The Artist’s Equinox

This morning settled upon me gently; drowsy eyes opened to cloud-shrouded light through the cracks in the blinds. The past few mornings have been tight-laced with urgency, as all event days start. We have to get to the venue; we have to make sure the booth is open; wait, did I remember to pack the cash box, and is there enough change for the day? And so forth. The day’s activities variously include making stock to replace what’s sold, interacting with and helping my customers (sometimes large groups filling the entire booth), steeling myself against ninety-degree heat and direct sun or an air conditioner turned down to chilly levels, and usually tons of music and background noise through which my consciousness must filter only the most important information. Wait, did I remember to eat? This can go on for eight to twelve hours straight. By the time I fall into bed at the end of the day–whether my own, or a hotel’s, or an air mattress in my tent–all I want to do is sleep for fifteen hours, even though I know I need to be awake in eight or fewer.

I do love vending; I love getting to see people, and talk to folks I normally only run into at events, and of course it’s nice to sell my art and books as well. But I am, at heart, an introvert, and while I can socialize quite well and enjoy it, too, it drains me after a while. Plus there’s all the energy that goes into preparing for, executing, and tearing down the booth at an event, and then arriving home and realizing just how much I still have to do, all those things that got shoved to the side for this one big burst of effort that has eaten up my days. I’ve had something scheduled every single weekend since Labor Day, and while there’s been a lot of fun involved and it’s been worth it financially, today is the day I’ve been waiting for the most.

Because today is the first day where I don’t have a huge event waiting at the end of the weekend. I have a book signing at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show this Saturday, but that’s it. A quick boomerang trip, wake up at home and sleep at home. And in front of me stretches a month of few commitments. Plenty of things on the to-do list, but plenty of freedom in which to get them done. There’s no schedule but that which I put myself to, and it is a beautiful thing. It’s easier to take one thing at a time now, focus only on what’s right in front of me. Like the trees divesting themselves of leaves, I, too, shed extra weight.

So I’ll be heading out to my community garden plot to pick the last of the tomatoes and start preparing it for the cold months. There will be time to start cleaning the apartment, left too fallow during the busy festival season. I have packages to mail, and custom work to create, and articles to write. My Etsy shop needs some nifty new things, and there are book ideas floating around, too. The next few months are full of potential and ideas and creative juices bubbling forth–and I’ll sleep when I want to, too. And, best of all, there’s so much hiking to be done–and I’ve already reserved a yurt on the coast for a personal writing retreat in October as well. The wilderness beckons, and I yearn to run to it.

Autumn is here, and as the land around me prepares for a quieter time, I also come home to my den, only to venture out so often, and glad to be in the comforts of home.

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