The amount of reasons not to do it had to be plentiful. It could be too dry. Too wet. Too hot. Not warm enough. The tractor could fail. His body could fail. Grain prices out of his control. And yet, I never heard my grandfather complain.
Sitting on his overalled lap at the card table he only spoke of the current hand he was playing. He and the chosen three adults laughed, accused, pointed, shook heads in knowing victory, slapped losing cards on the table, and kept playing. Oh how they loved to play cards after a full day of farming. And when the sun came up the next day, he walked past the card table, pocketed his pipe, and went to the field that was given, worked it accordingly, without complaint. Each year turning it from brown, to green, to gold.
Yesterday at our family gathering, (a multi-national event), I was speaking with my German niece in English in the French countryside. “I don’t have enough time,” she said. “And I’m sort of afraid,” she continued. “And I could fail…” She offered up reason after reason not to paint, even though she claimed she wanted to. She was looking so far ahead. Beyond canvases painted, sold and shipped. A business created, and what if that failed, all before a brush or tube was even purchased. “You could just paint a picture,” I said. I could hear my grandfather’s voice deep from within.
He never played next year’s hand. He farmed in the day that was given. What a lesson to be learned. I remind myself constantly. Because I, at times, can get way too far ahead of myself as well… with all the what ifs of tomorrow. But really, we only have this day. And I choose to make something of it.
It occurs to me as I’m typing this, the answer to one of her questions. I told her I was working in my favorite palette. Stroke by stroke in these moody, earthly colors. She asked why I loved it. It’s so clear to me today, it’s the hand I was given.
Thank you, Grandpa.