better days

by Erica Hauser
Occasionally my dad would say to me, when I'd be going through tough times, "Better days is comin'."

Probably it was his particular delivery, but it often helped: imagining these better days somewhere down the road, just waiting for me to get there. I've been having a lot of better days lately. In fact, this year has been going pretty well altogether, for the most part. One of the running jokes at the Farm is that here, everything is "better." Best is good, but better is... better.

In the past few days, among other things, I finished a painting, built (with salvaged wood and nails) and planted a raised bed with the interns, went dancing, hiked in a state park by the river, worked on more paintings, helped prepare food, picked flowers, sank a single pool ball, and lay in the grass listening as a talented wordsmith here played guitar and sang.

I may have said this before, but I feel so fortunate to be able to live like this for a while. It makes me feel like I'd do anything to maintain this creative flow and focus that I've had in the past six weeks. Even when I'm not painting, I feel that I'm living everyday life with a heightened state of awareness, my senses more alert to everything around me.

True, I've always been essentially living this way, in the intensity with which I process sensory, physical, intellectual, or emotional experiences. But I'm seeing that something like a residency allows me easier access to the energy stirred up by my surroundings. Instead of tucking it away, I can follow it through to see where it leads. A couple of mornings here I tried to meditate with a friend. I can't say that I was able to quiet my mind, but I felt relaxed and there was a clarity and connectedness between thoughts I'd previously grappled with. While I still have troubling thoughts, it's like I'm able to tap into that aforementioned energy to strengthen myself and balance out my sensitivity.. well... better.