The world is rife with panic and pandemic.
People are sick. People are dying. The COVID-19 respiratory illness is sweeping across the globe. No place will be spared.
Italy is quarantining. Have the Italians stopped their millennia-old practice of bussing on both sides of the face in greeting?
I bet they have. Kissing is for the inviolate.
The macrocosm is a mess. In the microcosm, in the tiny whimsical, poignant slice of All-That-Is that is my personal life, a chaos stew bubbles.
One friend died of a drug overdose.
Did she intend to die?
I was close to her during grad school. I remember her talent, her intellect, and her bright smile. Could I have done anything else to help her?
A beloved family member succumbs to cancer, by degrees. He’s in palliative care now. It’s hard to watch a good man die.
A beloved friend is mentally absent. Something has claimed her wonderful intelligence. She tells me the same stories over and over, sometimes beginning the anecdote mere seconds after finishing it.
I have pulled away from a friend whom I love. I can not tolerate her lack of truthfulness and lack of consistency right now. Usually I can shrug off her failings because I remember my own flaws, and because I have in mind her many wonderful qualities: her extraordinary generosity, her capacity for lovingkindness, her playfulness. But right now, the lack of truthfulness and lack of dependability feel like too much chaos, in a world that is seething with chaos.
Since August 26, I’ve been ensconced in an office in my husband’s new studio. Sabin and his team are sculpting the National WWI Memorial.
I have a life in the studio.
I’m the project manager. I’m also Human Resources and CFO of Sabin Howard Sculpture LLC.
There are plenty of non-glamorous, essential tasks in this job for which I roll up my sleeves and apply the grease of my elbows. I’m not just talking about sweeping the floor, emptying trash, and lugging around bronze sculptures, though I’ve done that, too.
I mean things like running payroll, signing checks, tracking hours spent on each figure… Project management is a first cousin to juggling. You know, 1000 balls in the air, and they’d all better stay afloat.
Along the way, I engage in more pleasurable activities–like writing articles. Here’s my latest on Medium, entitled, “The Many Faces of Sabin Howard’s National WWI Memorial.”
I take photographs almost every day; our daughter put together a video for us. Her YouTube video shows us getting back to work after the holiday break.
And here’s a video that I put together. It’s a little rough but fun–it shows Sabin and his crew taking the memorial relief outside into daylight to see it out doors, the way visitors will see it once it’s installed in Pershing Park, Washington DC.
So I do find ways to exercise my own creativity on this journey alongside my husband.
One of my dear ones marches inexorably toward his passing. Another dear one walks this journey with him, holding his hand.
I admire her patience and resolve. She’s been stronger than she ever imagined possible. It’s marvelous and poignant to take in her acceptance and her softness in the face of an unimaginable loss.
Even for one like me, who sometimes sees through the veil, this process of dying is a panorama of terrible grandeur. Sometimes my breath barely comes in beholding it.
I pray for ease and peace for him.
I pray for solace and the sure knowing of love for her.
I pray that the Great Mystery will hold them both tenderly in this moment when neither can avoid the truth of our core essence.
And I pray for myself that I may honor and support them in ways they can receive.
I posted an article in Medium relating our first few days in Sabin’s new studio, sculpting the National WWI Memorial, A Soldier’s Journey.
It’s been an intense month as we prepared to get to this moment, when Sabin and his team are actually sculpting.
We had a brand new studio–unfinished–to contend with. Indeed, guys were still in the studio grouting tiles when we started work the first day!
The team of sculptors is first rate and the models are terrific.
We had photographers here on Day 1 and Sabin was captured talking about sculpting. It’s a short, sweet YouTube video:
There’ll be more videos and Medium posts as Sabin’s sculpting progresses!
Here is a video showing sculptor Sabin Howard working on a maquette and inspecting pre-sculpted armatures. Most scenes are set at Pangolin Foundry in the UK. This video was created by the sculptor’s daughter Madeleine.