Artist’s Lane: The camouflaged pole


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

We stopped, started and swerved all over the road in 2020. The year was like driving an old Ford Edsel. Unforgettable, but still an Edsel. 

Should we leave the old jalopy jacked up in the bone yard? After all, who wants to look back from the rearview mirror at the year that was? 

It’s time to set our sights forward as we look to new adventures. But, even an ol’ motor deserves its next run, one that begins with a warm-up if nothing less. 

Mine will likely corner around special projects and friendships. After that, it will be time to rev things back up again? And therein lies the problem. 

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who found an escape from what use to be my norm. I don’t even want to think about how many times I popped the clutch, then sputtered to a stop in the name of, “Its where we are today.” 

The word momentum comes to mind. Or, better said, lack of momentum. Do I have the fuel to throttle things up? Do I even want to? How far am I willing to go to be challenged by new ideas or projects? 

This week’s short track was a circular run around the hallway coat rack. After pulling down five camouflage jackets and 12 baseball hats, I said to my Sweet Al, “Choose two jackets and a couple hats. I’m getting rid of the rest.”

You would have thought that I was asking him to choose between his favorite vintage and classic model. He tried on every coat and hat and had a story for each. The day was filled with more drama than a day at an auction. 

I didn’t budge. It was time to let go. I told him, “I’m letting you off easy. If I went through your hunting closet, I could probably find 10 more coats for you to get rid of.”

He gave me one jacket and told me to find it a good home. No sooner had he said that when our son swooped in, grabbed it and said, “I’m putting it on the pole.”

“The pole. What’s that?”

“Downtown by the stoplight. There’s a fence where people put scarfs for those in need.”

“Do people know it’s there for them? Will they take something you leave behind?”

“Yes, of course. Besides, someone will get mileage out of it.”

The whole idea about the fence post and passing things forward intrigued me. Is there anything that I have that others may need? Or, will I just immortalize a classic to a point where it has lost all redeeming value?

Today, I wonder how many Ford Edsels will see their fate as a bucket of rust before their beauty can be appreciated by someone who will know what to do with it. It is easy to throw things away when we believe them to have no value. How often do we seize an opportunity to pass along things of potential worth just because we can? 

And here I worry about finding my momentum, when others are struggling to just make it to a nearby fence. 

Final brushstroke: The best way to find our momentum is not to look at how fast we can go, but to do what we can so that others can know how far they can go. 

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