February Art Challenge: Take A Picture Outside Your Home

This past week has been interesting weatherwise. Sunday through Monday it snowed. It didn’t snow on and off. It didn’t snow a little. It snowed consistently for at least 24hrs.
Those in the northeast will mock me. Those is the deep south will be horrified. Here in my little part of eastern Kentucky, we got between 15-20 inches of snow.
Thankfully, it was light snow. If it was the heavy stuff, a collapse in society may have taken place. More on that shortly.
The light snow came, then the below freezing temps, then some more snow (the heavy kind), then the sleet, then just ice, then the temps went up above freezing, and finally the rain.
The light snow from earlier in the week had melted and refrozen where the salt trucks had scraped and have created barriers to the water causing it to sit in the roads. Water that does make it to the creeks, along with ice chunks, have caused some flooding. To add to the water misery, our water utilities have been shut off.
I could go on a tirade about the water, or how people seem to believe that it is OK to put your truck’s front bumper right on my back bumper. Yeah, I’m looking at you large pickup truck obviously bought to compensate for SOMETHING…ass…but I’m not.
As much as I hate being stuck, it has been nice to just read a book, do a sketch, play the ukulele, see my parents, and not feel like I need to run anywhere. The snow was beautiful…the ice, not so much. I got to spend my birthday with my parents just enjoying the day. I was able to help my Dad shovel his road and I’m really thankful I could do that on a couple of levels.
So, while I probably will gripe about certain aspects of this last week, particularly that douchebag in the pickup, there are a lot of things I am truly thankful for.
I’m going to try to remember that while I boil water for my sponge bath.

Oh! Here’s my pic from outside.

image

This was taken while on a break from shoveling my parent’s driveway. My Uncle Preston and my Papaw built a treehouse for me and my brother. Since our home burnt down in ’04, it has served as a storage place for items we are still too bound up to look through.
We always say we’ll go through it, but we don’t. Maybe it’s easier to forget what you have than remember what you lost?
Still, it’s one of my favorite places and seeing it reminds me of games played, times with friends, and, most importantly my uncle, grandfather, and brother – my first friend.

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Run Away, Run Away!

A friend recently asked me, in so many words, how I handle living here in eastern Kentucky because I don’t belong here. In all honesty, it is probably one of the nicest things anyone has said to me.
Before anyone gets too fired up, I took it as a compliment not because I hate my home, but because it feels like I have defeated the stereotype.
Unlike the image of the ignorant hillbilly that has been burnt into the social consciousness, this person sees me for who I am – an art loving, Star Wars fan that loves to travel and learn….a person that refuses to be defined by where she is from, but, at the same time, is trying to find the positive in living in an area that is, sadly, dying.
I don’t plan on discussing the economic life blood of my home (it’s coal, if you weren’t aware). I could give you my thoughts on how a middle ground could be reached to improve the area, both economically and environmentally, but that is for another day.
Right now, it’s taking a lot not to run away. To run far and fast towards something different, something promising, something – anything! – other than……other than this place where progress seems to be stalled by greed, corruption, and snuffed out by those who don’t see beyond their own bottom line.
I moved back home for a variety of reasons – to heal a broken heart, figure out my next step, spend time with my family. It’s the spending time with my family that is keeping me here…for now. Beyond that, and the fact that I love the students I work with, there really isn’t a lot to hold on to.
I’ve become very proficient and making the arguments to myself to justify staying: It is easier to hop in the car and go spend one…two…seven days somewhere else and then come home to family and some close friends. In this Age of the Internet and interstate highways, that long distance affairs can be maintained – and I believe they can be, if both parties are interested. Anything is possible if you try….right?
What I want is it all. I want access to things that will make my life more vibrant and what I want it to be, but I also want to be an active member of my family, spending time with them and having those all too precious memories with them.
As those who float into and out of my life keep reminding me, you can’t have all the things, all the time. I also can’t keep running away; from home, from possibilities, from the uncertain, from x, y, and z, from myself.
At some point a decision will have to be made. It will be difficult, it may not make a lot of people happy, but it will have to be done for myself. Until that day, I will keep making choices and decisions that let me be happy and hope that, along the way, where I should be becomes a little clearer.
At the end of the day, I’m just getting tired of running.

Having the “Want To” – Being Home

Sadly, I think when people say “I’m going home,” others look at them as if to say “how sad.”  Through popular media, going home has come to represent the last move of one who has failed – at a career, in a relationship, in life.  Yes, after going home, learning a valuable lesson about what is important in their lives, these poor, broken, people are strong enough to leave again.  They go out into to the world and make the difference they were always meant to do. End scene.

That’s not why I wanted to come home. More