Canoeing in the Slough of Despair

pen and inkBeing up the proverbial creek without a paddle is just too common a state for most of us mortals. What’s remarkable is not the frequency of its occurrence, though, but how often we paddled up there our very own selves and even quite willfully pitched out the paddle on arrival. Having gotten ourselves into the trouble in the first place doesn’t make it any more tolerable, let alone palatable, but if we learn to pay better attention, there might be a hope of return from the brink after all.

Retracing my footsteps to find where I went astray, maybe even to undo some of the damage, isn’t always possible even when the place where I’ve gotten myself in dire straits isn’t literally a trackless stream. But if I keep my eyes open and engage my wits and will, I might at least remember the way next time I start to veer in that direction, and learn not to step in that same river twice.

I’m fallible enough, but perhaps not irremediably so. Still, I’ll always welcome a good rescue. Throw me that life jacket, won’t you?

13 thoughts on “Canoeing in the Slough of Despair

  1. Makes me think of how my intentions are always good but somehow get misconstrued somewhere along the line, so I am learning it is best to say nothing. At least that way I stay out of trouble. 😀
    Have a beautiful and happy weekend dear Kath.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    • Oh, Mandy dearest, I have long since discovered a goodly handful of ways in which to get myself into trouble even *without* uttering a syllable, but then I do have Special Skills! 😉 Thankfully, I’m surrounded by wonderfully forgiving folk. 😀

  2. Real life lessons do teach us to find our way safely out of troubled waters, but when we are deeply into trouble there seems to be no way out sometimes. Experience is the best teacher I think. Take care Kathryn and God bless.

  3. No mistakes only lessons is what I was told years ago, but only if we learn from them! How simple does this sound?! But yet…! 😊

    Love the drawing. Im at stick man level, and there isn’t much hope for me learning now unless I can train my left hand! My right one has well and truly taken early retirement. I do, however, play around merging colours with chalk or oil pastels. My aim is to create a sunset – we shall see!!

    • A sunset’s the perfect subject for an Impressionist approach, something chalk and pastels lend themselves to wonderfully. I’ll bet you’d find it quite therapeutic to play with what your *left* hand is able to do in these media. I spent some time in grad school experimenting with changing hands, and even with drawing with both hands simultaneously, doing faces/masks and other fairly symmetrical things that could be made by using mirroring motions so that I didn’t have too much cognitive dissonance in the process. It was reassuring to see that while I’m highly right-dominant, both the left-handed and simultaneous drawings worked fairly nicely and were enjoyable to do.

      As for stick figures, there’s nothing wrong with them or any other relatively uncomplicated mode of visual communication. The primary goal for me is always pleasure in the process; if the end product (or, as you can see in a number of my posts, any intermediate state) turns out to be of enough interest to tell a story worth sharing, that’s a bonus. Today’s sketch is far from beautiful or sophisticated in any technical sense, but I thought the character sufficiently effective in that storytelling aspect to be of use. I’m not either so shy or so proud that I won’t let people see my artistic imperfections, which are many, as long as I think there might be some small value in the sharing. Your kind and thoughtful comments give instant validation to my hope for such value! Thanks. 😀

      • Thanks Kathryn. You have actually given me lots of encouragement in your lovely reply. I need to keep trying new things because its so much easier to give up and I simply refuse to do that! 😊 X

  4. Oh dear, I know that creek so very well! Sometimes it seems to be much more familiar territory than I would choose. We’ll happily send you a preserver. 😉

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