84 Miles

April 4, 2012

by kat pevzner


“Feel yourself being quietly drawn
by the deeper pull of what you truly love”

~ Rumi

84 Miles. That’s how far it takes for me to find my place. I drive 84 miles one or two times a month. My car creaks out of the dusty driveway, bombs into the city while my supplies rattle around in boxes, bags and cases in the back of my old Subaru. I’m off to Wishstudio. I’ve been spending a bit of time up there as artist in residence. I’m planning my paper cutting (and other chaos) as the miles roll by.

From the moment I turn out of my little Plumfield Lane to just about 10 miles in I’ve already compiled my “to do” list for the week. I make a mental note of a few groceries we need, a few phone calls I haven’t returned, camp enrollment packets that I’ve had to remind myself (for the 10th time!) to fill out and which kid needs to be dropped off at whatever place on whichever day… blah blah blah… head noise.

Miles 10 to about 22, I’m wondering if I turned off the heat… did I? Didn’t I? Did I? Didn’t I? I turn on NPR and geek out for a spell while I try to quiet my inner heat miser. Yes, I seriously spend 12 miles freaking out about my electric bill. Hard times… you know?

Miles 22-38… ahh… the city… it starts with a few low buildings. I notice the windows, the dimension they bring to the façade. I notice the rise, the frame-outs, and the reflections. I realize that I MUST HAVE A WINDOW in the work I do today. The road rises, it curves, the speed picks up a bit and suddenly the sun takes a perfect turn and lights up the sky in a delicious warm, sleepy kind of way right before I dip into the tunnel….

The tunnel… twists, dims, vibrates. I think about how steady I have to hold my hand when I work with an Exacto knife. One wrong move and someone could lose an arm! A star could lose its 5th point.! A sparrow could lose its tail! I could never find peace like that in a rumbled tunnel such as this. One last swoop and then… SPARKLE! … into the LIGHT at the end.

Miles 39-52… over the bridge and straight onto RT 1. The lines of the bridge strike me as poetic. Think to myself, “I could cut a bridge if I wanted”. I could measure out the braces and the barriers wield my knife into the grating and make sharp lines, lines that are strong enough to hold up. It would be strong like this bridge that cushions and floats my car over the water. Dear bridge, thank you for holding me so safely as I ride up to Newburyport.

RT 1… oh you crazy beast! Cars careening in from the right, businesses jam packed together and huge overbearing chain restaurants line the street like parade goers. Vehicles weave intricate patterns in between each other, all over the road making a statement that goes something like, “I can drive this way because I’m from MA”. While this madness goes on all around me, I see colors work their way into the corner of the piece I started on my last trip to Wishstudio. I was really unhappy with how I left it. It was too “cute”, too “crafty”. I wanted it to say something important… and I left that day feeling like I didn’t get to speak my mind. I know that I can spend miles 50-52 scanning the color department of my mind until my finger stops on…… something dark! That’s it… I need to be a dark color. There… new direction.

Miles 53-54… let’s review. What have we got so far: windows and dark colors. Check.

Miles 55-70… the crammed businesses give way to green. The tree line gets taller. To the right is a cliché of a farm yard. No lie- two silos with a marquis, “Alfalfa Farm’. Brilliant! After a while NPR gets boring (I know… funny, right?) so I switch to WERS, an Emerson College radio station. I catch the tail end of the Unitarian Universalist church service broadcast. I happen to be a UU, so it brought familiar humble warmth into my car as my odometer ticked off the miles. The speaker was reflecting on “truth”. She spoke about how to get people to believe your truth, and whether your truth was the same as someone else’s truth. It was a profound enough moment for me, but suddenly it was enhanced by a giant hawk, diving into the median and tilting to the right in an upswing right in front of my car!

Truth: I almost peed my pants.

More truth: once I calmed down, I knew I had to ‘put a bird on it’ when I got to the studio.

Miles 70 to 75… I’m thinking about what I left behind the last time I was at Wishstudio. I’m thinking of the feeling I was left with. I’m thinking of all the things I plan for today. I’m thinking that I’m going to make it count. I’m thinking that I have a much better plan this time.

Mile 76… I’m thinking, “I just blew past my exit!”. Crap.

Miles 76-84… finally, back on track. I sail off the exit and take a straightaway into Newburyport. I round a corner and BAM… there’s the harbor; there are the oven baked brick buildings, the cobblestone streets, the funkalicious little business. One more left turn and there it is. A red lamp hangs over the door. A beacon that welcomes me. I see Her Royal Pinkness, Mindy sitting quietly as I do the slow drive by to park. I gather myself. I gather my supplies.

I gather.

I’m here. I’ve arrived.


4 Responses to “84 Miles”

  1. Mom says:

    You have such an amazing insight to the things around you and how to fit them all together into something meaningful. I think, for myself, that is also why I love Maine so much. Everything is always changing, even the ugly and undesireable sights, because there is always something bright, and green and beautiful in the surrounding fields and mountains. My epiphany here was going over Knox Hill one day and it hit me right up side of the head that I was not driving through fog, I was in a cloud at the top! WOW!
    Love you lots, Mom

  2. Miranda says:

    Beautiful, Kat.

  3. Mary Ann DeMello says:

    You are a writer as well as an artist. I’m so proud of you.
    I had a hawk swoop down in front of my car too! It’s a little scary! Keep on writing and creating.

    Mary and Dad

  4. What a creative, inspiring journey is your 84 miles! Thank you for sharing the way your thoughts and story turn into your art! Loved reading this!
    Love Meg x o

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