The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date. It can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. This week, we’re walking down Kisco Avenue, turning left onto Preston, then coming full circle.
You did not think you could make a mistake with an Artist Date.
Go anywhere. Explore. Take time.
You drop your Volvo at the dealer and quickly eat the yogurt, granola and strawberries you’d packed to hold you for this excursion. The morning is yours.
Kisco Avenue is cars and more cars, but you have a sidewalk, so you feel safe. A half-eaten poppy seed bagel in the grass makes you look away. Discarded food makes you mildly nauseous, especially when it shows up where it doesn’t belong. Grass, dandelions, bitten bagel with cream cheese. Look away, look away. You do.
At the corner of 212 Kisco, you turn left onto Preston. This should take you somewhere. Maybe you can buy a sketchbook at some little shop in town. Over the bridge, you see a Target. That should be alright. You can even purchase some camis for your daughters. The girls are in need.
Enormous red balls, like fake exercise-horse-bouncy-balls sit in front of the huge tan store with its red bulls-eye symbol. They look stuck. Heavy. Wrong.
Inside the store, you secure a very large red shopping cart. You wheel it past bathing suits that feel too thin and plastic under your fingertips. You coast to the girls’ clothing section and put some white, pink, and lavender camis into the cart. They look rough and insubstantial. You circle around the popsicle-colored underwear and socks, noting a proliferation of stripes and polka dots, and find yourself back at the camis, where you return your selection to the metal hook.
Office supplies. Maybe a sketchbook there?
Everything is bright, as you walk and try to ignore the loud music. You find yourself humming the song in spite of yourself, in spite of how it is actually annoying you. Lime green, neon orange, hot pink. Colors everywhere. You remember your eldest girl’s first trip to the eye doctor and how she hung back at the door. “It’s too bright, ” she’d said. And then, inside, looking at the too-big, too-happy paintings on the walls, “I don’t trust this place! I want to go home!”
Forget the sketchbook. You turn your cart suddenly towards the cashier section of the store. Must go. Must leave now. You ditch the cart and take note that the exit doors say, “In case of emergency, push doors.”
More cars, more cars. You walk to Route 117. More cars! Whoosh! Whoosh! Something that is trying to be a stream is down the embankment to your right. It winds its garish blue-green self through skunk cabbage, past a few yellow flowers. A cobalt blue bottle is in the mud and a chain-link fence, rusty and layered with dirt.
For the next 20 minutes, you will make your way back to the car dealer, past The Love Café, Little Shop of Spices, Annie Sez and Party City. You will hold a pink bloom you plucked near the trying-to-be-a-stream. It will be soft in your fingers. It will be something. But you will feel like you had to fight for it. Yes, that seems dramatic to you now, but you can remember the tiny softness in your fingers and the way the world felt out of place. You will remember telling Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, as you crossed the bridge over the tracks, that you need not to open the window but to close it. It’s okay, Susan, you had wanted to say. I like your metaphor, but right now I need the reverse.
Almost there. You’ve come full circle back to Kisco Avenue. You’ve got your epiphany about closing the window. You’ve passed the big white church that says, “St. Francis African Methodist Episcopal Zion. Founded in 1504.” The half-eaten bagel is still in the grass. An empty silver can of Coors Light is there now too, or maybe it always was.
Close the window.
You are doing that inside yourself. You notice a patch of brass-copper mushrooms that have made their space in the grass. They are round and whole. A little universe of mushrooms. You love the feel of them under your fingers. Their roundness, their completeness. You cannot wait to get home.
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