Some things stay the same…like the human desire to leave a mark, to make art. Here’s a chalk painting from the 16th St. sidewalk August 31, 2013, and here’s a cave painting from The Cave of the Hands, in Argentina, dating from 13,000 to 9000 years ago.
When I arrived at the bench after unwinding the line down the hill, I saw this dog taking a dump. No sense of reverence whatsoever! Thankfully, the owners were responsible and picked up the yellow nuggets. I met the dog’s owners, Cheryl and Gus. Cheryl had heard about me from her customer back when she was working at the Chrysalis, an elite hotel down on the bay. This wonderful boy came by, talking on his walkie talkie to his parent. He was half black, half white, and his shirt said, “I’m different. Yeah! I’m different.” He asked me some questions about the knitting project and was really into it. I asked him if I could take his picture, and he stood very straight and proud. I just loved his presence. A leader. Later, I met Alan, an older guy with a small backpack. He walked by a couple of times, and finally sat down to chat. I asked him what he does, and he said “I’m a Walker.” He said that when he was young, he asked himself, “What am I good at?” He concluded that he was very good at walking, so since then he’s taken up walking in a serious way. He’s walked from Canada to Mexico, and also done the Appalachian Trail. While we were chatting,the Urban Hiker walked by. What timing! Alan is the second urban hiker I’ve met. He walks from Bellingham Technical College to Fairhaven, about 10 miles a day. He’s training for his next major hike. I didn’t get a chance to ask him where the hike will be. How refreshing that Alan did not give a standard reply, like “I retired from ____________.” Just this week, I’ve made a decision to tell people that I’m an artist when they ask me what I do. It’s a scary step for me because I feel committed, and I feel like I have to take my dream (myself?) seriously. And also, it can be humbling to face the raised eyebrows. I might as well tell people that I make balloon animals, or sell popcorn. I don’t like the questions that inevitably follow: “so do you support yourself as an artist full-time?” I almost feel like I’m not legitimate until I can actually answer “yes.” Anyway, none of this really matters, and it’s good for me to eat humble pie, I suppose. It’s just so unfair…A lawyer, for example, doesn’t have to say, “My passion is law, but waitressing pays the bills.” But I think when people ask me what I do, they want a window into who I am. Telling them that I’m an artist gets to the heart of me, really quickly. I suppose it’s another reason I don’t like it…I’m shy and self-protective. Hah, but I’m saying it anyway, so there!
Today, I knit from 5:15 to 5:55 pm. Shorter than usual because my neighbor invited me for Sicilian pork roast, and I didn’t want to arrive late. The knit was splendid…the highlight was a little girl who told me all about teeter totters, washing your hands, and how her silly baby brother rubbed black beans in his hair. I could have listened to her all evening. She has always held back, and barely even said hi up to this point. Suddenly, she has blossomed, just in time for preschool this fall. And also, two women jogged up over the hill and nearly split themselves laughing when they saw me knitting. I told them they’d worked so hard, jogging up the steep hill, they deserved a break. They’d been discussing the blue knit line, trying to figure out what it was. Their theory was that it was supposed to guide someone to a message, a marriage proposal, for example.