Have you ever noticed that when you become involved in a new group, a new world view, even a new family, there’s a whole lot of new insider language to learn?
One of my favorite examples comes from my own family.
My dad used to get dressed in his oddly colored terry cloth shorts and his sandals and pick up his car keys to head out on some mysterious weekend mission.
Experience had led my mother to ask questions.
We’re talking about a man who famously headed to the garden center to buy grass seed one day and came home with a new car!
After a few years of practice, they had their routine down pat. Daddy would pick up the car keys. Mom would raise one eyebrow in that ominous way I’ve never quite been able to accomplish.
Daddy would calmly comment, “Out. Later. Nothing.”
Even now that they’ve gone on, we’re still known to do the “Out. Later. Nothing.” routine upon occasion and we all understand perfectly!
Today, I learned a new one.
I was watching the last videos for my Legend class in Intentional Creativity. We were working on the final few layers of glaze.
(If there is such a thing as “final” layers of glaze…)
Demonstrating a technique that involves a big brush, a thin layer of paint, and a squirt bottle full of water, our fearless leader soon had a downpour of reddish drips cascading onto the face of a very large cat near the top of her painting.
Not to worry!
Just grab the nearest ancient t-shirt and, tend the drips.
It was really amazing to watch.
Tilting. Patting. Wiping.
Allowing the drips to be where they worked.
Discouraging them where they didn’t.
It went on for quite a while.
Long enough for me to realize that a lot of life is tending the drips.
Tiny acts, over and over again, all designed to bring things closer to the way we hope they will be.
Or, perhaps, closer to the way they hope they will be!
This is a powerful metaphor for someone who lives with three Newfoundland dogs!
Sarah is what’s known to insiders as “dry mouthed.”
Phoebe and Luther are not!
Hence the spit rags strategically placed near doors and chairs.
Along with lessons for guests.
Because sometimes we have more drips than we need. (Ok. Often!)
We also have towels all over the floors on wet, muddy days like today.
Luther hasn’t quite gotten on board with the more traditional paw drying rub down method. And so, we tend the drips.
If you don’t relate to huge, slobbery dogs, think of teething infants.
Or, in some senses, skimming soup pots.
Painting offers a lot of new things for the previously uninitiated to learn.
Keeping the glow. Scrubby brushes.
How to buy paint.
I’m reasonably certain there are about to be a whole lot more things to learn.
It’s a challenge!
Today, though, I found one I understood.
Tending the drips.
As a life skill, it really kind of works when you give it a minute.