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February and March

Art Prompt: For February and March our project for art was to create a spirit animal or other structure that inspires. We used clay to make it three dimensional.
Writing – We had a few choices for writing.

1. Karma means action. One can think of it as Newton’s spiritual law. The difference is that karma is an equal and similar reaction. Every action, whether physical, mental or emotional, causes an emission of karma, which will bear fruit at some point. Write about Karma.

2. You have invented a time machine and set off to the time you would most love to visit.

3. Write about measuring time with something not expressly intended for that purpose, like cracks in a floor, scuffs on a boot, or weeds in the flowerbed.

The Dolphin by Alexis.

I chose a dolphin as my spirit animal because I like to swim. Until I was five years old, I lived near the Chesapeake Bay and would often go to the beach. Sometimes I would see dolphins, and I like how they are friendly and communicate. I have seen dolphin shows at the Baltimore Aquarium and am impressed by the tricks they do. I enjoy swimming in the pool at my building and seeing my neighbors. I painted the dolphin blue because it is my favorite color and reflects the water. Dolphins are very social and have fun spending time with friends, like I do.

A. R.

The Angel by Nicole.

I did the angel because I wear a guardian angel necklace that I wear and I have done so ever since my friend passed away. I wanted to make the angel to remind me that I have people looking out for me.

The bear I did because I found the bear cookie cutter and I just thought he was cute.

Sculpting by N. D.

Measuring Time by Steven Collier.

I confess that in the last two years, time feels as though it has lost all meaning. As an individual who is at high risk of covid, living with two high-risk parents, I have been bunkered up at Collier Bluff for quite some time now, I seldom go outside anymore, except to walk my dogs. All of my social engagements, including this one are entirely digital. I am dimly aware of the passage of seasons outside my window, but I have been living in isolation so long it rarely even registers. There are just some days when the trees have leaves and others where they don’t. Every spring feels like an extension of the last one, rather than a new cycle. On some level, I think my brain still believes we’re in 2019 and the year just refuses to end.

As such, the only real indicator that life is happening somewhere in the world and that the march of time continues ever onward would be my allergies. Even if it doesn’t yet feel or look like spring to me, my sinuses are screaming another story. Every violent sneeze is another trumpet call heralding the arrival of the new season. Just as I can count on my leaf mold-induced migraines to welcome fall, and my chapped and bleeding skin let me know we hit winter. I wonder if this is a sign that I am truly getting old, and if soon I will only be aware of the weather only so far as which of my bones are aching today. There is a sense that things are happening around me, but there’s no internal drive to figure out how, much less when.

Days all feel the same, and months bleed into one another so insidiously that I rarely even notice. With my senses so diminished, the only real measurement of time I have is prestige television. Since quarantine has confined me to my home, my world has shrunk to only recognize the chronology of what I experience in this house. Spring of 2019 lasted Better Call Saul and most of Breaking Bad. That summer was longer, spanning the entirety of Game of Thrones. It was a bitter Fall that seemed to go on for an eternity of Sopranos episodes, but Winter brought with it a Twin Peaks binge. I only recently finished several cold months of Weeds, with Killing Eve just now bringing in a late thaw.

With nowhere to go, media has become one of my only escapes and with little else to distract me, it has slowly become an ever more vital part of my lived experience. When I used to watch shows, it was something I did alongside everything else in my life. Now, it feels too much like they are my life. They are my culture, my nightlife, my vacations, even my social life. I think I finally understand what it was to shuffle into the movie hall every week regardless of what was screening.

All of my friends are in the same boat. And that means it’s easy to put together online watch parties. In a weird way, it feels like reclaiming a part of my life. No, I didn’t watch Mad Men when it was new. But, I got to watch it adjacent to a lot of other people seeing it for the first time and that lead to a TON of discussions that I missed out on around the water cooler. With nowhere to go, we all go back to try and see what we missed.

Last year, I watched every NBC sitcom I didn’t have time to watch when I was in college. And I watched it with people with whom I used to go to school. It’s hard to stay temporally grounded, to remember it’s still 2022, when so much of your life revolves around watching 30 Rocks from 2008. This period of my life has felt chronologically confused as I ping pong between the latest episode of Ozark right back to The Office with equal ease. As I experience them, both shows are new, products of the current year. For me, most American TV didn’t really exist until the Pandemic. And, while I am very glad I saved myself something for a rainy day when I would need literal years of quality TV backlog, I worry it creates a weird kind of disconnect from anyone else who has seen these shows.

After all, I didn’t see the same Breaking Bad everyone else did. My Breaking Bad was antiquated and cliched by the time I got to it. Heck, it wasn’t even the first in its series for me. I apologize if I lose people here, but I saw it after Better Call Saul. So, for me and maybe me alone, Breaking Bad is an inferior sequel to a show that actually came out years after it. And so, I count my seasons by a TV schedule that could probably only exist at this particular moment in time. Where Black Mirror was a sister show to Dead Wood and Tony Soprano seems to be a response to Trump’s America. I think there’s something fitting about quarantine time only being measurable by that which is itself displaced in time. Like one who is lost at sea and the only things to grab hold of are your fellow pieces of flotsam. But still I drift ever onward across still waters and violent storms, hoping that this Spring of The Crown will finally see me to a port…or at least another season of Russian Doll.

Family – by Laura.

I wanted to make something to symbolize my family, and the ducks seemed like a fun choice. We like doing nature walks and watching the birds, so that gave me inspiration when thinking of what to sculpt with the clay. 

Artwork by L. K.

Spirit animal for Momma Kim. Clay bear modeled on Momma’s college bear.

Artwork by Momma Kim

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