one thing that i find so, let’s see, meditative, about walking along this path that leads down to the ocean, is that it acts as a broom, sweeping away anxieties and conflicts and this cleaning process allows for other, shall we say, more pleasant thoughts, to make their way to the top of the pile of the random thoughts that are constantly swirling around, dust motes, dust kittens (did your mother call the little bundles of dust that hide under the sofa or find their way behind the t.v., the places that don’t always see the working end of a mop or broom and have no fear of the vacuum cleaner, ‘dust kittens’? mine did and i can’t imagine calling them anything else, can you? at least those of you who know what i’m talking about. the rest of you i can’t help); it feels good when you can let that happen, that house-cleaning of the negative (sometimes it’s not even the negative, it’s just the detritus of your daily life that can weigh so on you.)
for the past couple of weeks, i’ve been thinking about the upcoming holidays and what i’m going to make for gifts. when i was a child, it was something of a tradition, probably born out of necessity, that i made gifts for my family, but for many years after adulthood, i didn’t make gifts, although m. would bake and we did host a major dinner (i say major, because it was a production, you know.) but, i’ve picked up that habit again and i can say it makes the holidays and all their attendant nonsense a little more bearable. this then, was one of the more pleasant thoughts that floated to the top on this walk down to the ocean.
one year, when i was 10 or 11, my mother and i took advantage of the air base’s ceramics workshop and poured slip into molds and decorated cups, ashtrays (back when everyone smoked), bowls and other useless items. there was something gratifying to come back to the workspace and crack the mold and carefully pull out your _________, even if you hadn’t designed the item, you had at least chosen it, which required a certain level of creativity and the process of pouring, cleaning, glazing, all added to the sense that you had made something wonderful.
it comes as no surprise to me then, that there is a good feeling associated with making gifts instead of buying them. the entire process, even when it goes south, as it sometimes does and you have to reconsider what you’ve done and what you can do to save it from being a disaster and definitely not something you would give to a stranger even let alone someone you think fondly of or love; the entire process makes me feel good, just like this walk along the path to the ocean that gives me the time to feel that way. there’s a gift for you.