I Am a Dirty Woman

It has come to my attention that I am a dirty woman.
I am an artist.
I live on an Island. Not that living on an island constitutes dirty living, but there are more opportunities for unkempt activities.
I cook.
I garden and I hang around with horses and hounds.

I start my day in the studio. I have noticed that making art is messy. Painting from my heart takes courage and abandon. Being tidy will only hold me back. Be creative; throw paint around and don’t worry about the drips. Paint goes on canvas as visceral experience. Smell it and feel the smoothness of it. Pencil, pastel, oil stick and tube. Powder, mica, water, oil, flake. Wipe, rub, smear, squish, push, dab, and stroke. Drip. Wipe. Rub. Turn. Start over. Filthy work if done right. Thin watery passages building to thick pronounced texture. Painting session ends with paint on hands and clothes.

After lunch I find myself immersed wrist deep in dark beautiful moldery soil. I pull a tender baby plant from its pot, gently caressing its roots and taking in the rich aroma. I make a pocket in beautiful black loam alongside other fledglings in the raised bed, imagining all the while how this new plant will send out new shoots almost immediately. Bursting with fertility, robust, rich, fragrant. Mmmmm. Tender bright green curled up leaves, not yet unfurled. I will check back tomorrow to see if the leaves have opened. Touch them and feel the life force within. Mumble sweet words of love. Water, wait in wonder and awe.

Three pm. Head for Plum Pond. Horses are dirty. A good dirty. Not really dirty at all. I just get dirty when I hang out with them. The smell of horse brings me right back to my ten-year-old self. Brimming with excitement at the prospect of galloping through the woods. All cares and worries buried in another world. Thrill like no other. Better than Christmas. There is no other place I would rather be. Memories of long ago are accessed immediately and vividly at the first whiff of my aromatic horse.

I get home by 6pm and start dinner. Cooking is visceral and alchemical. If I were to follow recipes and use spoons and whisks and implements at all times, it may not be a dirty job. The feel of the dough squishing between my fingers informs me. I want a relationship with each ingredient. Harvesting and fondling each tender lettuce leaf as it goes into the salad. I feel the romance of the olive oil mingling with the balsamic. The entire making can be a love affaire. It will be a meal that satisfies.

Two smelly dirty Irish Wolfhounds are my best friends. Muddy paws, bad breath and burrs. I roll around on the floor with the beasts after dinner. Scratching and fussing over them until I am covered in dog hair, bits of grass and weeds.

It is the end of the day.
My clothes are covered in dog, I smell of horse, there is dirt under my fingernails and straw in my hair. Daughter says my feet look like cave man feet- dirty. I have paint smudged on my forehead.

I am a dirty woman.
I do dirty things.