Pre-parenthood, Dan and I would often spend evenings in a coffee shop or our local Panera, enjoying each other's company but working away on our own individual projects and responsibilities. In fact, the evening before I went into labor, we spent our night in just such a manner. I knew that I would miss those times once a baby made such outings impossible (or, at the very least, limited in time span). Those were the days when I accomplished so much more than I ever realized. I have a new appreciation for that time of my life, now that it has passed. I suppose that's how life works. At the risk of sounding cliche...you really don't know what you have until it's gone. Of course, I now have so much joy and wonder in my life that I couldn't have dreamed of before Owen arrived on the scene. The beauty of life just shifts constantly, in a nonstop ebb and flow.
In light of all this, I think it's rather appropriate that I've been inspired by snails as of late. I do often feel that I work at a snail's pace these days. Art projects take a lot longer to finish than they used to. And, in a way, this makes them more significant. I think that if a snail were to crawl an entire mile, it'd probably be a pretty big feat for that particular snail. I, as a human, however, view a mile-long walk as a rather insignificant, everyday sort of affair. It's all a matter of perspective. In my pre-baby days, creating a full illustration from start to finish was no big deal. I could do that easily in an evening. In fact, I might even have viewed it as "not productive enough" if I felt that I really had multiple illustrations in me. Now, however, I feel that I'm doing a pretty good job if my sketchbook accumulates an additional drawing or two throughout the course of a week. And I find that those sketches, regardless of the subject matter or perhaps even the quality, feel pretty personal and significant, since they represent my brief and cherished leaps into creativity.
So, perhaps I'm now more like a snail than I ever would have wanted to be four months ago. Life goes slowly. Accomplishments that may seem insignificant in the eyes of some matter quite a bit to me. And a mile, yes a mile, feels like a journey indeed.