Yes I know, I signed off yesterday claiming it was my last post for the week. But, much like my Art Quilt Campus sessions the fun is never over on Friday night after our little farewell gathering. Who would have anticipated that August 2019 saw the group together for the last time? But, life moves on and so do our goals and friendships.
Speaking of friendships: Thank you to those of you who have taken a moment this week to get in touch via a kind message or phone call. It meant the world to me because after I called it all off at the beginning of June it felt like the past years were just a dream. This week has reaffirmed with me that not all was in vain.
On Saturday mornings at the Abbey things moved quickly! Last items were securely packed into vehicles, rooms checked, bedding stripped and placed into the laundry carts and after breakfast the shouts of “Good bye! See you next year!” would travel through the air interrupted only by heartfelt hugs and even a few tears. Those were bittersweet moments made more bearable by the knowledge that everyone had gained a tremendous amount of feedback through individually guided learning. Self-confidence was boosted and friendships reaffirmed throughout the week, whether in the sewing studio, the dye room or during social time in the dorm’s living room. These experiences fueled everyone and provided a jumping off point for solitary pursuit of ideas and concepts. Saturday might have been bittersweet but it was also a time of shifting gears and finding the energy to embark on the trip home, often with shared rides providing the opportunity to recall special moments and discuss new ideas hatched during the week. Once the last car door closed and the good bye waves ceased I would walk the empty halls of the dorm, picking up items here and there. Gather food and wine left for the monks as thank yous, move on to the dye room where we moved the jars and other supplies into the car and finally stopped into the sewing studio to collapse the last of the tables, stow away the chairs and assist with the wet mopping of the floor. It was a routine, and I am missing this well-established routine today…
I sincerely hope that those who engaged in focused studio work this past week have set new goals and found new ways to achieve them. For me, writing a daily column here has been a very positive experience. I feel refueled and am grateful for this platform. Writing has been a vital part of my art practice for many years. 23 years ago I studied “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron for the first time and I journalled every morning for three years. Journalling has been what has catapulted me forward countless times. I can journal anywhere, anytime even when I was on the road, waiting in airports for connecting flights from one teaching venue to the next. I meandered in and out of using a hard-cover journal but weaving words together in the most meaningful way to motivate others has mostly happened here, on my blog. I have started other blogs for my writing off and on but they have all been deleted as my focus was all over the place… great practice but nothing too worthwhile to share publicly. These days I get good energy from posting here. Thanks for following along and providing feedback this week and in the past. It keeps me going!
I cannot help but wonder what underlying blessings the cancellation of AQC 2020 has had. When the decision was struck not to gather at St. Peter’s Abbey this year many of the former participants and I had this nagging doubt that perhaps we jumped the gun and this “Covid thing” or “the damn virus” (as many called it) would be on its way out. However, this is not the case and with numbers rising in many communities across the country I breathe a sigh of relief that we did not forge ahead. I could have never lived with myself if I had contributed in any way to the spread of Covid19.
A couple of nights ago I came across an alarming article from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix which confirmed some of my observations and highlighted once again for me that the decision to cancel AQC was the correct and only decision. Here is the article for anyone interested.
The following headline: Sask. has more ‘cynical spreader’ in Canada: survey – Saskatchewan has the most people who do next to nothing to fight the spread of COVID-19 of any Canadian province, according to a new survey.
I am not proud of this fact, especially since I live here. However, I have encountered the signs all around. Getting nasty looks when wearing a mask around Moose Jaw started in late March when I entered the largest Supermarket in town with a homemade cloth mask. People wearing disposable gloves were the most obvious staring overtly while touching everything in their path, even rearranging the cookie display in the bakery section while waiting in the long line to the cash register. I switched grocery stores because the one I support now is committed to observing best practices. Recently Walmart (a big box store I rarely frequented in the past) implemented the practice of wearing masks. I applaud this decision whole-heartedly.
But, how can we possibly trust friends and acquaintances when in one sentence they invite themselves to come for physical-distance a visit on the deck and in the next sentence share with you that they have a sore throat, achy muscles and the chills. One can say, at least she told me. I respectfully countered that I will not welcome her to our place because I am very protective of my husband who, for the past 5 years, has held his own but if contracting COVID19 would have a severe setback. (No, I am not exaggerating!) My so-called friend went on to spew negativity about mask-wearing and how she will not support Walmart because they implemented the mask-wearing rule. My response was simple: “We see the world through different sets of glasses.” It is obvious that she does not have the insight that wearing a mask is a sign of respect for others, not to mention it is a way to provide protection for oneself. She freely admitted that if her husband was ill she would think about wearing a mask… but because that is not the case she will not feed into the hysteria. I was truly speechless. But, when the Star Phoenix report appeared in my inbox I was somewhat prepared that her stance was not an isolated one.
As someone stated recently, ‘How can a population be so helpful and caring they would drop everything to help out a fellow human being struck by misfortune (like a fire that destroyed a barn or a tornado that wreaked havoc to personal property) yet in contrast be so ignorant not to engage in the simple act of wearing a mask to protect from an invisible threat?’ There you have it! Simply put I repeat my earlier statement: I am deeply disappointed in people’s carelessness. I know, not everyone subscribes to ignorance but I feel it has been an invisible battle enduring angry stares and downright open arguments via messaging apps and sometimes in person. There is so much anger and impatience all around us. The call to kindness has been largely ignored and why do we need to be reminded to be kind to one another anyways? Isn’t it something we were supposedly taught in childhood? When I studied for my Canadian citizenship exam in 1988 I clearly remember that Canada subscribes to the Golden Rule…
We have encountered our share of impatience and rudeness during the Covid physical and social distancing measures first hand, and not just while shopping. I am constantly shocked about how rude people are that are viewing our property. On the one hand, we have had so many showings since April that I have lost count. I believe it is one way for people to get out and overcome boredom at home. Lately we have had groups of people just walking onto the property while arguing with our realtor on the phone that they should have access and a viewing right now because they are on their way back home (to the city) and don’t have time to wait around for the realtor to come out to the lake, instead expecting the owners to open the doors at the drop of a hat. Hmmm, what happened to making appointments and observing proper health protocols when entering someone’s home? Who can truly open the door and pull off a property showing at an instant? I have done it in 25 minutes… but these days I am not willing to compromise our careful routine and interactions with the small number of people in our social bubble.
I realize I have digressed somewhat from the beginning of this post, but I needed to share and let off some steam. Feel free to skip or ignore the latter part of the post.
Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend filled with safe and respectful encounters. Foster creativity and stay in touch! Best wishes, Anna