Purpose In Life

“What potent blood hath modest May” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

So here we are: May. It hasn’t been a full year yet, but we’ve entered the month. And with it come the memories and repeats of things done this time last year.

I remember being more tied to the manifestation of seasons when we lived in England. We lived across the street from a lake and a forested trail. We used to walk around that lake often as a family, just to get out of the house.  We would notice each year, the same trees starting to bloom or lose their leaves, the return of the geese, the spring rain and mud. As a Californian, it was thrilling to be so aware of the passing of the year, for I didn’t grow up with such obvious connections to the seasons. Every year, I felt a little older when I’d notice the markers, but I felt connected. Here, we don’t have such obvious signs of the seasons, but we notice them in the subtle changing of the light and now, events as they start to recur.

Today is May 3. This day last year, I photographed a wedding. What lovely memories. Here is a picture of Vernon that evening. How different he looks today.


Yesterday, I was invited to celebrate the year-anniversary since my dear friend Tanya was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Remember Tanya of this post  and this. I had been privileged to paint a couple of murals on her living room walls while she was recovering from the disease…and I was there the day she had been diagnosed. It was amazing to share those creative hours in her company…and here we are. What felt like it would be such a long journey of recovery for her is already over. One year. Wow. So much to be thankful for. She loves birds, so I added this piece to her collection yesterday.


And speaking of artwork, the other day, Maki informed me that there would be a student art-show at the  Casa Romantica. He apparently had some art showing in it, along with all the other middle school and high school students in town. It’s always a treat to go and see the Spanish-style building, built in the 1920s and so beautifully restored. But here were were again: didn’t we do this last year? I missed Vernon being with us.

But I’m so glad we went because we got to talk to Maki’s wonderful art teacher, whom he’s been with for three years. She has been a huge support for him, always encouraging his talent and way of thinking. He’ll miss her next year when he starts high school. I will too: she has been helping me out by checking his homework on ‘school loop” at the end of every class so that it takes the burden off me at the end of the day.

But even better: he won an award! Third place for 2-D art! This is out of  three middle schools presented there, and each one is pretty large! We were all so impressed with him, though we shouldn’t be too surprised. He’s a talented kid.



This is the very cool piece that won. It looks better in person…in fact to me, it looked like an illustration an adult printmaker/postermaker might make. I think he called it “Universal Man.” It’s a foam-board print.

Here is another nice one of his on display. It’s all about those eyes.


So this is the time of year…we are marking things that came up last year, but they have so much more significance now, just because its MAY. Its the  last of last year’s memories that Vernon was with us in them. We’ll have memories next year of Vernon too…but our daily home-life memories will be with the three of us, not the four.

What a strange thing to realize.

But I won’t end on a sad note. Because I’ve shared Maki and my artwork on this post, I’ll also share some of Justine’s recent drawings, so that she isn’t left out. They should make you smile.

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Totoro and the Cat Bus


An almost anatomically-correct dog (named Lucky). And her name signed as a cat. This is my favorite, as she was trying to draw ‘from life.’



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Purpose In Life