Last week I visited my children and their families. I also had three wonderful meals with former colleagues at Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. and with former employees from 1989 (John Cook) and 1991 (Joan Sorrano), now friends (Tim Carls, the CEO of HGA Architects was also there). Sharing a meal and good conversation is such an important part of our ritual of learning. I was particularly struck by the insightfulness and optimism expressed by my former colleagues at Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. I had posed to them questions about the future of the firm. We had a lively discussion that centered on the need for clarity in direction, collaboration and innovation. I left each of the sessions feeling optimistic about life-after-the-founders. By being open to others and learning from them, we avoid the risk of alienation. Isolationism only reinforces personal bias—and we are witnessing, at the local and national level. the largest public display of isolationism in my lifetime. Nearly everyday since January 20, 2107 it takes a great deal of fortitude to not descend into a deep funk.

I do draw inspiration and strength from others—but most importantly if I am reflective about what was discussed, I can change. I can absorb. I can adjust. Without these connections, I lessen my ability to be empathetic.

Besides reconnecting with family and friends, I have, like many others, been thinking deeply about the state of the world. While I could express my deep sadness about the current state of the world and the US, I am not going to wallow in despair. I am continuing to focus on how I can be a positive element in this world. Our only defense against a mutually assured destruction is love. Every second someone spends hating is another second added to the doomsday clock. Create. Be grateful. Be a force of beauty. Let people be who they are not what you want them to be so you can feel better about your own choice.

I like what Mr Harrsion states here:

We’ve been very alienated from our resources, but our time of grace is over. The idea that technology is able to buy us out of problems is an illusion. We are going to have to make vast changes in our consciousness and behavioral patterns, because if we don’t, we won’t be here.—Newton Harrison ( From the article, Conversational Drift by Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison published in “Art Journal” Summer of 1992 Volume 51 Issue Number 2)

This week has been spent getting readjusted to heat, routine and life in Mérida. This week saw temperatures as high as 106°F (41°C). While Lea and I are loathe to use our air conditioning (environmental, health and budget reasons), we have used it to sleep—with the setting on 26°C (79°F) and on the “dry” mode. Just reducing the humidity is enough for us. I also managed to get caught up on bookkeeping and personal correspondence—two things I have neglected while in Florence. One of the burdens Lea has experienced while I was in Florence is dealing with the on-going house repairs. The climate in Mérida, coupled with the sacristy of skilled and punctual craftspeople, conspires to make even the simplest task burdensome. Nothing is permanent or “fixed.” It is always in a state of deterioration. I am glad that I can now relieve her of some of this burden.

Now that I am “caught up” I can focus on painting and making use of all I have learned in the past six months. My first paintings will be to finish my “selfie with an iPhone” and begin my portrait of Olive.

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