On making plans for the young

Been entertaining  cousins this last week. I’m always amazed at how much you can have in common with your family, even if you’ve never really spent much time with them.

My cousin has come to visit with her teenage son, who, I was relieved to find, is not a surly American youth. D. is a bright, curious, and sometimes smart-alecky young man. We like him alot.

We spent the day in Santa Cruz. Now, one of the problems with squiring around visiting relations is that they often don’t want to wait while you draw. But not these cousins. They are content to amuse themselves while I mess about in the sketchbook. And then they are appreciative of the work I’ve done.

And D. was covetous of my little sketchbook, Tombow pen, and water brush. So covetous that he instisted on buying his own Moleskine in the Santa Cruz bookstore. After finding an art supply store, I bought him a little kit of pens and a brushpen. He was pleased.

I always fantasize futures for kids I meet. D. loves cars, recreational vehicles, music, and art. I hope he’ll study all of these and incorporate them into his life in such a way that makes him into the person he wants to be. I know that may not turn into the future thatI think would be cool for him. He’ll make his own choices. But at the same time, I can’t help but imagine him making art that roars at top speed through the hollows and hills of his life, and says something important about the times during which he lives.

Heroes step-by-step

Walnut ink on Fabriano
Walnut ink on Fabriano watercolor paper

Some weeks are just harder to get through than others. This is one of them, with too much to do, and too much to look forward to. And I have to just get through it.

I often lionize  people who live outside the normal upper-middle-class life. Those who travel the roads of their lives in amazing jalopies of color, sound, and action. Oh, and how I envy them!

Yet I realize that these kinds of Odyssian life styles can’t be for everyone. There is honor in the person who daily just gets on with it. Who puts one foot in front of the other, even when that life path is boring, bothersome, tiresome, or even painful. They slog on even when disheartened—they’re not doing it for self-preservation or self-aggrandizement.  The moms and dads, uncles and aunts, husbands and wives, partners and friends keep moving out of love and responsibility to those who depend on them.

Here’s a shout-out to those day-to-day heroes.