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  • Writer's pictureJana

Washing Brushes.....

The rest of the household sleeps as I warm up the sink water and gather up the brushes left in "paint water" over night. Way too long for someone that knows better, and I am a big culprit. The morning coffee is seeping that nutty yummy smell through the kitchen as I tear a section of paper towel and fold it on the counter to rest the drying brushes on. How long have I been doing this? Maybe 35-40 years. Working the paint out. Cleaning the bristles. Laying them out before I store them in buckets in the studio. There's a certain therapy to that- suds and warm water. It brings out memories of helping Mom in the kitchen and in prepping for another creative day.

Looking out the window at the trees around the pool area. This is my life. Home and kids, husband and art. Dogs and an old farm cat. Birds in the corner tree like a wildly chirping condo complex with too many residents. Paintings swirling in my head that somehow never get painted or intimidate me into wishing my skill set was larger.

A quick run at the laundry before the need for the A/C in our drought ridden California. Coffee and yogurt with raisins and granola. It's Sunday and I flash on a moment years ago where I am folding, folding, folding the service handout in church. Rubbing the paper and trying to make it feel like fabric. You almost can by the end of the serviceyou know, quietly working under the watchful eye of a parent. Dad gives me a Certs mint and a pen, with a new index card to draw on. I wonder if he remembers doing that? At 85 this year his memory swings back to younger years and those in the military. Almost as if his time raising us, teaching us to saw and hammer and change the oil in my Datsun pickup, (yes- a Datsun!) never existed. I've actually tried to bring it up and it kind of a lost thing for him. Perhaps he assumes we know how much he loves us, and we do. Just sometimes its nice to hear it, to have him call me; "Janie-Bananie" and smile. Inside myself I feel sad that he seems to hold on to such short happeningsthough of course important to him, and the main part of his life- that with my Mom-is lost to him a lot. Like a suppressed hurt or a leaf in the stream. I don't want to be that way. The interaction with my family- the love, laughter and the learning are so vital to my heart. Their understanding of me, my art and my spirit. I've brought them all on so many jobs. I hope thats a good memory in their banks!

The brushes are done, my fingers wrinkly from the water. I dry them off and apply lotion. Smiling at the coconut smell and reflecting on the trip to Palm Springs when Rob and I bought it. Time for another day.....

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