Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The real woman of Apifera
It seems like everything that comes into my life lately - articles people send me, comments from readers, or just random thoughts as I drive- compound my sense of place here within the boundaries of Apifera. And in reality, everything I write and paint is really a resonance of that sense of place I have developed here. Lately though, I've been feeling I need to guard those boundaries more.
When I came here in 2004, I had city roots with tiny tendrils connected to the memories of visits to my uncles farm. I had lived in cities - Minneapolis, New York and months at a time in some east coast places and I experienced living in Europe, leaving me with vivid memories and sensations of that culture. I was happy in the city and I'm so glad I was raised there so I could take in the wealth of art and education.
But even as a little creature, my eye always focused on an animal, a bird in a tree, or a salamander under the porch. When I was five, my parents moved us from the city to a 5 acre parcel into a tiny cottage that had been the caretaker house of the larger property near by. I was in heaven. When I think about it, most of my intense memories of the past, the ones that make me miss my parents or family, are from that house. I think we all have intense pockets of time in our lives, periods where it is intensely good, or periods where things were really tough going. For me, that little cottage was my first real memory of having a sense of place in the world, a sense of 'I'm safe here'. And the world I created within that 5 acre parcel was just as vivid, imaginative and comforting as Apifera is now.
At age five, I could spend all day alone in my sumac castle with the comfort of knowing my caretaker was in the house baking or cooking, always there for me, always wise and strong. I never had to doubt that. And I knew I could be free to think in my own way in that sumac castle, no one was watching me, or expressing doubt in me, or disapproval as to how I drew a butterfly, or wore my pants backwards. I knew that the guests in that home could not hurt me, or wound me, as long as my parents were there.
When guest were invited into that little haven I called home, there were clear boundaries for them - rooms with closed doors were out of bounds, food was revered and appreciated when passed by the host and everyone was nice to the dog. I would fall asleep on those nights, with my door slightly cracked, so I could hear the grown ups talk. It always lulled me to sleep- they were close by, but I had my own room and could think on my own as my eyes began to close. To this day, if I go to bed before Martyn, and he has the TV on in the living room, it comforts me and makes me feel so loved and safe.
I think that place from 50 years ago is what I always sought, and have found here at Apifera. The characters that come and go are different, the land is farther west, but the main subject still dresses slightly odd, and has castles of blackberry to hide in. She still is uncomfortable with transgressors - those who cross into her Apifera boundaries with misconceived notions of just who she is. She is flawed, evolving, kind but impatient with bullies. She is more comfortable sharing her feelings and passions through art, or stories, or the mouths of puppets. Her farm is more than the sepia photographs, and her carefully worded blog posts are edited to give the reader a genuine experience and sensation of one snippet of one woman's one moment in one day. She bristles at guests that arrive on her farm and want her to step out of that sepia photo, and be what they perceive her to be from her online presence. That's when she wants to retreat to the blackberry bramble, or have a monologue with the barn.