|"Day Lilies and Lightning, July 10, 2013", Oil Painting, 9" x 12" by Charlene Marsh|
This weekend I attended the 60th wedding anniversary of my Uncle Roger and Aunt Pat held in Anderson, Indiana. I had to make the tough decision to pass on the possibility of participating in the Fourth Street Art Festival held in Bloomington, Indiana, which is a local show for me. I seemed to start getting signals that perhaps Fourth Street was not in the cards this year when I learned I was wait listed for the show. Shortly afterwards, I heard from family members about the anniversary party which was scheduled for August 31, the opening day of Fourth Street. Then I received the invitation in the mail. My heart strings were definitely being tugged!
Then my best friend from high school, Nalini, called to say she would be in the area this weekend and wanted to come for a visit. She just spent three weeks in Europe vacationing in Italy and tending to some business in Berlin (after dropping her daughter off at a friend's house in Paris). Now she is in the midst of three weeks traveling throughout the USA getting her daughter set up at Penn U. in Philadelphia with jaunts to NYC and Washington, D.C. for business and a few days in Muncie with her mother before coming to Brown County, where I live. After leaving my humble studio/gallery/farm, she will fly to Dallas for more business before going home to California. Whew! For a homebody like me, that is a very impressive schedule! Not quite sure how I ranked a slot!
So that was another signal that perhaps my energy was not going to the art show. But the final signal was when I received an email from the Minnetrista Center in Muncie that the exhibition, Open Spaces: Art About the Land, was accepting artworks on the 30th and 31st. The Minnetrista has been very good to me through the years buying two large fiber artworks from me(one was a commissioned project) for their permanent collection as well as hosting a retrospective several years ago. And the theme of the show just seemed too perfect for my paintings!
When I thought of going to Muncie to deliver my paintings and attend the anniversary party, I could feel my heart sing. My brain was trying to tell me that it made more sense to hold out for a spot in the show, that I could make more money, that I should be practical. In the end, I decided to follow my heart.
And I am so glad I did. The time spent with family reminiscing about the past and hearing my uncle, now 86 years old, talk about the family history, including events dating back to the Revolutionary War, is precious and irreplaceable. One cousin's daughter, Molly, a teenager, stood up to relate how invaluable the three weeks she had spent with her grandparents this summer had been in reinforcing the honor and sense of "doing the right thing" every day. I was reminded of how part of the eulogy at my Grandfather's funeral had been how he "fought the good fight" everyday and how proud I am to be a Marsh and come from an honorable family. And how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful family to have been able to spend so much time together growing up. My grandparents lived just around the corner and the cousins lived another four blocks away. My brother reminded the gathered group last night about how we had spent every major holiday together as a family for 25-30 years. We still try to get everyone together every year but now they are usually for weddings and anniversaries and sometimes, sadly, funerals.
The drive home afterwards was spectacular with a lightning show nearly the whole way home. Not too much rain but lots of "fireworks." Some of the lightning was in multiple bolts across the entire night sky. Made it hard to stay focused on the road. The drama of the bolts of light against the black sky was just incredible. The light show was a perfect cap to a beautiful day. I was reminded of a painting I did out here on my farm this summer when a storm was rolling in and lightning was flashing and, so, I have included it here.