Gelli plate prints, acrylic on dish wrap paper.
There is a push and pull to packing for a long journey. In my head, it is not dissimilar to the pushing and pulling of creating a well-composed painting. We strive for a balance between too much and not enough. And yet, where I feel most alive is when I risk taking too little, trusting the universe to provide exactly what I need, knowing deep in my psyche that I cannot possibly anticipate everything.
I am taking less on this trip to Ireland. Less on my back in this backpack, less in my suitcase. Less in my head. The benefits of having traveled here before are many, but this one, the knowing a little better what to expect, allows my thoughts to freely wander elsewhere and to enjoy the journey more.
This time I shipped ahead (from Jacksons, an art supply store in the U.K.) a plethora of art supplies. But again, I didn't over plan. There will be things I am missing, but it will push me to create with what is there, to be present, to push boundaries. Because what is the point in traveling so far just to recreate what I already have at home?
The universe conspires with me this day, as I finished the last pages of Mark Nepo's Seven Thousand Ways to Listen just in time to leave. And how perfect, this part: "So being here involves more than just reacting to the things that come at us. It requires that we initiate a love affair with all that calls to us, seen and unseen; that we run with open arms into questions and moments of living as urgently as we do burning buildings to retrieve who and what we love." I run with open arms into this journey. Surely it is no secret that I am wildly in love with Ireland.
There are nearly five weeks stretching before me. It feels bountiful. A feast of time and exploration. But this I know: I will wring every second out of every day, because time is a fickle wench who races by and laughs at me when I turn and see that she is gone. Right now, this moment, as I board for the final leg which will land me in a misty, verdant landscape at 6 am, I will enjoy the thought of days and weeks of adventure and delight and the magic which only Ireland, only Listowel and its inhabitants, can bring. Sláinte!
Jen Walls and her imaJENation