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Brave New World

Who could have possibly imagined the strange world in which we would wake? I had such hopes for this year. I began my year across the sea, in Tokyo. It was beautiful there, just as I remembered, although the winter carried a far different charm than the cherry blossom season of my last visit. I walked the snow-wet paths of Nagano in my yukata, soaked in the ancient hot springs, and nibbled at apricot biscuits from the local bakery.

I climbed the myriad steps to the top of the Inari Shrine in Kyoto. I wept in the watercolor-papered rooms of the Ghibli Museum. I watched koi fish in the gardens of the Meiji Shrine. I hid away in Marufuku Cafe of Osaka with strong coffee in delicate china cups.

Back at home, things were more complicated. The past year has been a struggle for us, as our household worked to build two small businesses. Only one survived, and our little literary coffee shop closed its doors in October. Once home, I pursued my art with new life. The market season approached, and I eagerly struck out to create new pieces--an array of original, matted watercolors, featuring subjects from Zelda, Final Fantasy, and nature. Our first event of the season hit, and these quickly found new homes.

Around this time, I began to plan my next steps--quit my office job, book more frequent market events, and create new pieces more consistently. This was finally becoming a realistic goal. Then suddenly, the world changed. Now, we don't leave our homes. We don't see our friends or family. We seal our doors tight, and look inward. It's still such a surreal feeling. I know things won't be this way forever, but I can't imagine that it will so easily resolve itself, either. How long will we live this way? In the meantime, I create. I do whatever I can to make magic of each moment. I don't remember a time when I last felt such a lack of...pressure. I've spent so much time rushing from obligation to obligation that I haven't stopped to breathe in so, so long.

I don't mean to say that there are not...complications, but at least I can be grateful that I am permitted so much time now to bake, rest, create, and breathe. I'm going to enjoy it for as long as I can. Colette

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