Suffering for Art

I’ve never been one to believe in suffering for my art. Not that “my art” is actually art — it’s more in the line of pretty photos I’ve taken to memorialize some flowers I’ve grown. And if art isn’t worth suffering for, then pretty photos — no matter how attractive — definitely are not worth suffering for.

Actually, there wasn’t much pain or suffering involved, and it was a silly thing anyway that’s not much to talk about. And yet, here it is . . .

Last evening, when I got home from work, I noticed this bright orange zinnia, and wanted a photo.

It was a couple of feet into the garden, so I used my walking stick for balance as I leaned over to get a photo, and the walking stick slipped on the foliage, making me lose my balance, and I went down. Sort of ironic, really — if I hadn’t been using the stick for balance, I wouldn’t have fallen. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt except for a small scratch on my arm. Even more luckily, I was able to get up without any trouble.

So that’s a good thing, I suppose — not the fall but learning that I can still get up. I’ve been wondering about that, but I’ve been hesitant to sit on the ground to test myself in case I couldn’t get back on my feet. So I passed the impromptu test and got up with very little trouble. Whew!

It’s been a while — years, maybe — since I’ve fallen, and hopefully it will be a long while before I fall again. I am very careful about such things because I’ve known too many older people whose lives as they knew them came to an end after a fall. (Not because of the fall itself, of course, but because of the injuries the fall caused.)

If ever I need another photo in a hard-to-reach place, I won’t try to balance myself as I lean over to get a close up — I’ll just step right into the garden, and the heck with any damage. One footstep would for sure cause a lot less damage to the garden than an entire falling body. Or I could simply pull out the plants that are in my way. (That’s why the reach was so great to get the photo — the garden had grown out of its bounds.)

I won’t have that same problem next year — that particular garden spot might be mostly empty. Although it’s on the north side of the house, it turns out the be the sunniest (and hottest) place on the property, which is probably why my cool-season grass browned out along there, so it will be the perfect place to plant the desert wildflower seeds I received yesterday. Because it might take a year for the plants to germinate, it’s possible there will be only dirt (and weeds, of course) in that spot.

But for now, there are still some pretty flowers for me to photograph.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

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