September has always been my favourite month of the year. I love how the air begins to feel different as we move into a new season. The cool, fresh misty mornings and a particular golden light that heralds the beginning of autumn. Favourite warm clothing and beloved blankets start to make a reappearance. September brings me a back-to-school kind of feeling, a sense of beginning still ingrained on my mind from childhood: the desire and energy to set to work on new things.
This September also brought the discovery of a new beach, and magical mornings in the woods where the spiders and mist put on a show especially for us. A peaceful holiday at home, a dog beginning to settle and one rather spiffing birthday cake.
Ten weeks ago today, we drove home from the RSPCA with a new addition to the household. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll be getting to know Jack rather well :)
Jack has struggled a bit to settle in here. His background is not the worst for a shelter dog, not by a long way, but nonetheless he’s had a traumatic time, and the transition to a new home is a big deal for any dog (or person, for that matter). Ten weeks in, and things are starting to find a routine, a new normality. We are starting to trust each other, and find some surprising benefits to our new life together.
One of Jack’s biggest issues is with separation. He gets absolutely beside himself with fear when left alone, and as such we’re on a very painstaking training program to build up his tolerance. We started at zero, as in he couldn’t even cope if I left the room. Eight weeks later we’re celebrating the remarkable victory of me standing outside the closed front door for five whole minutes. You have no idea how much work this small-sounding achievement has taken! Jack has his own Skype account so I can watch him on the webcam from outside and check he’s doing alright. Sound nuts? It’s pretty nuts. But it’s helping him, and surprisingly, it’s helping me too.
Because while we commit to this training program, for as long as it takes, he doesn’t get left alone. So I am at home with him five days a week, and my life has assumed a kind of enforced simplicity. My time has taken shape around the routine of walking, feeding, playing, training, and inbetween those times I am creating. I am drawing, sewing, knitting, making, more than I have for many many months. And loving it.
I feel, at last, that I’m stepping out on the other side of Lighter Than My Shadow, and instead of feeling pressure and expectation, I feel curious, and excited to explore what might come next.
This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I love the motivation of having a regular (ish…) drawing project, but it has to be something that’s simple. At the same time, it has to be something that will always feel appealing and fun to do. When I first started blogging and sharing my work online, I was an enthusiastic contributor to Gemma Correll‘s Flickr group “What I Wore Today…in Drawings” for many months. It fell by the wayside when I started work on my book, but I’ve missed creating and sharing something regularly, just for fun. In case you didn’t know, I am completely obsessed with dogs and there is never a shortage of them to meet where I live. And so I’ve set out to draw them!
You can meet them at www.dogsimettoday.com
As an aside, Tumblr is a new and foreign world for me. I’m still finding my way around. Please be kind while I figure it out!