Robert Frost told us about how “way leads on to way” in his poem “The Road Not Taken.” How we tell ourselves at the moment of veering off, “It’s okay. I can always come back.” But Life moves us forward, choices lead to further choices, and we don’t always come back. Not even when the road not taken looked like a beautiful path that promised hours of happiness. Sometimes we just can’t see how to get back there again.
Many years ago, when our home was bursting with children and teenagers, and I had my own 70 square foot studio in the basement, I realized that my three daughters, sharing a 100 square foot bedroom, needed a bit more space. There was only one solution: let one girl have my studio for her bedroom. It was okay: I didn’t feel like a martyr about it. At the time, I wasn’t using the studio very much anyway. Life had become too busy.
I gave away a lot of equipment and art supplies to an alternative school. I couldn’t bear to get rid of everything, so I squirreled away some watercolor paper, brushes, canvasses, and the like in a closet—just in case I should ever “pass that way again.”
That was 20 years ago.
I went on to work in education and social services, and eventually as a psychotherapist and novelist which is my current path. But I’ve never forgotten that special kind of happiness I used to feel in my little studio as I painted.
Recently I’ve pulled out of the closet some of those supplies. My painter’s hand is a little rusty, but the memory of color theory, of how to make shadows and reflections, is coming back more each time I sit down and try.
But in my little writing rom filled with books, writing notebooks, my computer table and printer, there’s no dedicated space set up for painting. And you need a dedicated space.
Last night, on an impulse, I checked Craigslist, in search of a drafting table like the one I gave away two decades ago. I found a vintage one at a bargain price: my signal of affirmation from the Universe if you believe in that kind of thing, and I do.
I’m clearing out everything that doesn’t need to be here in order to make room for art.
What did you leave behind? What way did you veer off from, telling yourself you’d be back? Is it time to return there?
Above: The “Before” Pictures. More to come….