By John R. Greenwood
My life in the last dozen years has revolved around signs. As I approached my fifties I began to see the signs of aging literally. I ended up dealing with all the typical old fart issues like cataracts, polyops, and scoliosis, oh my. You forge ahead whining about it along the way. In those travels I stumbled across some interesting signs that pointed me in different directions. You come to a point in the road where you have to decide which signs you’re going to follow. Fortunately for me I chose to follow some life changing ones. I was led to people who refuse to relinquish their dreams to aging or any other barriers they encounter. I’ve always been drawn to the underdog, the little guy who refused to give up. My favorite movie scene is from the movie Rudy where after opening his umpty-ninth Notre Dame rejection letter, Rudy Ruettiger finally gets accepted. It’s his unwavering desire to fulfill his dream that gets me every time. He refuses to accept the words, “You can’t”.
Signs have given me strength especially when the destination brings me to people with pockets full of optimism. Don’t get me wrong, I can be the proverbial grumpy old man at times but that usually happens when I’m interrupted in pursuit of something shiny. One nice thing about decade six is the experience you’ve collected. You know that every high point will be followed by an unexpected car repair or power bill. Every loss is followed by the birth of another grandson or his game winning goal. Each winning raffle for a dinner for two will be followed by two years of nightstand losers. What’s most important is enjoying the losses as much as the wins. Life was never meant to be a plethora of happy. Read a history book. We have it pretty good, we just can’t see it through our overpriced Ray Ban’s.
Following signs can sometimes lead to disappointment but if fear keeps you from taking that chance you’ll never know what you missed.
I’ve found myself fighting guilt because I haven’t been writing as much as I had the last couple of years. I have to stop and talk my way through the minefield of should’ve’s and could’ve’s. Lately, signs have been pointing me to real signs. Signs like the one above or the one I made for the owner of my favorite farm called Bedlam. I took down some old picket fencing around my home and I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. I kept seeing potential in the weathered pickets. They seemed to be begging for more time, more opportunity. I stacked them neatly behind the garage and waited for a sign. That sign came from the inspiration I've accumulated from all the visual artists that have crossed my path in the last few years. Knowing my abilities as a fine artist were grade school level at best I thought maybe signs were pointing me toward sign making?
So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m in the experimental stages of another pathway, another adventure, another direction. My advice is not to take the road less traveled, take the one in front of you and don’t look back. Don’t wait for the sky to clear or the wind to soften, go grab a paint brush and get walking.