Last of Summer


It already feels like Autumn today on Cape Cod even though summer will return like a blast furnace to Boston next week. There are, in fact, a few dry leaves on the lawn and a touch of rust on the very edges of the Norway Maple canopy. Yesterday, I noticed for the first time that the sun had left the sky earlier than a month ago. In the midst of all this blousy, overgrown greenness the earth is turning me toward another season.

In fact, it is turning me away from what has been to the adventure of “what’s next”. Yesterday, my new website was launched and, care of Beach and Main and Mailchimp, folks will know I am reopening my studio at SoWa as a collaborative gallery. On Tuesday John, Nick, Manon and myself will pull into the loading zone and drag our work up four floors to Gallery 416. We will sort out how to hang pictures on a brick wall, climb ladders to replace light bulbs, sweep, putter and tidy. We will replace the old sign with new, hang posters and distribute postcards. And then we will take turns hosting 14 events between now and the new year at which we will sell our work.

This is just stage one in the new venture of actually being a working, selling artist. Further down the line is approaching galleries to represent me as well as applying to shows. AND...let’s not forget...putting in the hours to have enough inventory.

Truthfully, I think I have displayed a distinguished level of ambivalence. Becoming a kindergartner again, I have procrastinated, thrown tantrums and meltdowns, misunderstood simple instructions...even forgetting to turn off the Studio AC overnight resulting in a flood of some significance.

What’s the story?  At least for me?

To start with my oldest son is 32. My youngest is 22. And let’s not forget 30-year-old Nick. For over thirty years, I have made their growth and development at the epicenter of my life. Maybe others would have done it differently but I don’t regret my personal choice.  Now I’ve gotten my “pink slip”. But, like leaving a 30-year career, I haven’t quite made the leap to “retirement”. I keep finding reasons to revisit and recommend.

More profoundly, I suffer from the fear that if I turn away from my parental vigilance something terrible will happen and I will have caused it by my negligence. Of course, this is ridiculous but not theoretical to me. Grieving my sister’s death at forty-one over twelve years ago has been a long exercise in accepting that most things are beyond my control.

Secondly, although I have been committed to parenting my children I’ve found it hard to do the same for myself. I’m not sure that I ever got the instruction I needed to follow through on this important life function. Whatever I knew of commitment I made up as I went along and those I loved got the best of that.

Now as I bring in the last of the tomatoes and figure out how to prepare the zucchinis that got out of hand, I turn to the task of me. I am asking questions. I am taking advice. I am writing things down and prioritizing my actions. I am keeping time sheets and paying myself a salary. In short, I’m doing the work and putting in the time.  As the days get shorter I’ll be learning how to use the hours more effectively. And my own dreams and ambitions will be the beneficiary. Beach days may be over but when the snow falls I will be enjoying my personal “harvest”.

Bryan Voliton