Yesterday I dismantle my cabin and peel it back to the insulated walls. The mice, the mice and their messy smelly nests in the insulation between my 2×6 studs – I get far enough to be showered in poop and infused with fumes then break out in hives, feverish and a buzzing in my brain. Was hit by a wave of deep emotional exhaustion and sadness I haven’t felt in years. I take the world’s floods and fires, the sick ash trees in my beloved forest, the fighting and looting, the art show I’m doing everything I can to launch and support myself with in pandemic times – I take all of this and my fumbling, hot, rash-covered body to the lake, and I weep.
Fall backwards into the water and lie there, in the quiet.
Climb still dripping into my stuffed car and drive south for 3 hours, to my apartment, and bed.
Mice foul their nests, as humans do. I take the fouling of their nests inside my cabin very personally, as through there was a parasitic intention to move in to my sacred space and render it uninhabitable to me. I’m so triggered by this that I weep to the lake: PLEASE NO MORE! My life is not a space for people to dump their unresolved messes into! I am DONE with cleaning up discards and garbage in my space that is NOT MINE!
All of this, triggered by mouse people who had a warm, abundant winter in the walls and ceiling of my cabin. Methinks there’s more to the story than mice.
A useful trigger, it turns out. Like a puzzle piece that had been missing, or the discovery that bean plants will produce far more if the weeds choking them are removed.
I’m in Hamilton now, still nursing a fuzzy brain, some interesting head pressure that migrates from back to top to side. I’m encouraged to go get my second vaccination dose but this brave, tired body in recovery says no. Not today, no.
Mouse nests and fouled insulation will be removed on Monday – I’ll wear hazmat – and replaced with new roxl, vapor barrier and tuck tape. The walls and ceilings will be covered with pine which I will wash with transparent white, and seal against the damp. Windows trimmed with the weathered cedar beneath my deck, eavestroughing installed to catch the rain so I won’t have to haul water any more. I’m glad it’s a tiny house I built, in the forest by the lake.
Body needs healthy food, so I will cook a stew with fresh vegetables and barley. Brain may request a sleep, which I will happily surrender to. Heart has asked for some art-making, for joy and for regulating stress. Good stress, this time. There’s still much do be done for the Conversation Pieces Apartment Pop-up Exhibition, which opens on July 25th and runs until August 8th, but there is just enough time to get it all done.
I discover that in the Mayan calendar, July 25 is this year’s ‘day free of time’, where all and nothing exists, side by side, simultaneously. An appropriate day to launch this art exhibition, I should think.
To those of you who are signed up for Exhibition news, the first issue is coming to your inbox tomorrow with Artist Talk links and schedule information. If you aren’t in Hamilton, I encourage you to sign up for a personal Q&A tour of the pieces – schedule will be in the email.
For those of you who are not signed up – what are you waiting for? It’s a fun show, designed to inspire and delight and expand into more fun – a welcome thing, in these heavy times. Go to the ‘Exhibitions’ page on this site – the sign up is there.
I shall see you all there.