Sunday, June 28, 2015

Residency Retreat Recap

When I first got here, I was anxious to get to work. Frantically, I spent hours in my studio, getting up only for food and bathroom breaks. Over the last two weeks, though, my pace changed. Blame it on the heat, or a sore neck, but this residency has transitioned into something more like a retreat.

Don't get me wrong - there's still work to be done (on the farm and on the page), but I've lost that anxious edge. These days, you'll find my writing in bed, a sweet breeze slipping through my room, or taking prairie walks at sunset, watching the wind tickle the tall grasses. I watch a robin fly to and from her nest while a skeptical rabbit watches me with a sidelong stare. Time has slowed down. The hours are plentiful. Afternoons are made for napping. The other day, it took me an hour to drive four mils because I kept stopping to take pictures and collect sage growing wild on the side of the road.

I realized recently that I had spent so much time in my studio that I hadn't connected with my surroundings - which was okay, for a time. I was connecting with my work and that was great. But now that I've released my tight grip on my work, I've been gorgeously rewarded by loud laughter that travels across fields and shakes this old house, delicious dips in the nearby lake, long rambles across rolling prairie, mulberry stained fingers, and the blooming of beautiful friendships.

I am so grateful for Ed Dadey and his Art Farm. His is a beautiful vision - strangers coming together to create art and share a special time out of time together in the middle of nowhere. I appreciate his complete openness and the support he gives all of the artists here by simply throwing us together and allowing whatever needs to happen happen. He asks little of us besides the 12 hours of work per week and gives so much in return. In working for him, he gives us tools and let's us figure it out, whether that be with carpentry, electrical work, or plumbing. May we learn to approach all endeavors with as much faith as Ed has in us, always trusting that we will figure out how to read plumbing plans or design a three-way light switch. We have no choice but to rise.