Strolling for Joy

08/13/2019 0 By BuddyCushman

I walked out the back door this morning, right around 7:00, with the daily intentions to empty the coffee filter, check on our tiny vegetable beds, and open and walk through the garage studio. Pretty much every morning, after meditation and coffee and reading in the recliner, I do these things. Like today.

We have a $20 drip coffee maker from Bi-Mart, it’s great, and I’m drinking a Trader Joe’s Fair Trade organic extra dark roast these days, three scoops, two cups worth, and when I’m ready to step outside I bring the wet, coffee-grounds-filled-filter and take it out and wack it against the inside of the green, plastic, city-provided compost bin, or sometimes take it to one of our tiny garden plots and shake it into one, a not insubstantial soil improvement technique. Either way I leave the filter on the back steps where I’ll pick it up on the way back in and wash the remnants out thoroughly so it’s all ready for the wife and her different TJ fair trade organic blend.

After shaking the coffee filter I visit our four little patches of vegetable gardening, looking to see what has happened since the last time I looked, generally 10 or 11 hours earlier, the night before. Sometimes I see new growth, larger squash, the beginning of a zucchini, brilliant deep-yellow blooms, the skin of a tomato making the slow but sure transition from green to red — complimentary colors for us painters. Or the beginnings of a new cucumber. Here are a couple of photos, and let me say that cucumbers and zucchini and other squash are a first for us this year, it’s been only tomatoes in one little plot before. We decided to expand, inspired by the central valley in California – but not really – and made lazy, minor attempts to enrich the growing areas last fall. We’ll do better this year, you know, if the creek don’t rise and they’re ain’t no meltdown (old WBCN Boston saying), especially if the planet doesn’t implode by then. Maybe even track down some cow or chicken manure to spice things up.

Then, after the coffee ground caper and vegetable venue I head over to the studio and let myself in, my only intention inside to look around, see what’s up with my acrylic art, kind of like Dr. Frankenfurter talking about “what’s on the slab”, well a little. Do I have something on the easel? In progress? Done? A blank canvas or watercolor paper sitting there, waiting with a lot of patience for my next bout of attention and inspiration? I like to look at my art on the walls, and there is less of it these days. Along about the time I realized that my art was worth more than I’d been crediting it – some 70 years of me pouring into that creativity – I also made the decision to take down and pretty much give away everything that didn’t feel like it had something to say, even, maybe and hopefully, something to offer in the way of joy.

Joy – How do we live fully without it? Every human deserves it, and on good days there’s plenty to go around, I guess, if you know where to look. Last Saturday I showed up a little early to my wife Susan’s table at the Alberta Street Fair to help her pack up and break down, walk back to the van some on-Godly distance carrying tables and suitcases filled with pottery, one of us at a time so there’s someone to watch what’s still out in the street. Actually, I lucked out this year with a very close spot.

So I got to the fair early and sent Susan off on a bathroom break, and while she was gone I took $2 out of my wallet and stuck it under a notebook on her table and took one of her Joys – this green one – and put it in my pocket, and when she got back I told her I’d sold one, and it was fun and just the teeniest of fibs, though yesterday I pulled it out of my pocket and fessed up.

I’m happy my wife creates her Joys (and by the way there are plenty more in her Etsy shop here: ). Did I say we all deserve more joy.

Believe it or not I find a lot of my own early in the day, with coffee and books and those dark brown grounds, and a few very small spaces on the planet, reaping forth some of what has been sown. Oh, and I dig looking at my art.

I think we need more art too.