps. My kids and I each take it in turns – I bring it to bed to look at before I go to sleep, someone grabs it to look at before breakfast and all day it lives next to the couch until we decide it’s time to draw something.
In the midst of trying to do everything all at once – which is how a normal morning feels – I end up walking circles in my kitchen, picking things up and putting them back down. Starting three tasks all at once, but leaving each for something that seems more urgent, or at least, more efficient. Scheduling my own days adds to the chaos in my head, because there are few hard deadlines beyond the bodily needs of the family. And all of the rolling deadlines that I set in head.
And so, this is a map that I seem to follow frequently, trying to move in all directions at once. It’s exhausting, but a hard cycle to break. I have learned better ways to quiet my head, but then I go and forget them for long stretches. I painted this with love and humor for my struggle. And, maybe if I adjust my compass and plot a better course, I will find a more direct path through this chaotic land.
I spent the last week in and around Glacier National Park in Montana. Spring mountain weather being what it is, there was a lot of rain on the western side of the mountains. We could see, very clearly, how the mountains caught the clouds and there they would sit until they had dropped enough rain to make it up and over the peaks. Cresting the Continental Divide, we would very quickly emerge from the clouds and into open blue skies. But where we sat, or hiked, on the West side was always covered by clouds. We could get glimpses of snowfields and rock faces, but then they would disappear again while another mountain peaked out.
All this sitting under the clouds got me a little gloomy. But then the summer solstice came. And I spent it under the clouds. Even through I knew it was the longest day of the year, it felt like the big skies of Montana were pressing down on us. And it seemed so mystical to me that the was a bright blue sky with hours and hours of sunlight up there, I just couldn’t see it right now. It raised me spirits and felt a lot like hope — knowing it was there was enough.
I did a lot of stitching on the porch of our cabin, reflecting on the unseen sun and listening to the evening rain.