So here's a few words and a few photos about what turned out to be a nice little business trip ...certainly a much more pleasant trip than the ones I used to take when working "for the man" back in my "suit and tie" days. First off, and although no one could possibly care about this but me, my old jeep serviced me very well ....carrying a boat load of trivets to the Florida Keys and back. I left in January with a hopeful "Smiley Face" of my Florida orange trivet on the dash... and returned safely to MA to a crazy combination of snow flurries and 80 degree temperatures.
I thought that I would spend a lot more time painting than I did. But between the pool and the long walks to the beach over the bridge I found there was little time left in the day before the evening news. Some of my beach photos, like the sand dollars and the starfish, however, did find their way on to trivets and sold really well to the snowbirds from Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois.
Next winter I'll have to paint some fish and palm trees. People kept asking for fish and palm trees. I took a lot of pictures of palm trees but I kept going for the unusual perspective and people just wanted the iconic palm tree. Maybe next year I'll be more disciplined.... but I doubt it.
There were many interesting sights and sounds from the "Village People" but one of the ones I found most charming was of two guys passing the time waiting for their "I'll just be a minute", shopping wives.
"Hey Harry, there's no need to go into the mall now if we can just chat right here in our carts...right"?
FYI, I walked by a cart shop while I was in The Villages and saw that some of these little carts can run up to $20,000. As a craftsman selling trivets this is way out of my league. But its all still pretty interesting.
On my way back I stopped at my sister and brother-in-law's home in Georgia for a few days to re-group before driving back to MA. So it was both surprising and ironic that after looking for the perfect shell in places like Honeymoon Island, off Dunedin, FL, I found the perfect shell in a bathroom in Georgia. It was a chambered nautilus, hanging there in a skylight.
The chambered nautilus has been revered for centuries... from sailors to scientists. It has been written about by poets and painted by great American artists. I didn't know this. How could I not have known this?
I have so much yet to learn I guess.
So... when I read Oliver Wendell Holmes poem, "The Chambered Nautilus", it all started to make a little more sense to me that my trip was, in part, about moving on.
P.S. When I got home to my studio apartment everything was in shambles after the pipes had blown. I ate out at restaurants for a few days. But I then decided to move on up to my cabin in Maine....to build a new chamber there...to a bigger and better one than before.
Like the chambered nautilus, there's no turning back now.
I can't wait to get started!
BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign, Sails the unshadowed main,— The venturous bark that flings On the sweet summer wind its purpled wingsIn gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings, And coral reefs lie bare,Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl; Wrecked is the ship of pearl! And every chambered cell,Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell, Before thee lies revealed,—Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil That spread his lustrous coil; Still, as the spiral grew,He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,Stole with soft step its shining archway through, Built up its idle door,Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee, Child of the wandering sea, Cast from her lap, forlorn! From thy dead lips a clearer note is bornThan ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn! While on mine ear it rings,Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:--
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!