Every year, as autumn begins to deepen the colors of the land, I begin to journey inward. For some reason, winter is my nesting season. Traditionally I nest in my home by veering from hammering and sawing on metal and slinging paint in my studio toward curling on the sofa and watching movies, or weaving on my loom in the living room. Yet I also nest inward. I become more introspective and journal more often. I start seeking out retreats and find myself sitting in front of the window staring outside while I think. I become quieter, wanting to spend more time alone, which is unusual for an extrovert. I know if I'm very, very lucky I might have 1/3 of my life left to live... maybe... and I think about that.
Most often, the question I ask myself as the year ends is, what do I want to do with the life left before me? I joke with people these days about my "work". Fellow artists and clients beg me not to give up my watercolor painting as they notice my decline in producing paintings, teaching workshops and entering national competitions. The question most often asked is "What are you doing in your studio?" My answer is usually, "What ever I damned well please at any given moment." And that seems to be my mantra over these last few years. If it jazzes me, I do it. If I want to spend my afternoons doodling in my art journal, I do. If I get excited about a new painting, I begin it... but I may not finish it. If filling the bird feeders and watching the birds is the most important thing in that moment, then that's what I do.
During the spring and summer I attend meetings, produce art like crazy, attend board meetings, and go to events on the arm of my college president husband. I work in the yard and frame paintings for exhibitions and schlep my easel out on location to paint and I travel. But when the steam starts to run out I know colder weather is ahead. I begin to prepare myself for my traditional inward journey, because for me, winter is for nesting, weaving, and baking... and thinking.