Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange October

When I'm not swimming in a sea of orange jackets at the ING New York City Marathon, it's the abundant splendor of the autumn trees.

When I agreed to continue working the ING New York City Marathon after moving to Charlottesville, I had this fantasy that I would live an almost normal life at home, then parachute into New York at the last second to save the day. The opposite has been the case: for the last few weeks my focus has been much more on New York and my very demanding employment.

But Life continues unimpressed with workaday dramas and concerns. In fact my art career is undergoing a major growth spurt at the moment and I simply cannot lay it aside for a few weeks. Consequently, the past three days—my last shore leave before ten straight 10+ hour efforts at the Marathon—have been just this side of insanity. These days it feels like I air-drop back into my life to take care of things in a major hustle.

If you’re curious, here’s a bit of my agenda during this Virginia trip:

Arrive home from New York at 1:00 am. Sleep a few hours.
Laundry, breakfast, take Sebastian to school
Go running through the stunning golden forest on Carter’s Mountain
Conference call for work
One hour of photography (Monticello Road) while autumn splendor lasts
Quick meeting at The Bridge PAI to discuss Monticello Road
Meeting at McGuffey to discuss First Night Virginia
Work emails
Clean studio, water dying plants, etc
Pick Sebastian up from school, playground for an hour
Conference call
Make dinner for family, Sebastian to bed. Early to bed myself

Up early to take a sculpture up to my gallery in DC (Aaron Gallery). Fortunately the drive was very smooth and in this season, it is incredibly beautiful.
But first about an hour and a half of Road Runners work
Book it back to Charlottesville in time to winterize my garden ahead of upcoming frost
Pick up Sebastian from School
Stand in half-mile line to see Obama. Thankfully Sebastian’s grandma got a good spot for us.
Ham sandwich dinner then as early to bed as possible.

Up REALLY early for sunrise time trial. Ran adequately well but with moderate expectations due to insufficient sleep and second-rate nutrition
Woke Sebastian, fed him and took him to the Farmers Market
Office hours at McGuffey while Sebastian played cars, boats, and pirates on the playmat we made. I fell asleep at my desk
Home for lunch, more laundry, various household chores
Pack for extended return to New York
Work emails
Finally that nap I apparently needed
Playground with Sebastian and a tightly contested basketball match
Make dinner for family and our visiting Aunt Virginia
Date with Meredith: premiere of Danger. Zombies. Run. Q&A and afterparty
Left early to get decent sleep

Up early for 7:00 am train
Breakfast in dining car followed by blogging
Multiple meetings await this afternoon in New York

It’s enough to make my own head spin but you know what? It is invigorating and it feels good to be busy. Somehow, I’m managing to do the bread-and-butter part of my job, grow my art career (meetings with 3 separate galleries in 5 days—one more next week), make some art (lots of photos), keep up with my running (not improving but maintaining for this spell), do some fun things, and hang out with my family as much as possible.

That last part is the rub: during the rest of the year I’m very spoiled in that I have nearly unlimited time with Sebastian but the toll of being away from Sebastian so much is becoming very apparent to me. I don’t get to take him trick-or-treating and I never have. This weekend he stayed very, very close to me and has come into our bed every night, which is uncharacteristic. He was extremely attentive and hopped to my every request and instruction. He has always been a very easy child and a pleasure to be around but you can tell he’s insecure about losing me and that bothers me.

Fortunately, this craziness only lasts for a few weeks and I am in the home stretch. The rest of the year, I enjoy unusually much time with Sebastian and my family, am really present in the neighborhood, and a nearly unfettered studio practice.

This period is exhausting. And exhilarating. I enjoy it but I will be glad when it’s over.

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