Stay Happy-Go-Lucky

“I will never stop fighting for justice.” I told my daughter at the kitchen table, the morning after the election.

“I know, Mom,” she said.

I was glad that she knew this. I was glad that I had not lost the fight. I have been focused on teaching well and not so much on writing well over the last few months. I have felt defeated by this beautiful country that I love and the election results. But I refuse to give up. Je refuse. 

I will find beauty. I will make sure kindness wins. I will serve others. Throughout my journey, I will remain happy-go-lucky. It is my rebellion – to fight for happiness and to remain carefree. Despite my cares. I worry, mostly, about the progression of Chris’s Parkinson’s.

Last night Chris and I watched The End of the Tour about David Foster Wallace. Chris loves getting movies from the library. I love movies about writers. It’s a win/win.

It’s more like, if you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings. The ability to do that with ourselves. To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend. Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself. And I think it’s probably possible to achieve that. I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do this.

-From David Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to post on my blog every other Sunday morning before noon.

Yesterday, Jolain and I went to the Cloisters. Here are a few photos from the day.

The Cloister Gardens

Note to self: it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.

To get to the medieval monastery, the girls and I walked through the Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park. I bumped into my friend Dorothy in her floppy hat watering the flowers. She’s a gardener who used to be an editor. We chatted about coworkers. We chatted about Bette Midler, who was going to be honored by the park.

Then we chatted about the Art Students League. We both took watercolor classes there. But there are no watercolors as beautiful as flowers in a garden. If I painted them, they’d look too blue, too fake, too beautiful.

I asked Dorothy, “Where is the heather?” She was vague, “Over there.”

But she pointed out the phenomenal bright red poppies. “As big as a baby’s head!” I said. We marveled at the flowers and walked on.

We tried to lunch at the Leaf Cafe but there was a wedding reception in progress.

“I’m never getting married,” K. said. “Because I could ruin some kids’ lunch.” So we walked to the Cloisters and lunched there. It was a lovely day in the park.

It felt like summer had just descended us as we walked through the Heather Garden to the Cloisters.

Just that  morning I had been reading a study from a Twitter Friend, @uukady  that said, “Cultural activities are good for your health, Norwegian study finds.”

“In fact, being involved in either receptive cultural activities (such as attending a theatre performance or viewing an art show) or creative culture activities (where participants themselves are active in the creative process) was found to be related not only to good health, but to satisfaction with life, and low levels of anxiety and depression,” the Norwegian study noted.

Visiting a museum or garden feels good. But the visit is also good for you.

Especially the journey through the garden.