Returning to work after being ill is likely a challenge for anyone. I find that it takes me a few days to reassess where I left off. Now that the paint on panel and palette is fully dry, let alone the bestilled physical rhythm, the flow of brush stroke, it feels like all that was in process now must be abandoned and a new piece approached. There is pleasure in being back to the profession of my heart, but also a sense of letting go of what may have been and having so little time to explore what is here, like the dog in Kenyon’s poem.
After an Illness, Walking the Dog
by Jane Kenyon
Wet things smell stronger,
and I suppose his main regret is that
he can sniff just one at a time.
In a frenzy of delight
he runs way up the sandy road—
scored by freshets after five days
of rain. Every pebble gleams, every leaf.
When I whistle he halts abruptly
and steps in a circle,
swings his extravagant tail.
The he rolls and rubs his muzzle
in a particular place, while the drizzle
falls without cease, and Queen Anne’s lace
and Goldenrod bend low.
The top of the logging road stands open
and light. Another day, before
hunting starts, we’ll see how far it goes,
leaving word first at home.
The footing is ambiguous.
Soaked and muddy, the dog drops,
panting, and looks up with what amounts
to a grin. It’s so good to be uphill with him,
nicely winded, and looking down on the pond.
A sound commences in my left ear
like the sound of the sea in a shell;
a downward, vertiginous drag comes with it.
Time to head home. I wait
until we’re nearly out to the main road
to put him back on the leash, and he
—the designated optimist—
imagines to the end that he is free.how hard it is to reenter, and to redo- now dry paint