Sunday, November 1, 2009

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself ...

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." C.S. Lewis quotes (British scholar and novelist. 1898-1963)

Here I go again, another November. I can still see the roses blooming in my back yard garden as I backed my car out of my garage, traveling alone, to my mothers funeral. We come into this world alone, we die alone and some people seem to travel alone on this planet.

As of 1 November 2009, the Earth's population is estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be 6.794 billion

Being among people who don't speak the same language, who don't know about you personally, who may not even notice if you are present or not is one of the loneliest feeling I have experienced.

Most of the time I spend alone is by choice. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. Distractions of unsolicited noise, lack of work space or interrupting questions can easily take me off focus, consequently, I have learned to relish the time in my studio working alone.

Loneliness is a pain so excruciating, like getting a limb caught in a bear trap, one is willing to do just about anything to make it stop. My loneliness began unexpectedly November 13th, 1994 the day my mother died. (blog entry August 20 if you need to fill in the story)

Growing up in a family with two brothers, mom, dad and maternal grandmother left little time or space to be truly alone. Factor in that my mom was the second youngest of nine siblings and my father the oldest of six, many of whom had children, offered me over one hundred cousins. Aunts, Uncles and cousins fill my childhood memories growing up in Greentree a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Siblings from my parents generation made a point to visit with my grandmother's on Sunday's. Our home was the hub of the family central so I got to see many cousins throughout my childhood. After my mother died, followed seven months later by my fathers death in June 1995 virtually all contact with both families stopped albeit a few Christmas cards signed, love aunt .... and uncle ...

Before I moved from Pittsburgh to Western NY, I contacted many of the relative trying to keep in touch. No one invited me to visit their homes to say goodbye, they never even extended an invitation to meet at a restaurant to share a cup of coffee before I moved. People busy with their own family often overlook how others might enjoy being part of a larger community.

I really miss being part of a family community. Many people tell me that having my own children makes up for not having connections with my family of origin. My children belong to the future, they have friends, jobs and lives of their own. I really miss the funny conversations with people where you begin part of a story and they can fill in the rest of the details.

After I moved to Clarence my loneliness and curiosity led me to classes at Buffalo State College then into the Fiber Program. For six years as a student then as an adjunct I poured my energy, enthusiasm and time and money into building that fiber program all the while being told by the professor it was "our program". I believed false words thinking I had found myself a new home. Silly me, I thought "ours" meant my input was appreciated and I too would reap a portion of the rewards. The seeds I planted in that program are now benefiting present day students. When the pond became too small I did not see how I fit there anymore so left for more education at graduate school.

Fast forward two years and I am once again looking for a new place to build a nest.

"When you travel, don't take a walking stick. Also, don't carry a bag, food, or money. Take for your trip only the clothes you are wearing. When you go into a house, stay there until it is time to leave. If the people in the town will not welcome you, go outside the town and shake their dust off of your feet. This will be a warning to them."
Luke 9:1-9

My daughter Kara and I related to the mother/ daughter characters in the movie 2000 Chocolat. "Vianne Rocher and her pre-teen daughter move into a 1960, small town in France and open a chocolate shop just as lent is beginning. The town's small-minded mayor can't accept this and does his best to shut her down, but her warm personality and incredible chocolates manage to win over many townsfolk."

We both love the feel of a small town and the red hooded capes worn by the character as they prepared to leave the past behind.

" The winds of change are blowing again." I am ready for the next stage of my journey to begin.

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