A few years ago, we decided to take a sabbatical in Genoa, Italy. The truth is, we fell in love with the city and its inhabitants so much so that my daughter asked us, I should say begged us, to stay four more years so she could graduate from high school in Italy.
When we arrived I was in awe of the weather and the change of seasons. I forgot how different it felt from the year-round sunshine and, blue skies of Southern California. I was fascinated with the energy of the storms coming in and out of the port. The rain, the heavy rain, the rain that soaked us in 3 minutes and would turn the streets into small rivulets. The wind, so powerful, so furious that it would smash any umbrella and send our rain hats in the air. And the clouds, endlessly stretching themselves, reforming rapidly alone or with others.
Could it be possible to make an artist’s book that would turn and dwindle and stretch like the clouds?
What I didn’t know is that two months before moving back, my life would be altered forever. The
day I discovered that my marriage was over I felt like an earthquake had hit me. I don’t remember what happened the next 3 days but the fourth day, while the clouds were swirling in preparation for a major storm, it became clear that my life was following their choreography. Faced with so much uncertainty, I knew I needed to find the energy to re-invent myself and re-build my life.
This tumultuous time had to be part of the book, as the clouds became a metaphor for my life.
So how could I incorporate the energy of the clouds to this systemic life change? I had to invent a new binding. I divided my book into 12 months. Each month has a photo of clouds corresponding to the season. As I was trying to recover my balance, I started reading my horoscope for entertainment and encouragement. I picked one sentence for each month that would express my challenge or mindset. For the month of January: This year will be the realization that though perfection is never fully attainable, learning to coexist gracefully with imperfection can feel nearly perfect. And it ends with the month of December: It doesn’t make sense. It can’t make sense. There is nothing sensible on this crazy planet.
Life does feel crazy at times but like the clouds, we adapt and move through the storm.