I've been painting fish for several weeks in my daily art project. Since fish live in water, and since I am intrigued by the washy effects of wet-into-wet painting, I've been doing a lot of experimenting with making the fish blurry, as though seen through the water.
I've enjoyed this series, although I think it's about to end, because I have other ideas to explore. But a strange thing happened with the fish this week.
We have been tied up in organizing a family transition, as my sister-in-law is going to move across the country from a single-family home on a multi-acre lot in the exurbs to a senior living center here in Kentucky. We are her closest family, and it's time for her to come to where we can support and help her.
We visited four, count 'em, four places yesterday, which is at least one too many, if you're planning a similar emdeavor. But fortunately, we found one that looked pretty good, and this morning we went back for a second look and more gory details. I think this is going to happen -- as soon as the minor tasks of selling a house and moving across the US can be worked out. Things will be better for everybody once it's done; just the doing will be hell on wheels.
So back to my fish.
But as the day wore on, I found myself un-detached, and unexpectedly feeling trapped and claustrophobic.
The fish told the story -- when I did my painting last night the fish ended up in a box.
And this morning, before we headed out for the second visit to the best place, the fish ended up in a trap.
I have sworn that I will never enter an institution when I get old; instead I will die in my own home if it kills me (thus cleverly avoiding the issue of what to do with my studio and my stash and my collections of stuff that I intend to turn into art. Let my kids deal with that after I'm gone. And sure enough, just walking into these places -- even the best, most pleasant of them -- reminded me of why I have sworn this oath.
I think the place we have found will be the best solution for my SIL. It will allow her to easily make friends in a city where she has never lived, thousands of miles away from her present home. It will give her support and infrastructure so she won't have to lean on us for everything. It will provide access to dozens of activities and lots of companionship that she could never get in a regular old apartment. I'm not sure why I'm feeling trapped instead of happy. (Actually, I guess I'm happy too, but the fish certainly aren't...)