Time for a new beginning


“Every beginning is some other beginning’s end.”

These words from a song by the group Green Day play in my mind as

I take my morning walk this first week of September.


The shafts of sunlight filter down to the earth through gray cloud

cover. Walking along the edge of the sea, sand crunching soft beneath

my feet, I reflect on the past three months -- beginnings, endings,

and new beginnings. The time has passed with such speed. In spite of


good intention, no time or space seems to have appeared in which to

savor all that has transpired. Time waits for no (wo)man, and I am no

exception. That there is more that I missed, that I just move too

fast, I have no doubt. This is the sadness that mingles with joy at

the endings.

It is at the crossroads of beginnings and endings that I find

myself now. There seems to be a signpost with arrows pointing in many

directions. Catharine’s raven (“er crow”) sits atop the post ready to


race off in the chosen direction, perhaps even lead the way. But for

just this brief moment I want to reflect-to see what was perhaps only

absorbed at the time.

The ending of the festival season here in Laguna offers me this

opportunity to contemplate and muse-even celebrate-what has

transpired. It is a chance to look at the beginnings and endings. The

festivals are occasion for an unusual coming together of varied

personalities and occupations and art forms. The artists and artisans


are independent, even separate, yet all parts of a community.

Diversity abounds.

The Sawdust Festival alone had 29 new artists from a variety of

disciplines. These new artists, along with the old, injected change

and new energy as booth building began last May. The pounding of

hammers, buzzing of saws, and the ratchety sound of drilling were

just some of the sounds that filled the peaceful eucalyptus grove

with an invasion of man-made activity. New wood and old went up

side-by-side forming the buildings of a small community. Soon myriad

colors appeared to brighten the landscape as artists chose the

backdrop for their artwork.

As opening night approached, there was a settling in, punctuated

by flurries of last-minute changes and completion of things not yet

done. Next, the art works began to show up, some ensconced in mystery

behind screens of fabric tarps. And then the “ta-da”: the stage was

set-booths resplendent with tasty foods, the eager guests lined up

outside, exhibitors dressed up and waiting ... Let the show begin!

That was then. That was a beginning. In the interim much has

happened, but, then, that is for another story.

Now, booths are coming down. The artwork has all been removed. The

roar of the furnace in the glass demonstration booth has been hushed.

The sounds of music and laughter drifting from the entertainment deck

are a distant echo in the mind. Waterfalls are now silent rock beds.

No staccato bursts of visitors’ conversation fill the grounds. No

gentle breeze moves my Dreamchasers as they fly in their pomegranate

tree milieu -- this same tree that has passed from fresh new flower

buds to ripening fruit. Still, the afternoon sun slants down through

the strong, stately eucalyptus trees with their graceful drooping

branches as it has all summer long. Leaves drift spiraling down to

the ground. Crows and doves and even the occasional hawk sound from

the treetops. Perhaps soon some of the bird life will move on too.

What’s next? What new beginning awaits? For each of the artists

something different. For myself, the summer has bookends of Grand

Canyon river rafting trips. After that, there are other shows to

prepare, new adventures to be planned, continued coaching, and

writing-beginnings, endings, and new beginnings. For now, I say a

passing goodbye to another summer of precious delight.

I’d like to add a footnote that is about an ending that could be

an unrecognized new beginning for someone: British artist Fred

Darrington passed away recently at the age of 91. At the age of 12,

Darrington began sculpting in sand along England’s southern coast. He

continued with his passion during the summers of the rest of his

life, creating magnificent realistic-looking sculptures. Only a

stroke six years ago finally deterred him from this passion.

* CHERRIL DOTY is a creative living coach, writer, and artist who

lives and works in Laguna Beach. Contact her by e-mail at or by phone at (949) 251-3883. Your thoughts and

questions are appreciated.