Dreaming

No Title, color pencil on paper, 2018

I had a dream last night. That’s not so strange, I guess, the strange part is that I remembered it when I woke up.

For years and years I would write down my dreams when I woke up in the morning. They were long, vivid stories; weird settings and events and I remembered them clearly. Writing them down allowed me to revisit them later on and actually remember them again.

For the past 4 years or so, I hardly ever remember any of my dreams…I guess the stress of life has gotten the best of me and my brain doesn’t get the relaxation it needs to file these dreams as something important…?

Last night I dreamed I was someone in a small town and I was being hunted for some reason. I was trying to get into a hospital to get some sort of treatment. Somehow I managed to get in and a nurse helped me out. I was able to sneak back out again, security guards everywhere looking for me. As I got back to town I was greeted by 4 or 5 big dudes. I thought they were going to arrest me but it turned out they were marines that were there to protect me. They formed a wall around me with their bodies and as I realized I was safe, I almost collapsed from relief…

Today is my birthday and I feel anything but safe or saved; my wife and I have been given notice to move out and we are trying to find a place we can afford, which is hard since we only have one income since my wife has not been able to work since 2012…We have moved 8 times in the past 9 years and we were really hoping that we would be able to stay here for years to come, but our landlord’s husband died and now her son is moving to town to help her out…and we’re in the way…so out we go…

The drawing above is an illustration I did for a publication. It was fun and challenging to do something for someone else and it forced me to think differently and approach the subject from a different angle…

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Komorebi

Color pencil on paper, 2018. 16″X 20″
Prints available, signed and numbered.$100 + shipping.

Komorebi is Japanese  for “The interplay between light and leaves when sunlight shines through trees .”

The fact that there is a word describing this is just so beautiful, isn’t it?

My wife and I hike a lot on the trails around Santa Fe. We have two dogs and it is such a joy to watch them on the trail; their happiness so profound and basic, radiating all around them, warming our hearts every time. Pure Joy!

This drawing is from a photo I took when we were hiking Black Canyon trail. Connected to a campground, this trail is not very frequented in the winter, as the campground closes down at the end of September. Most of the time we are all alone and we enjoy these hikes tremendously. Anyone hiking with dogs will know what I mean.

Nature heals and soothes the soul, I truly believe that. Before moving up to Santa Fe, I never realized just how much I love the mountains and the forests. I was always an ocean guy, I always thought that was my thing, but my wife and I both have come to love and appreciate the nature here more than we ever thought we would.

Yesterday we tried out a trail we’ve never hiked before – Bear Canyon, right behind the Audubon Center here in Santa Fe. A trail that is only maintained part of the way. We hiked as far as we could get before losing site of the trail marks. As it was getting dark, we turned around. There’s been a lot of predator activity lately around here and we didn’t want to linger when it got dark.

About 5 minutes from the car, my wife slipped. I watched her go down, it was a slow fall and it didn’t look bad, but she automatically put her hand behind her and immediately cried out and I knew it was bad.

My wife does not complain lightly over pain, she once went three days with a deep vein thrombosis before going to the hospital…and when she screamed and cried and said it was broken, I knew for sure it was bad. We limped back to the car, my wife almost passing out from the pain. Got to the hospital and got it confirmed; her wrist was indeed broken and she now has weeks, if not month’s of recovery ahead of her…

Trails are beautiful. Sometimes they’re dangerous too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Is a Curious Thing.

“Reflections On Abiquiu Lake pt 2” Color pencil on paper, 2018.

Time.

Sometimes it is a memory, sometimes it’s a smell, sometimes it’s the loss of a memory, the loss of a name or how to get to somewhere. Mostly we don’t notice time until we stop and allow ourselves to remember, to feel the absence of something or that weird feeling in your chest of missing someone you haven’t seen in a long time.

Time as a measurement of time itself doesn’t really do the trick, does it? It has to be time, in relation to something, or someone.

It feels like yesterday my wife and I were sitting in the car, on our way home one evening, it was still late summer and she said she wanted to go to Abiquiu lake again before summer’s end. I said “sure, there’s still time to go!”

And then there wasn’t.

Fall swept in quickly and summer ended and so did the opportunity to swim in Abiquiu lake. Until next summer. Further down the track of time that we have been given.

I was sitting in the backyard just now, letting the dogs out to potty. I sat by our small IKEA patio set; two folding chairs and a half moon shaped table. I looked up at the apricot tree and the bare branches, but all I saw was me on a ladder picking apricots under a sun lit sky. That was just a few months ago, but it feels longer, and yet so close.

I remember the day we boarded the plane that would take us from Copenhagen to Atlanta and from there to Austin TX. As we were boarding we were all cramped in together waiting to check in and I remember vividly thinking “if something happens, these are the people I will die with…”

I didn’t really think about it, it was just one of those thoughts that pop into your head for a second and then it’s gone.

That was on July 27, 2009, but it feels like yesterday.

What’s left of time are little snippets, moments of life that passed you by at some point, and a lot of those snippets seem so insignificant sometimes; the strangest images of moments that seem like they weren’t that important.

But maybe they were?

If I took all those little snippets that I can remember and put them together in a film, that would be the film of my life, my time here on earth. One by one they may not make much sense, but all together they might paint a pretty telling image of my life.

It would be interesting to see.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wide Open Spaces

abiquiu

“Reflections On Abiquiu Lake”

Color pencil on paper, 13X19″, 2018

$550

 

I work at Whole Foods in Santa Fe, it is a workplace bustling with movement, people, sounds, music…there’s not a quiet moment. I kind of like that, I like interacting with people, I like the casual conversations that take place.

Sometimes those casual conversations stay in my thoughts for days. Like the guy I met who had traveled around Sweden right after 9/11. Of Mexican/middle eastern descent, he raised a lot of eyebrows when hitchhiking around Dalarna in the north parts of Sweden. He said people were friendly but also kind of suspicious and a little scared of him. There’s a Mora in Sweden and a Mora here in New Mexico, a funny coincidence.

Yesterday I met another man from Denmark. The Danish accent is pretty easy to spot and as he was asking about the coffee set up, I could hear clearly where he was from. We started talking and I asked how he ended up around here. He said he had come here 29 years ago for work and he never went back. Now he lives outside Alamosa in Colorado by the great sand dunes. He said he loves the wide open spaces, the vastness of the landscape. There’s nothing like it in Denmark. Not in Sweden either for that matter. He said he hates the politics, but loves the people and touching on the subject of politics in Europe – Sweden and Denmark both – he got quiet and I could tell he was trying to find the right words, but he just shook his head and said “there are so many bad things going on…”

A few weeks ago, I had a lady asking about our bread selection and I recommended our Prussian Rye loaf, a dark, dense, rich bread that reminds me about the breads my dad would bake when I was a kid, growing up in Sweden. She said: “I’m from Sweden!” “Oh, so you speak Swedish then?” I asked

“Of course!” she said and then told me in Swedish that she was from Uppsala and that her name was Birgitta. She had lived here for more than 20 years and she had no plans of moving back.

Then there’s the young mother who comes in with her two kids. She speaks a little bit of Swedish as she lived there for a year or two as a student and every time we meet, I teach her boy a Swedish word.

Of all the emigrants from Sweden/Denmark, the one thing they all say is that they don’t want to go back. They all hate the political situation here in the US, but there is something about this land that grabs a hold of you, something about the wide open spaces, the people…the freedom…I say freedom reluctantly, because there is little freedom when it comes to the politics, healthcare and so on, but there is a lot of freedom in the landscapes, the wide open spaces, the mountains and valleys, the deserts, the small towns and the big cities like New York and Houston and I love it. There are so many things I have yet to see and one of these days I hope to get my hands on a camper van and drive all around these united states of mixed emotions and see it all up close.

One day I will travel the wide open spaces.

For now, however, I have to settle for little snippets of stories from the strangers I meet at Whole Foods here in little Santa Fe.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dreamless Sleep

 

Kaunes

“At Kaune’s” Color pencil on paper, 2018.

For years and years I used to write down my dreams. I had a diary where about half of the entries were long, vivid descriptions of whatever adventures I had experienced during the night. Writing the dreams down was a great way to start the day and reading them afterwards, I could clearly remember every detail.

I miss those days.

These days I sleep a dreamless sleep. I can’t remember the last time I had a dream. I’m sure I have them all the time, but my brain isn’t able to remember and process them. I know that stress has moved into my head, my heart and every part of my mind and body. I try not to let it, but I can’t help it. Dreams are pushed out and replaced with worry about all the usual; bills, rent, medications etc etc.

This morning I woke up and I remembered a picture that might have been a part of a dream that has disappeared from my memory;

I’m looking out the window of my car as I’m standing at a red light, a specific red light at the intersection of Cerillos and St. Francis here in Santa Fe. As I’m waiting for the light to change, I look over to my left. There’s a man standing on the median, holding a sign. At first I don’t pay attention, but there’s something about him that makes me look twice, and when I do, I realize that the man standing there is me and that other version of me is holding a sign that says:

“My wife is chronically ill

and though I have an iron will,

I can’t pay all my bills…”

 

How’s that for an image?

That’s how my brain works these days, all consumed by the constant struggle to make ends meet.

And then I wake up and go to work and I work hard five days a week but no matter how hard I work, the money just isn’t enough. No matter how hard I try to get my art “out there”, I can’t seem to get any feedback…

And so the days go by and as the month approaches it’s ending, my stress builds up, as I know I will not be able to pay my rent. Or my bills. Or my wife’s medications and supplements that she needs so badly to be able to function. And I wonder when we will get out of this darkness we are in?

I suppose I am still to find my right place in the world, a place where all my abilities can be used. I don’t know what they are, but I know I am more than this. I know I am more than a figure holding a sign at some intersection.

I’m just not sure what.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Search of a Better Life

IMG_1992

“In Search of a Better Life”, Color pencil on paper, 2018.

I have been a searcher all my life. I didn’t choose to be this way, it’s just who I became. Shaped, I guess, by the circumstances of life, I have become somebody who is always looking for something. What it is, I may not even know. Happiness, justice, peace…I’m not really sure.

Over the years, especially since I’ve been living in the US, I have met a lot of people who put their faith in God. Whenever life gets too hard or overwhelming, they just turn to God and somehow unload all their worries on him/her. How I wish I could do that; how I wish that I could just hand over all my worries to some strange power/force/philosophy and breath a little easier. But I just cannot.

I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in religion, especially the kind that I have seen the most of here – the politicized one. The religion where God chooses some people over others, where God picks this group as the good guys and that group as the villains.

I just don’t believe it.

Would be nice though.

I’ve been searching high and low, like some fictional character from some great novel; a wanderer, always travelling by foot to solve the great mystery of life.

When I was about to start 7th grade, I moved from my father to my mother. She had asked me if I wanted to come live with her and her husband and I said “yes”. I was curious of what that might be like. I was scared too, because it meant moving halfway across the country, starting a whole new school and leave everything I knew behind. But I went anyway. Only a year or two later, my mother fell ill and was taken to, in lack of a better word; a mental institution. This was the start of a 10 year period where she would go in and out of institutions and hospitals, on and off of medications and therapy until she finally died from an overdose of pills in the early summer of 1998.

Searching for answers and some kind of meaning, I started writing songs about her and it helped me sort out some of the questions and guilt I had. I searched for answers, traveled wide and far in my songs, went to some really dark places and some pretty happy ones too, in doing so.

I devoted my life to my music and my band and I kind of forgot everything else. When the band fell apart, so did my world. They were kind of one and the same and when I lost one, the other followed and I fell into a really dark place, the darkest place I have ever been. My wife, then girlfriend, and I came very close to breaking up, or killing each other.

There was no light.

No friends, nobody around to talk to.

Losing my band and the world of music is the hardest thing I have been through, emotionally.

Out of the darkness came a tiny, flickering light. A small flame, glowing on the horizon and though it seemed like a totally crazy and impossible thing, we decided to move to America.

My wife, a US citizen, stuck in Sweden for 20 years since moving back from Texas as a kid when her parents divorced, went through hell and high water to get me my visa to the US. She was advised to hire a lawyer, but that was a cost way out of our range, so she did everything on her own. In late spring 2009, I had passed my interview at the US embassy in Stockholm and my green card was on its way.

We were going. It was our way out of a darkness too thick to penetrate and burst out of. We put everything on one horse and off we went.

Here we are now, nine years later and things haven’t exactly turned out the way we imagined, whatever it was that we imagined, I don’t know.

I do know I didn’t imagine this.

Getting off to a rough start with finding; first a car we could afford, then a job and a place to live, eventually we had managed all those things and we had a year or two where it felt like things were going to be OK. It was rough and money was tight, but it was OK. Then my wife lost her job, got sick and could not work. Our cat died, my wife’s father died from cancer, we moved into a wonderful apartment, only to be forced out a year later after a crazy, abusive, alcoholic woman from hell moved into the apartment above us and made our life a nightmare. We moved again, into a nice, clean, well kept apartment complex and we like it there, but as Austin was growing and getting more and more crowded and expensive, we decided to move to a smaller city, close to nature so my wife could focus on trying to get better.Or so we hoped.

We came to Santa Fe. I started working at Whole Foods, but only a few months later, that store closed. I transferred to another store, but so did most other team members and any openings for supervisors etc were closed. I took a drastic pay cut leaving my old job as assistant manager. Choosing Whole Foods as a place to work was very deliberate, there are so many possibilities of advancement within the company and I wanted to make WF my career. Eventually, I was promoted to supervisor. A first step, I thought, in the right direction towards a better life, financially. Little did I know that the 2$ raise meant we would lose our food stamps. The loss of the food stamps overshadows the modest increase in pay and we’re actually struggling more now than before.

In the past year, several of my wife’s medications have gone up in price, or are not covered at all anymore and she is right now in the middle of a serious relapse. We’re more broke than we have ever been before. Today is September 4th and I am missing about $800 to be able to pay my rent. And then it’s all the other bills…our internet and our phones will be turned off in a couple of days and I have no idea how to come up with all the money needed.

We have applied over and over for financial assistance, but apparently I make too much money to be able to get any help what so ever.  My wife has been denied disability, so that’s not an option either.

So I am reduced to being a beggar. I have been asking for money online for years and it is a strange feeling, being almost 44 and not be able to take care of yourself. This constant begging for money has also pushed away most of the people I knew. Very few people are left in our lives.

There was a short period there, in Austin, where it seemed like we were making it. That little window came and left and right now we are back in a very dark place.

The constant, relentless stress of not having enough money for bills, medications, rent, clothes (when did I buy anything new for myself last?) and so on, is wearing us down and the fear of losing our home is like a big dark shadow, like Sauron in the Lord of the Rings, a shadow about to take a physical form.

I dare not think about what it would mean if we lost our home. My wife is not going to get any better if all we ever have is this constant, relentless stress…

I have been searching for something my whole life. The things I have been searching for has changed over the years. It has been different things, different goals, dreams and ideas. Right now I am searching for a quiet, protected harbor where my wife and I can take care of each other without having to worry so much about everything all the time.

Some peace of mind.

Just a place to call home.

Here’s a link to our fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/2bbs9xfq

Posted in Chronic Illness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove

“Lonesome Dove” color pencil on paper, 2018

 

The title fits the image. The lonesome dove, seemingly alone, abandoned and ready to give up where it sits, melting into the pole itself, becoming a wooden sculpture instead of a live bird, free to fly away at any point.

Lonesome Dove also happens to be the title of one of my favorite books ,by Larry McMurtry. I stumbled across this book when someone had left it in the kitchen at my old job, along with other giveaways. I picked this one up as I was eating my lunch and loved it from the first sentence.

But more than anything, this drawing reminds me of my wife. I think of her as a lonesome dove, a beautiful bird who is yet to truly spread her wings and fly and become the magnificent being I know she has inside her.

Riddled by sickness throughout her life, all her plans have come to a stop at some point. Year after year of health problems followed by other health problems; two cancers, a bicycle accident leading to a blood clot, which ruined her dance career…and now Lyme, Babesia, Bartonella, Brucellosis…and more recently an added diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure.

All combined an incredibly complicated cocktail of crap to deal with, and an expensive one. For over three years now, she has been continuously on a medical treatment and our days are very much determined by her current status and the medication schedule. The financial worries are eating us both up as we struggle to make ends meet (which we are not). The physical stress on her body, continuously being put through all this stress…but the one thing that is the hardest to deal with is the fact that we have become so isolated. Few people who hasn’t gone through this, truly understand the struggle. Over the past couple of years, we have found ourselves more and more isolated, misunderstood and almost outcast. Even close family doesn’t seem to understand, or want to really, fully understand.

We talk about this often and as much as I would like to change it, you can’t force people to want to hang out with you, right?

I know my wife is hanging on by the skin of her teeth and it breaks my heart. This is part of a text she sent me today:

“…I’m experiencing a free fall and it’s getting harder and harder for me to suppress. The loneliness is eating me up from inside. It feels like the loneliness is a cancer that is eating me up inside. I want to have friends and family with me . I have nobody. I shake it off, but it crawls back on me. I’m so broken that I don’t know how anyone will ever be able to put me back together again, David. I hurt so much in my body, my heart and my soul because of people’s repulsion and distance to me, that it feels like I can’t breath. Heartbreakingly lonely. Crushed. Broken…”

I have never suffered from loneliness, I quite like y own company. But then again; I’ve never gone through the kind of battle that she is. I have a good relationship with my father, I have a job to go to where I interact with people all day.

She doesn’t. She is alone from when I leave, until I come back. Nobody calls, nobody knocks on the door. Nobody.

I can only imagine what the constant loneliness, paired with the constant financial stress does to a body that is trying to heal. Nothing good will come out of it.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again; you say “cancer” and everybody comes running, everybody understands that cancer is serious. All these things Sara is treating, or trying to treat (we can’t afford half the things we should be doing) are just as serious and left untreated, it will kill her. It might take time, but eventually it would kill her.

So, there’s the dilemma.  Not only is she sick, not only is she struggling to treat all these things, but on top of it she (and I) have to deal with extreme financial stress, loneliness and the ignorance of people not wanting to really, fully understand the struggle. And the more you get ignored, the louder you scream and the louder you scream, the more you are seen as a complete nut job.

And who wants to be with a nut job?

I made this drawing of the lonesome dove and I immediately felt like it was, in a sense, a drawing of my wife; her lonely journey through this life. Close to everything and yet so sealed off from ever truly getting close to anything.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments