“I’m learning to trust the journey, even though I do not understand it.”

Mila Bronit

This year was to be about adventure and new beginnings…but instead it was all about the journey. It should be apparent by now that the more planning involved, the more things go horribly awry. Each and every year has its lessons, and this year was no exception. The moral of 2022 is this: without a little bit of struggle, a smidge of uncertainty and tiny bit of gloominess, it is hard to appreciate the light. There was a very tight schedule for 2022, and the blasted year didn’t stick to the plan. It feels as if every decision and every deadline went out the window, and yet, it hasn’t been the end of the world. So, let the journey begin…let me tell you a little about it.

A brief synopsis of the past 300 something days:

  • January: Fire Creek is temporarily shuttered. Poor Sparky was unplugged from the wall and carted away to the nearest storage unit. The studio was packed into way too many boxes to count and joined Sparky in the storage unit.
  • February: Packing the unnecessary items in the house.
  • March: The house is on the market. If the real estate trends for our area continue as they have, the house should be sold in a week? Right? Wrong…. An old injury in my left knee rears its ugly head with the hundreds of trips up and down the stairs carrying heavy boxes. I’ve ignored it for 10 years already, I can ignore it for a while longer, right? Wrong….
  • May: The MRI on the left knee shows a complex tear of the meniscus that carries to the root. Surgery is required to fix the issue. They will trim away the damaged meniscus and recovery should be quick, just 2-3 days before I am back on my feet, or at least that is the plan. Surgery is schedule for August.
  • June: The house sells…hooray! We move into my old bedroom at my parents’ house. It is wonderful to get to spend some quality time together. Now that our house as sold, we begin to look for a new place. We put offers on four different houses in Idaho and get beat out on every on single one of them. The market in Idaho is bananas and it begins to look as if my teenage bedroom may become our permanent residence. The hope of having Fire Creek back up and running this month, my plan B, goes out the window. Fire Creek remains shuttered. Blast!
  • July: I come down with a terrible case of Thyroiditis. The fatigue is horrible, and a baseball sized lump has taken residence at the base of my throat. The Thyroiditis leads to the discovery of a 2.5-centimeter Tr4 (moderately suspicious) nodule in the right lobe of my thyroid. An appointment with an Endocrinologist is scheduled for October. However, we have found a house in Wyoming, the offer was accepted, and closing is at the end of July. Moving day is July 29th.
  • August: We leave for surgery in Denver just a mere two weeks after moving to our new house. There are boxes everywhere. When I wake up from surgery, the surgeon informs me that I am one of the lucky 10% and instead of trimming the meniscus, they were able to repair it. Hooray! It is definitely better to keep the cushion between the bones…especially for an avid hiker, but it also means 6 weeks non-weight bearing. Six weeks was not in the schedule. I was hoping to have the studio up by September. Won’t happen.
  • September: I do my best to work on commission pieces from a wheelchair. The boxes stacked throughout the room make it difficult to get around and I cannot confirm nor deny that I may have done a little hopping from the table to the slab roller and back again when I was left unsupervised.
  • October: Finally, out of the wheelchair and able to go to Physical Therapy to learn how to walk again. You would be amazed at how quickly muscles will atrophy after just 6 weeks. It feels good to get up and move around, though working in the studio is still a bit tricky. Unpacking the pottery tools can now happen in earnest, but fatigue starts to return. With a little more research on hypothyroidism, I’ve learned that this too has probably been something that I have ignored for a while. So many strange symptoms that I won’t list here, but now make so much sense.
  • November: Fire Creek is unofficially, officially open. The important equipment is set up and in working order. While working around boxes, orders are being filled. Hooray!
  • December: Here I am just 6 days out from surgery on my thyroid and feeling 100% better. I do look like I got into a ferocious knife fight, but I think the incision will heal nicely. Fatigue still is a factor, but once the appropriate medication level is determined fatigue should be manageable. The year ahead will go smoother and holds a lot of promise. Fingers crossed, anyway.

The smallest ladybug, making its way in a jungle of a world, puts the problems, the fear and darkness into perspective.

This year is all about waiting. To curb the itch of creating without the means to dig into clay, sketching became the escape. Doodles make their way onto anything that I could doodle upon. The endless drawings lean towards the miniature worlds of the smallest of creatures around us. The lively realms of butterflies visiting sunflowers, lady bugs on clover, hibernating animals cozy in their dens and birds discussing the days gossip on branches began to emerge from an everyday Ticonderoga number 2 pencil.

It was only recently, looking back at the designs created over this last year, that the significance of each piece emerged. The lesson that 2022, and perhaps that last few years, had to teach me and one to share with you, is this: when we look at the scale of the world around us…the vast oceans, trees the brush the sky, the smallest ladybug making its way in a jungle of a world, puts the problems, the fear, and darkness into perspective.

Our troubles are not our own. We share hardship with the smallest bug making its way in a ginormous world and share that same connection to one another. We are all connected, and we all have a purpose and place on this planet. Take the lesson of the smallest creature; tomorrow is another day to enjoy and cherish. There is joy every day, even though some days it may seem harder to find. Look closer.

Brightly colored and joyful….

From the significance of each sketch, a body of work emerged. Work of the tiniest of world to encourage slowing the observer’s pace to notice the amazing things that we miss in our very busy lives. Symbolism and characteristics lead us in our daily existence. The lucky ladybug…the transformation of butterflies. Courage, strength, patience, perseverance, only to name a few, are among the emblems in these sketches. They all hold meaning for each one of us…what do they mean to you? How do they inspire you?

Brightly colored and joyful, these pieces differ from my tilework. A bright light in any day. Delight in the evidence of the artist hand in each hand-built piece. I believe that a little wonkiness adds to the character of these pieces.

So much down time has allowed time to make Plan A’s, Plan B’s, and maybe a Plan C. So, new work for functional pottery pieces will be available for each season and there will be shop drops quarterly and new tile designs will also be seasonal. I intend to have several of the new tile designs in stock at each shop drop, but tile is always available to order. Pottery will be available each season for a short period of time. The best way to grab your favorite piece is to be a Behind the Tile subscriber. Friends of Fire Creek get previews of new designs and premiere opening of each shop drop; so, be sure to sign up!

I’ve determined that my purpose is to bring a little joy into the world with happy, brightly colored pieces that will bring joy every day. My greatest hope is that using these pieces in your life, will bring you happiness each day. How can I brighten your day? What critters make you smile? Be sure to let me know.

Thank you for chatting with me today. I hope that you have a wonderful day and blessed new year. Have a moment? Tell me how your year has gone, do you know something about Hypothyroidism? Do you feel that you know what your purpose is? I’d love to hear it. Post a comment or send me an email. I’m always excited to hear about you.

2 Replies to “Trust in the Journey”

  1. Dana, what a year! We are tested constantly and it sounds like you have passed this phase. Christine has hyperthyroidism and has had her thyroid removed. A pill every day keeps her alive. I am so great full.
    Hopefully this “down” time has given you some time to reflect on what Firecreek clay will become and how to approach it.

    1. I’m glad Christine is doing so well on medication. It will definitely take some getting used to for sure. Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it! I sure hope you have a wonderful Holiday season!

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