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turning inward with blueberry blossoms: are artists non-essential in 2020?


I have been obsessed with the fantasy of uncovering all the blueberry bushes on our land, and there are lots, maybe hundreds of them scattered across what was once an old farm over 50 years ago... it's now our home and the blueberry bushes still stick to my imagination with juicy promise of succulent fruit while I birth heroic images. I see myself saving them from disappearing altogether. From slipping away and dying into an alternate fantasy replacing the bushes with a new forest that takes over and obliterates the fields.

... are they wild? Were they cultivated by farmers decades ago?

For more than 10 years this array of dozens of hidden bushes in overgrown fields have haunted me, beckoning me to uncover them, return them to drinking in the sun so they can bear fruit that feeds the birds, bears, humans and my imagination - because in my imagination they are friends, vibrant beings - alive and showing me their desire to thrive.

Having caught my attention they won't release it!

And over the years I have kept the wild mostly off, in my efforts to thin brambles and saplings, but I ultimately fell short because my life in Springtime is as hungry as a bear after a long sleepy fast, where busy days become demanding and the old fields inevitably fall to outer edges of my peripheral view - they give way to priorities like earning a living.

That's no easy feat, earning a living as artists, which Aaron and I are.

BHAM! Huh? WHAT? Not this year! The 2020 Pandemic, coronavirus, covid-19 has put us under house arrest. Art Fairs-cancelled! Airbnb-cancelled! We usually sell art while traveling on the commercial road and rent out our house for luscious summer days to pay our bills - but, not this Season! Nope. Grounded. Stay-at-home. One month, two months, starting our third month with no sign of art shows opening up for the rest of the season. We have a few rental bookings in late summer, a fraction of what we usually get. So....

Artists can become starving farmers, sort of.

We now have time to drive the tractor with the bush hog attachment and bring some light and air to the fields, making them real fields, again! And as I prune the deadwood off the old bushes and clear the brambles around them, I think about how quiet life has become. And slow. And simpler. Redundant. My days feel more like they did during my childhood, when a book would transport me for a few days into other parts of the country or world or universe. And when finished with the book I had nothing pressing to do, besides I was still transitioning from being the heroine of the story.

And now we have Netflix to disappear into.

I guess being an introvert helps. I am not missing the day-to-day drama "out there" of a divided nation arguing about everything. And I am glad to stay out of the way of essential workers so I don't cause them more drama than they already deal with. sigh... so I turn inward with blueberry blossoms. I never knew that a blueberry blossom smells so sweet! And I get lost in the trance of bark and blossoms and delicate leaves and the delicious anticipation of purple blue pulp and juice that can become a pie.

Oh, and I still make paintings, too.


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© 2020 Susan Q Brown​. All Rights Reserved.

American Contemporary Painter

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