I Am Not a Gardener

Photos courtesy of Nancy Elizabeth Wentzel

“I am not a gardener,”
I remind my husband
As we scroll through endless photos
In search of our first house;
After eleven years of wandering the country
like vagabonds, pursuing useless degrees in
Math and science
We’re weary of apartment confines,
Heavy with another baby on the way.

Every house I view seems palatial;
The extravagance of our own home, our own yard
Leaves me not very picky about the options in our price range.
We should be close to the college
And Nate wants a yard- a big yard, fenced and level,
For the children to play.
“We should have goats, and bees,” he says
As we drive around rural Unicoi County.
“I am not a gardener,” I remind him.
“You’ll have to do all the yard work.”

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Surviving the Pandemic as an Artist

Self Portraits 2020 by Tony Sobota

2020 started off so promising.  Our son had a meltdown-free 1st birthday party, the Titans kept Tom Brady and the Patriots from another Super Bowl, and by March I was having my best year of art sales on record.  A little over two months later, 2020 has been canceled.  Our son now eats adult amounts of food, Tom Brady broke up with Bill Belichick, and like many full-time artists COVID-19 just deleted half my income.  So far.  

While surviving as an artist under normal circumstances invites challenges, the pandemic has multiplied them.  I rely on art, music, and street festivals for a majority of my annual income, so every cancelation brings greater urgency to change my business model.  However, I also need to keep the lights on in the meantime.  I’ve had several commissions come in to help me break even, thankfully,   but since these projects require the bulk of my time I’m currently in a sort of catch-22.  I’m struggling to pivot my business while simultaneously paying the bills—not to mention keeping my “inner artist” from burning out.

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Mother Charity

Photo by John Palmer Gregg

Charity, great love,
is the love of my mother.
Agape. Selfless.

Worlds forever change.
Situations are as tides.
My mother is constant.

Eros, romantic,
is a love of many lusts.
Temporal pleasures. Venus.

Storge, natural,
widely diffused, emotive,
finds dependency.

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Bird’s Egg

It’s spring and that means periodically coming across empty bird shell fragments as we walk our property looking at the world coming back to life after its winter sleep.  I get excited every time I see one. The thought of the new life fills me with joy and I get a slight thrill. I also hardly ever come across one of these shells when a hazy memory of long ago doesn’t overtake me. 

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