Friday, June 28, 2013


I didn't mean for it to last this long! I just wanted to take a little break from social media.

I'm pretty sure everybody who reads this blog knows that I recently re located from Los Angeles, where I was born and have lived all my life, to Richmond, Virginia.  I'm also confident that I've reported that as much as I'm loving the East, my cousins, and my new home and studio - I've had a hard time acclimating. Not to the weather - it never got too cold for me, I've been in snow before, worked in it, played in it, tried to get 'from here to there' in it; certainly not to my apartment, it was very easy to get used to 750 sq ft of hardwood floors and turn of the century moldings after living in builder grade, carpeted 300 sq ft for 26 years; and not to my lovely cousins Sally and Pat who have made me feel so very welcome and cared for. Yes, I've missed my friends in LA, and California cousin Joan, and my day to day habits and goings-on - but sometimes one takes things for granted without ever realizing it. I knew I loved living by the beach (although I seldom set foot on the sand in the last 10 years), driving up the coast, and enjoying all the other amazing natural gifts California has to offer. But it wasn't until I went home for a visit earlier this month that I was gobsmacked with a realization.

A view of Santa Monica from up high.
Photo by Amy Lewis Madnick
The vast difference between LA and almost all of Southern California, and the parts of Virginia that I've explored so far, are the terrain and the flora. And the impact they have on my psyche. Los Angeles is actually a mountainous desert. Water is imported primarily from Colorado (remember the movie Chinatown?). Many trees and other plants are imported from Mexico, Australia, Africa, and other dry climates. Which ultimately means that although I certainly wouldn't compare metro LA to the Gobi Desert, as far as an overabundance of vegetation - LA is rather sparse.

Richmond on the other hand is completely flat with nary a mountain in view, rich with forested land, green leaves, and short, quaint buildings. What do buildings have to do with it? Vista! Even the highways are surrounded with corridors of tall foliage. And in winter when leaves have dropped, the skeletal limbs provide a woody curtain that obscures the view of the passing countryside.
There's life outside of those trees, but
 it's all hidden from sight.

When I first visited Virginia the beautiful highways were one of the things that most attracted me. No tagged graffiti on underpasses, no homeless communities along the sides of the roads, no trash, no mess, nothing but verdant curtains and considerate drivers. But although I knew I loved sitting on the beach, contemplating a horizon of blue water into blue sky, and knew how much I'd miss it - I hadn't realized just how important wide vistas were to me. Until the beginning of this month when I was stuck in traffic on the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles, right near the buildings with murals of the orchestra members (if you know the area) and was looking off to the left and realized I could see forever! There's a reason 'On a Clear Day' was written. It's an amazing feeling of expansiveness and calm to me. Then when I was back in Virginia and took my cousin to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, and was in a 7th floor waiting room, that same feeling of peace came over me again as I gazed out the window over the tree-line, saw the horizon, and gave a deep sigh of satisfaction.

I've felt closed off from myself for a reason. Closed off from creativity, from activity, from ambition, from so many things - and this latest realization may hold a clue to why I've felt the compulsion to isolate. My hope is that the realization itself will also hold the key to recovery.

I am finally feeling more comfortable here. Loving going to the studio every day (well almost every day at least), loving nesting in my new home - choosing just the right pieces to share my habitat, of course loving how much the kitties love their new expanded playland. I'm back to submitting proposals, and working on new metal clay techniques, and now feel like rejoining the social media world. A bit at a time. I may still be absent on FaceBook from time to time. And may only tweet occasionally. But I have thoughts and plans and hope to put them into place as life goes on.

I've started a monthly newsletter and certainly hope some of you will send me your email addresses so I can sign you up (still haven't figured out how to link to a sign up here) and have made one video (with 4 more in the planning stages) and added it to my nascent YouTube channel.

Thanks for sticking with me, and for reading, and for all the support always. Here's to a place to feel at peace, a place of comfort and expansive emotions. Here's to all of our soft places to fall.