Chasing Down The Muse: A new spring in her step

"I also like Drew because he makes the happy in Aunt Loretta more visible."

— From "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky," by Heidi Durrow


The happy more visible. I feel this way about the coming of spring. It seems as though people should be able to see the happy in me that spring brings. I wonder.

The tingling in the veins that I took to be early signs of spring in this column two weeks ago has surged and increased. The days have been fuller and richer. Joy joins the tingling and — dare I say? — spring is upon us, no matter what the calendar may say.

Breathe. Relax. Listen. Let go. These things seem so much easier to do of late, even as the world and nature continue to throw adverse things the way of all humankind. Is it just the all-pervasive birdsong? Could it be the warm sunshine and cool breezes or the sparkle on the water? Maybe it is the rich deep color of buds on the branch or the whir of the hummingbird's wings that brings spring's delight.

Daily events only seem to bear me out.

A recent visit to my 94-year-old mother in the desert bore spring's fruits as she was more cheerful and even, dare I say, full of life than the last visit. I thought at first it was the cheery yellow my sister had painted the room in which she spends most of her time, but I think it may be the coming of spring as well. The drive we took to Indio in glorious sunshine, while seemingly mundane, brightened her day just as the sunny yellow paint does.

Art activities seem to abound of late, with the Sawdust Studio Art Classes and Sawdust Festival's Spring into Art program in full swing. Students range from visitors to our community to locals, but all are ready to try something new, to expand, to explore, even to play. Of course the Sawdust grounds, with birdsong emanating from tall trees and cool breezes blowing, only enhances the experience.

A Sunday Studio Workshop that Suzette Rosenthal and I taught with a group of our regulars was another art activity that filled each of us with the joys of creating. Laughter and stories fill the room as, heads down, we all work at creating something from nothing. Talk about tingling in the veins!

How do I even count what might be the highlight of days like these? Each event has its own wonderful moments. I would, however, be remiss if not noting a yearly event that happens just at this advent of spring — the daylong conference held by the Literary Women of Long Beach. As always, the authors chosen are exceptional and it is difficult to find a special favorite.

Like springtime, though, listening to Heidi Durrow started something tingling in my veins. I am humbled by her many youthful accomplishments and her life experience while at the same time urged to expand my own life view.

To that end, my own daylight saving time days will be filled as close to the brim as I can get with the things that bring joy. The world is filled with many sorrows, but it seems to serve no good to hold onto those "edges" as Durrow calls them. Whether the cry is to seize the day or live life to the fullest, we must. It is all that we have. And when we are in this space for ourselves, others see it…the light and the happiness become visible.

Let's all get out there and make the world around us shine. Create some light! Spread joy!

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, counselor and manager of the new Sawdust Studio Art Classes program …always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the beauty and myriad mysteries of life. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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