Chasing Down The Muse: After summer, an itch to travel

"Wherever you go, there you are."

—Zen saying


I'm feeling the call of nature. No, no, not that way, but in myriad other forms, nature is calling to me — LOUDLY! I need to answer, chase it down, follow my muse there, wherever "there" is.

I had packed the remains of summer's Sawdust Art Festival booth into my car and headed straight for Trader Joe's to replenish the bare cupboards at home. It was a gorgeous autumn-feeling day, and I had the car windows down with the breezes blowing around me.

Just as I approached Main Beach on Coast Highway a whiff of fresh sea air reached my nose and my brain simultaneously. And in that same moment wanderlust struck. It was almost all I could do not to head out of town in that very moment to parts unknown.

Of course that would have been foolish. A car full of art and some hastily chosen groceries consisting largely of brown rice and veggies just wasn't the best way to do this. Sanity took over. I kept on with my too-long-neglected chores. Still, the call continued.

Car unpacked; groceries and art put away; house straightened — the wind chimes just off the deck sang out a song of wandering as the gusty breezes blew through the canyon trees. It was great to be home in the daytime, yet that still was just not quite enough. Something was itching to meander further afield. Itches need to be scratched.

As I kept on with my work I thought back over the summer that wasn't a summer in so many ways. Could the fact that summer weather struggled so to get here be a factor in this wanderlust I was feeling? Perhaps, though the lovely coolness of the summer seemed to contribute to the successes of the festival season. And I had thoroughly enjoyed where I was.

As always, the festival season was filled with surprises, joys and only a few disappointments, along with the renewed and strengthened friendships and learning that just goes along with living a full life. Surely, nothing wrong with any of that.

The Collectors' Panel Fundraiser that I was so involved with and have spoken of often in these pages was a resounding success, earning a surprising amount for the Art Education Fund of the Sawdust. Much knowledge was gleaned and the committee on which I served hopes to continue further successes with such ventures in the future. Once again our great community of artists stepped forward and the larger community did as well to support this effort. All good here.

Adding new mini-workshops to my busy schedule was a challenge, but it paid off in surprising ways as both teaching partner Suzette Rosenthal and I got the chance to step away from the festival for a brief time to teach and do the art that we love doing. The new friends and old that took these added workshops were a bonus as well. Good stuff.

All in all, life is good and it was a great summer, so why the wanderlust? Perhaps just a need for some missing balance of solitude and the nurturing of nature in all its wondrous splendor. Where I have been is not bad; where I am is pretty great. Yet I long for a solitary view of the world that has nothing to do with commerce and that feeds my spirit in ways that even friendships and the beauty of home in Laguna Beach do not. Itch, itch, itch.

I will finish up with the loose ends, and then I think I will just become a loose end myself as I set off to explore nature and the mysteries it always unfolds. Wherever I go, I know I will be there. That goes without saying. Guess I'll just report back here later about the manifestations of this call from nature. Stay tuned. Stay safe. Stay happy.

Cherril Doty is an artist, writer, counselor…always fascinated by the mysteries of life. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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