Two dates best herald the end of high-season in Southwest Florida: April 15 and Easter. Before April 15, many of our part-time residents find it necessary to haul it on home to talk taxes. As for Easter, it marks the end for tourists in general; although why this should be I’ve never understood – especially since the date is all over the calendar – but there you have it. For the worker-bees who remain year-round, end of season – on either date – has much different meanings.
It’s over… working six to seven days a week, keeping up with a never-ending roll of appointments, commitments, bookkeeping, correspondence and business management. It’s over. Now’s the time to catch-up with friends and family; we compare notes on how successful our season was (or wasn’t), share stories on how much we’ve let your homes and yards backslide and declare ways we’re going to remedy that when once again we adjust to the idea of “free time.”
My lovely Kia van is nothing but a workhorse all season long… I load it up with art show equipment in November: tent, display walls, tables, chairs, bins, tools, gig-boxes, the works. And it stays that way until it’s all over. Unloading the van and storing away all that stuff and bother is not as simple as it sounds. You see, during those hectic five to six months my garage and my studio experience a slow-motion explosion of unbridled disarray. Work that is done on the run doesn’t always get tidied up properly because… because… I’M BUSY! It happens so slowly that it’s not until I stand there – with nowhere to put anything – that I even realize I let it all unravel – again.
So here was my Easter Sunday: three full hours in the garage putting tools and materials away in some orderly fashion, folding up and storing extra work tables, filling recycle and garbage bins to bursting and tidying shelves so they can take on all that stuff in the van. Unfortunately, some of it has to go into the studio which is already in need of a similar transformation. Then into the garage came all the show paraphernalia. How happy I was when it all fit back in! But wait, there’s also a pile of weather-hardy equipment in the back of the truck because after my final show I was just too tired to figure how to puzzle it all back into the van. Okay, okay, there’s another hour of reconfiguring my storage capabilities.
Now it’s time to tackle the studio as I can barely climb my way across the room. It’s not very big and does not function well under disorder. I get pouty, then I get cranky, then I get downright snappish. That’s when my oh so clever husband reminds me of what the day is and gently insists that we take ourselves for a spirit-lifting beach walk. The beach works miracles on our tiny souls, doesn’t it? It renews itself through waves and breezes minute by minute by minute and offers us the same renewal, if we just pay attention. Clock-time means nothing here. The beach is in a constant state of rebirth, the surf and sky are pulsing with it.
The calendar may say spring starts March 21, but for me spring starts at the official end of season (Easter or April 15) and ends about two to three weeks later when the blister of summer begins. It is fresh, it is filled with tender thoughts and abounds with life renewing.
Feeling much better, my head and heart sated with thoughts of renewals, rebirths, and resurrections, we go home. I quietly close off the door to my studio and set my portable easel up on the front lanai – truly the only clean room in my house right now (Well, and the kitchen. My husband the chef will not cotton to any backsliding in that room!) – and decide to let these feelings loose on canvas. It was truly a wondrous experience, and the result filled me with joy.
The studio will wait until next weekend, and I’m sure I’ll be able to clear away the house dust before it actually begins to ripen. I will make all the right resolutions about the next year’s cycle as I’m cleaning up after this one. We’ll see how that plays out.
I hope you all had a happy Easter (whatever your beliefs are), a successful season (despite the long hours) and are now looking forward to a long and glorious summer.