YEAR END BONUS: JOEL: PART TWO

December 28, 2013

As our year long experiment draws to a close I realize that I have not been this happy or productive for as long as I can remember. The days have a pace determined only by an internal pendulum effortlessly swinging between the pleasure of being conscious wherever I find myself, and making new work that comes from the observations granted to me by being here. Here being the serene and spacious locales of Tuscany and Provence.

I have always been a city dweller, happy and excited by the unexpected moments urban life offers and the diversity of experience that always come my way. Yet a year in the rural, even wild, reaches of France and Italy have served my calm and reflective side more than I could have imagined. How is it that I adapted so easily from the pavement-pounding beat of my New York life to the languorous tempo of curving hills and dirt roads?

Here, the smallest notations of the light, fragrances on the air, bells in the distance, children’s voices far off, wind in the cypresses, all come into play in ways that make me conscious of the present moment, the only moment I inhabit. The now. Which, after a year away, I realize I blur when I am living in my New York skin, where the present is overlaid with tomorrow and To Do.

The greatest pleasure however has been the intense intimacy Maggie and I have enjoyed; the real coexistence between us as we are ‘feeling our away around’ together. For two people, at our ages,  to do this in this space capsule-like way, traveling together once around the sun, is, frankly, the journey of a lifetime, the culmination of the 23 years we have already spent learning our shared language, but now making something with it that will serve us till the end.

This year hasn’t always been easy, since being together 24 hours a day necessarily tests everyone who tries it, yet the experiences which have seared us have, at the same time, prepared the ground for us to recognize our most ancient and closely held fears. If nothing else were to come from this year but this open-hearted acceptance of our limitations I would be grateful, but instead, we have pushed on and challenged ourselves to stay in conscious connection with these old fault lines, and by doing this we nurture the intimacy and kindness that, at times, we had previously withheld.

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