Tuesday Artist Date: Just a walk in the park, as they say

New growth

New growth

Boy, I must be overdue for a major creative rebirth. Have I been in a mood! Yesterday I was as cranky and obnoxious as I’ve ever been. I whined, I moaned, I did my best to look ostentatiously miserable for the one person who might notice (Erik). More than anything, I wanted to throw a tantrum, the loud kind that involves energetic destruction of objects and lots of kicking and shouting. I looked at a clear glass jar on the counter and wanted to hurl it to the ground, hard, to watch it smash spectacularly. I wanted to kick all our furniture outside and bang it around until it broke. I wanted to punch through all our windows until the outside air came in and swirled around me. It would have been a satisfaction to burn everything to the ground.

As anyone who knows me can attest, I don’t normally exhibit even the slightest of destructive tendencies. But this mood is not a stranger to me. Most of the time it lives far away in some distant country, but every now and then it comes to visit. (I seem to remember that when I was hating grad school, it stayed over quite frequently.) And when it does, I understand all kinds of things that usually feel foreign to me, like rage. We were in the grocery store and a perfectly harmless child was crying, and I actually thought of her as a repellent little whiny brat. And heard myself thinking it, and shrugged: oh well. But I was very grown-up about it all, and didn’t take my foul mood out on Erik… much… and so I had no outlet for all this pent-up destructive energy. All afternoon that old Smashing Pumpkins song went around and around in my head; I put away dishes and sliced tempeh and thought: “despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage…”

Obstructed bay view

Obstructed bay view

I lay in bed last night (our guest room bed, because I found our own bedroom “too hot”) and thought about taking a walk on the trails in the morning. As I pictured myself standing at the top of the hill, looking out, I imagined razing all the homes, roads, and other structures between the hills and the bay, until there was nothing left but bare dirt and char. Then I realized what that would mean. Destruction, yes. But also wider vistas, an uninterrupted view of the bay, and all the breathing space a body could want. I thought, that’s why I want to kick everything and everyone out of here: so I can see straight.

Something new blooming

Something new blooming

This morning, I got up early and headed out to the trails with my camera. I don’t know if this happens anywhere else, but in California, winter is a growth season, when plants parched by summer’s heat drink in the rains to cover the landscape with green. At this point in the fall, just after Halloween, most of our hills are still brown, but you can see the greening just beginning where the rainfall collects into moist mud. I walked east, squinting my eyes shut against the brilliant sunlight, and let the air and the sun and the mud and the effort of brisk uphill motion take the edge off my leftover rage. New things a-comin’.