CHASING DOWN THE MUSE
“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
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.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (949) 251-3883. Your thoughts and
questions are appreciated.