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August 01, 2022


Beth..you have such a wonderful new subject to observe and try to capture in your new setting! I have been enjoying your sketches and picture you sketching away to catch the ever changing patterns...it must be wonderful!! Don't think I would ever want to leave! Howard is sending an email to catch up and plan to touch base!

Love seeing all your different methods, and imagining you contemplating the skies from your new abode. xo

Your eye is tuned to beauty. Thoroughly enjoyed seeing these cloud drawings and paintings from your new home.

Glad to see that moving has not stopped your eye or slowed your hand... Love the quick sketches and watercolors...

And made me wander back to Steve Cieslawski's skyscapes, done in oils. You might find them interesting: http://www.stevecieslawski.com/2009-skyscapes.php#. (He did one of my book jackets, long ago.)

Your images are gorgeous, as ever, Beth.

And the words that accompany them, sobering. But here we are.

I've been thinking a lot lately about overwhelm and exhaustion. How much of what I'm feeling is due to my own body (heart attack recovery) and how much is due to the world being Too Much and how much is due to existential anxiety about climate? Trying to be gentle with myself, but it's hard to shake being afraid.

Dear Rachel,

Thank you so much for writing and responding to my last post...a lot of changes for us this summer, and big ones for you too. I agree with you about overwhelm and exhaustion; there have been times when I didnt feel like I knew how to keep going, but knew I had to, in order to take care of my father. Your situation was way more personal and immediate and frightening -- you described so well what it was like to pray while hooked up to drips and meds in the hospital; these arent situations one can anticipate.

Your heart attack happened while I was distracted with Dads crisis, and I guess I missed the original post (which Ive read now) -- because I would have written to you, and Im very sorry that it happened and that I didnt respond. Im glad you recognized what was happening and got help, but it must have been extremely scary. Everyone says that the months following a heart attack are psychologically difficult, with relief mixed with a new sense of vulnerability and uncertainty. To have personal stuff overlaid on the world situation does feel like a major overload, and all I can say is that I hear you and I understand those feelings. My own anxiety level has been the highest I remember; getting somewhat better now that Dad is in a permanent living situation with good care, but were so far away and I dont have any siblings to help out; he thinks we should just bring him to live with us and cant understand why thats impossible. Its difficult, and I worry about the effect this is all having on my own health -- plus moving, on top of that.

So many people, including some of our (yours and my) mutual friends, seem to be able to compartmentalize the world and their own lives a lot more effectively than I can, or I suspect you can. You have a young son whos going to be alive fifty, seventy-five years from now; I have young friends who I care about deeply -- and while we cant protect them from the cascading problems, my hope is that we can help them be strong, resourceful human beings who have inner lives that help sustain them. And I still hope that what were living through is a pendulum swing to the right, politically at least, which will eventually swing back when people discover how bankrupt those policies are. But day-to-day life feels so changed from even three years ago, and unless I totally put my head in the sand, its impossible not to acknowledge what is happening, the fear thats making people everywhere do desperate things, and the lack of significant action on so many fronts.

I just wanted to reach out to say hello, that I share much of what youre expressing, and that Im glad to talk. Please take good care of yourself and do the things that give you solace and sustenance, and dont forget your old friends who care about you.



Absolutely LOVE the watercolour paintings of the clouds. It's so cool to see the same view with different light and clouds and essentially different everything. I forget which artist said that the eye is like any other muscle--it must be exercised. That's what these paintings do. I think you should do over a thousand of them. I am also of the belief that having a lot of sky out your window is important and makes a huge difference in life. Clouds in the sky are a work of art to begin with. And your capturing them with your exuberant eye and paintbrush is something I look forward to seeing more of.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.