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An older woman sits on a stool with a paint palette in one hand, and painting on an easel with the other.

Moving and Moving On

“One move is equal to two fires,” according to my grandmother. We have been in the moving process since the beginning of the year. At this point, it feels more like a hurricane, two fires, and a plague of locusts, even though we moved literally next door.

Boxes and chairs, oh my

Like many things in life, including a diagnosis of macular degeneration, this was unexpected.

Last September, my email binged with a notice that the condo we had been renting for more than three years was going on the market. First, we tried to buy the place. Then when we realized that the Universe was whispering “Run from the deal,” we had to find an alternative place for us and our things. I should note that my husband comes from a family of acquisitors, so there was a lot to move - the equivalent of an antique store and art gallery.

The universe stepped in to help

That’s when the Universe stepped in again and pointed me to the empty and recently spruced-up rental next door. It looked just like the one we were in, except smaller. As in the sweater you put in the dryer looks the same but is just a bit snug.

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The upside is that I now have a room of my own with a door, more outside space for gardening, and a spiffed-up kitchen with better lighting. The office comes with a huge window overlooking a small lake and northern light.

The move was part of a larger personal moving on

Since my diagnosis, I have too often found myself focusing on the bad stuff: injections, post-injection, pre-injection anxiety, limitations, challenges, or trying to adopt the “when you get lemons make lemonade” positivity. Too much false positivity if truth be told. We know this diagnosis sucks, and we’d much rather not have to deal with it.

Learned how to draw

In mid-February, I decided to do something with the vision I have for as long as I have it. “Drawing for Absolute Beginners” is just what it says: adults, all post-retirement, learning how to draw thanks to a local continuing education center. We started with a box, moved on to a sphere, and after six weeks are tackling a conch shell.

More complicated than it seems

It turns out that drawing, like many things in life, is much more complicated than it seems. I’ve learned how to hold a pencil for drawing (different than for writing) and how to sharpen it. Clue: do not use a mechanical or electric sharpener. You need to expose more lead than either will give you. Use an Exacto knife. The eraser is almost as important as the pencil. The type of eraser affects the image left on the paper as much as the lead. Leave the pink petal and head directly for the kneaded gray.

Who knew and why did I wait so long?

All of this falls into the category, “Who knew?” It also gets filed under “Why did I wait so long?” As a kid in elementary school, I loved art class. The more tactile the activity, the better. Finger painting, shaping clay.

In high school, art became an elective and something for the arty. I was already in the band (mediocre horn player) so no painting or drawing. Then the career track. I made my living writing for other people, and if I allowed any other part of my creative self to emerge it was in taking photographs.

One sailboat turned into three

Until four years ago when I went to one of those sip and paint nights, a group of people, almost always women, meet at a local bar and basically copy what an artist/teacher has done while drinking wine.

I took the basic idea – boat on the water – and turned it into three sailboats, running under full sail on a windy day. My husband loved it. Friends loved it. And I did nothing serious about developing whatever talent it showed. Until the pandemic, the impending move, and macular degeneration.

Do what you love

Who knows how much vision I will have and for how long. Maybe that’s why the Universe whispered that day in January, “Get with it, kid. Do what you love. Make art.”

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