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Is it love or just a rock in your boot?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I spend a lot of time taking pride in the world around me. I love where I live. I’m not just talking about the farm. I love being in northeast Ohio and am constantly surprised by the beauty I see here everyday. Even on those cold winter days we all hide from, I manage to eek out a little beauty and little wonder. My experiences are of course enhanced by the person I share all my hopes and dreams with, my wife Abbe. In recent months we haven’t got to see a lot of each other. This goes way beyond our normal tag team parenting and two full time jobs thing. It has more to do with the launching of our business and still trying to keep a normal life for our three kids. I joke with people and tell them to “Jump on in! The water is fine! Three kids and a farm is a breeze.” Most give me a quizzical look and say something like “Really?”…. No, not really, but it is important, powerful and full of love and I wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything in the world.

I had a great opportunity this past weekend to sit on a panel with two of my favorite artists and talk about prospects for artists to go and make work at a residency center – or something like it. This process usually means leaving for several weeks or months and going and immersing yourself in your work. It’s a great thing when you have the time. However, most of us don’t and I of course am no different. I have been able to get away for a week or two and do some professional development things like this, that have brought new insights to my work and friendships that are important. However, those opportunities only come about because of the partnership I have with my wife. If she didn’t support me in going, or I her in doing something for her professional development, neither one of us could grow and challenge our dreams. Further, there is a sweetness that comes with missing home, farm and family that I can’t imagine living without.

So, is it nothing but “work, work, work, all the time?” Ask anyone who knows me and they might question if I ever truly work. Even when I’m sad I try to laugh and enjoy myself. No really, it’s something I taught myself to do a long time ago. However, I am never truly sad because of the strength of my family and mostly because of Abbe. I wouldn’t say she is as cliché as something like my rock, rather I would say she is like a rock in my boot. Now you’re thinking, what the heck is he talking about? She is going to kill him! Wait, just follow me a second. The rock in your boot can be annoying, but your wearing that boot because you’re out doing something, maybe it’s work, maybe it’s pleasure, but you’re doing something. Often you’ll find a spot to take off your boot and see what’s in there and you ‘ll take a moment to take in your surroundings and perhaps see something important. You might then take off your boot, shake it out and find it’s not a rock after all, it’s a priceless gem or even a lucky penny. In my case, that penny would remind me of the greatest love of my life and the power of place and home.