2014-2015, my mother went on a one-year retreat at the Cedars of Peace with the Sisters of Loretto, Bardstown, Kentucky. We would text about the weather, her dog Ruby, art, and other things.

mothertext, 2015, 2017

The gophers have set up housing along the path at
Badin Pond (Ruby's favorite route), will tell
you when I see you. And guess what, another little
band of geese just before dark. All packed, good to
go, will text from the highway with progress.
Seeing you soon, Birdie!!

Is it very cold up there?

No, 29 now, but tomorrow 17 hi, 0 low. Cabin is
warm. Also, heard geese last night. I'm going to look
up geese migration. Love you. XX

                                             Oh, tell me what you learn
                                             about the geese. I heard
                                             birds today in the
                                             predawn. They know
                                             more than we do about
                                             the seasons.

Fyi, a copy of my will and life insurance policy are at
the bottom of the left side of the cabinet in my room.
Loretto Motherhouse, Cedars of Peace Retreat.

                                             Are you thinking of leaving us?
                                             Please don't.

8 now, -2 real feel (wind on the fields),
very nice.

                                             Wow. Just tie a rope to Ruby
                                             and let him out the front door.
                                             Is it toasty in the cabin?

Yes!
                                             Good. Are you looking up
                                             geese today?

Yes, later. Let you know what I find.

 

So nice to heart your sweetheart voice, Li'l Bird. All's
well here, go to Lville early tomorrow for dr
appointment and book club. Been thinking of you

 

Lost you, but I think I get what you're saying. The
dialogue is itself a reason to paint, perhaps. There
was no dialogue in the first painting, probably

sharing responsibility, along with the absence of paint,
for its flatness. Back from long walk with Rubes in
rain (not a trace of snow anywhere, but a

lovely soft rain). Let me know if I should order the
Berger book, sounds like it. Biggest hug, thanks for
your help. Call with the paragraph when you have
time. XX

 

Glad for your voice mail, Birdie. All's well
here. Sweet dreams. XX

 

Hi Momma.

At my door this morning. Several inches, not a lot, but
enough to stay here for the day. Two nice walks with
Rubes, another coming at dusk. Painting. How are
the "snow-like" :) conditions there? XX

Ha! It's 50 degrees down here
- not exactly snowlike.

 

Just saying hello, and that I love you, and that the
geese continue! High and exciting winds last
afternoon into the night. All okay there? Did Finn

get my envelope of gum :)? Thinking to make him a
sling shot. Biggest hug.

 

Long walk in mild and gentle rain, dropping tonight
and snow! I had no idea the country part of my retreat
would be so meaningful. Caught 2 mice last

night, my very first round with a chilling
experience! And our big burly Ruby is afraid of
them. As soon as he hears their scuffle, he either
comes to

my side (depending on where I am) or retreats to the
bedroom and looks at me, steadily, saying, "Please
handle this." How was the week end of work? Big

XXXX

 

All's well here! Louisville today for Dr appointment (no
problems), Back late and Ruby and I walked in raw
damp near dark cold, just lovely. Swype just

now wanted to spell Ruby as Rubbery :) Big hug and
X. Always love you and hearing your voice.

 

Late now, but wanted to tell you that you can hear the
beating wings of geese; a rapid beat, much faster
than the movement perceived visually. Hard work.

That's it for now, good night to you from me and
Rubbery. PS no pepperonis here :)

 

All tucked in? Have everything
you need? Snow start yet?

Yes to all, still snowing, just heading
out. Thanks. Walk. XX

No driving!

 

How was your day, Birdie? We were cabin bound
excepting a couple of short walks. Still snowing, too
deep to walk without great difficulty, especially

with Ruby. So, I painted!

That sounds awfully nice.

We love you.

 

How you are snug as a bug.
You would just call over to the
mother house if you needed
help, right?

Sure, or Susan next door. All's snow. How are
you? Concert here tonight, if I can get out, cello and
piano, renowned musicians, almost too hard to
walk there (3/4 mile). XX

Cozy?

modest little drive, e.g. 10 feet :) Thanks for checking
in, l'il Bird.

No driving! It's not just you
- people out there do not
handle bad roads very
well.

Love you. Stay put!

 

A balmy 32 in Starkville, 6 here with a real feel of -
9. But warm inside! Every night after dinner, when I
either read or paint, Ruby goes into the

bedroom, gets his pillow which is on a low table
propped against a wall, and brings it to the living
room; he lies down, rests his head on it, and goes

fast asleep :)

 

Okay, I was driving to Krogers one day last week
when I came upon cows talking over their fences --
but the road passed between these fences! There
wer

maybe 8 cows on either side. Odd, thought I, first of
all that they're taking, and secondly across a road. As
I came closer I realized that one lone cow

was on the road side of the fence! Oh, these cows
knew they had a problem. They were clearly
concerned. But things got sorted out -- all was back
to

normal on my return drive. That's it for now. XX

 

The kind of interview you're going to have is very
difficult, I would imagine. Pretend the others are
really right there. It is your work that's got

their attention, not you. Position yourself only in
relation to your work. Self-expression is one of your
major strengths -- this is going to be a very

good time! I think I see it coming. XX

Thanks mama.

One more thought -- your part tomorrow is the
conversation, and you'll do it very well. In a way, the
outcome is none of your business. Therefore no

attachments, just respect for your work. :)

I like that - the outcome is none
of my business.
Hair up?

Yes, all hair off your face, let the girl shine! XX again.

Thanks, mama.

Night. Any remedies for
constant face stuffing? I think I
need to make my interview
notes and put it all to bed.
Eating good things, but eating
non-stop. Nervous energy.
Also, tired.

Walk one hour every morning. As I said. Not mid day
or afternoon or evening. Be true to that. It will save
you and the day.

I guess as far as your choice of words goes (stuffing),
maybe you can see what you're stuffing, trying to
keep down, out of sight, out of feeling, out of

knowing, out of experiencing. I think you're facing (or
not facing) a big, long-avoided encounter or fear in
this interview. What do you think? You may

not be able to walk till you open this door.

I think you are annoying. But
the exercise advice is good!

It's not so deep.

It is really difficult to sustain a
clear focus through such a long
process. I am eating for energy
and from a excited place.

But no one can sustain this
level forever. This application
process began in September.

One trick I use is to start
planing other things. I am
beginning new applications for
grants.

Tired. Need to pinch my
cheeks and get walking. I did it
Monday. You are right - it's
great.

I get it, the process is grueling, period. And a very
smart trick. So walking it is, then. Night again.

 

Morning, Birdie. We had spoken of a March visit,
wondering how your month looks?

Oh, April would be ideal! But
there is no need for you to
extract from such a rich
moment in the studio!

Finn just said yesssss at the
prospect of your visit. He's
home from school still
recovering from his weekend
illness. He is very peppy at
the moment - he could have
gone in today, I think.

What's your honest feeling
about a visit?

I think I'd like to wait and see towards the end of the
month. On one hand, I feel as though I've just
recently settled in deeply here, and on the other

, with 6 months left, (and in spite of my efforts for
otherwise), I begin now to see the ending.

No, you should see this as a 6
month residency! That is a
very long artist residency. And
there are many out there.

Let's not put the wrong
pressure on what you are
doing, but I suddenly see
another avenues for your
"retreats".

K, Bird!

 

Must be more than 15" here. Quiet. Painting. XX

Laurie sent a photo this
morning. No cabin fever?

I interviewed with Alabama
yesterday, so feel a bit
nauseous today.

It either went really well or
badly - can't tell. Making me
sick.

Would you be willing to live
here with Han for a month this
summer? I need to start
planning something grand after
all this applying so I don't care
too much about the results.

Yes, let's talk. :)

 

Hi Birdie, here's a good one--last evening Ruby and I
saw a skunk. Not an encounter, about 50' distance,
but too close for comfort. Ruby became a 70

pound boulder. I could lift up his front section, but he
would thud back into place, immovable. Most
surprising was his continuous squealing. On-going

! A sound never before heard. The skunk was
indifferent to us; it finally slunk out of sight, and we
could somewhat move on (I timorous, Ruby
unyielding. Several rich moments.

 

Spring is coming! Softer air, longer light, and able
after a couple of long winter months to walk with arms
swinging, even

just a little :)

Hi Daley Bird. I love your
stories. Working now. Will call

later.

 

How is Finn today? Applying treatment? XX

I am doing treatment with him
so he's not alone. He feels bad
- it's upsetting to him. Put a call
into the doctor.

Pls let me know what's next. Does he feel bad
because it hurts?

No, just bummed. I called
earlier and he was in high
spirits. I've been channeling
Nanny bc he needs to be
brave, soldier through
when it is time to put on
treatment. I just love him so.
We go check in with
pediatrician tomorrow.

Ah yes, brave, little guy, love him love him love him.
Do let me know what the Dr. says.

I will. I think Neil is right. This is
viral and is running its course. I
just don't want it plaguing him.
It scares me. This is about me
more than this weird outbreak.

Thank you for checking in, but I
need help putting this in its
place. Already had "words"
with the pediatric receptionist
this morning, the fucking
bitchedy bitch.

It is very true that the receptionist (nor few others) has
the ability to ask "what are you going through?" So
simple, and rare. Just leave that aside.

Skewed perspective. And control slipping through
your fingers. Somewhere in there is the inescapable
truth of what is and the humility to know it. A

lot is bigger than we are, but "what is" opens on the
other side--we have to enter into it to see that, and
what it opens onto and into. Let me know if
any of this fits.

Also, Adri, you've been ambushed numerous times
when things were looking good. Breathe, and take
everything one step at a time. XX, and always on my
mind.

Thanks, Momma.

PS maybe it isn't humility, more a bare-facedness.

Same thing.