It’s that time of year when the days start getting shorter, the air is cooler and all I want to do is snuggle under my blankies while drawing and snacking on alllllll the calories! The other day, Gary said something to the effect of “forget pumpkin spice season — it’s chili and cornbread season,” I wholeheartedly agree, though I’ll be baking us some pumpkin pies from scratch using sugar pumpkins and Penzey’s Pumpkin Pie Spice (if you haven’t tried either one of those, they’ll change your life and your outlook on pumpkin pie for REAL!)…
These cooler, darker nights between the equinox and the solstice are a time to reflect on all we’re provided with in life and how much we have to be thankful for, It’s a time to acknowledge those who have sacrificed everything, and those whose ancestors had their land and lives stolen so others’ ancestors could make new lives for themselves on this continent… And it’s a time to be present with ourselves, our loved ones and humankind, and choosing a state of gratitude so we can do better and be better humans.
The last few years have given me plenty of time to reflect on all the things I have to be grateful for. For those of you who don’t know me as well, almost exactly 3 years ago, I learned that I had poorly differentiated grade 3 neuroendocrine cancer of the colon and rectum. As you might imagine, it shook my whole world. Extensive surgery with pelvic reconstruction and a permanent ileostomy were the first step. Then I had 4 months of chemo. Then came 5 weeks of radiation. Then came physical therapy as me body recovered from all of the trauma. Then, my sweet elderly dog, Kermit crossed the rainbow bridge. It was a rough year, followed by another challenging year with family illnesses, the death of a dear friend and a broken arm (and more surgery) as a result of a poor decision involving roller skates. This year started with the death of Gary’s grandmother, we moved houses and I was hospitalized during our vacation for an intestinal blockage, covid hit our house in early October, and several close friends and family members have experienced frightening, life-changing events…
All of that said, my point is not to elicit a pity party… Quite the opposite, in fact. All of those painful experiences pushed our lives in new directions. We don’t sweat the small stuff so much anymore (it’s not cancer, after all). We got to spend more time with some of our family members because we were traveling so much. We got inspired to move to the desert to not only pay off the heaping bills resulting from my illness and inability to work, but to be in a community overflowing with creatives, nature lovers and mystics. It’s a place where every sunrise and sunset is over mountains, full of pinks, oranges and purples, and where I have already been able to connect with more people in a short amount of time than anywhere I’ve lived since college. It’s truly a magical place. For that, I am beyond thankful, and I hope all of you are able find your own silver linings to be grateful for too.
As your favorite serial dabbler, Akcara Studio is always up to some new adventure or experiment…