What’s next?

Springtime always reminds me of what is new and what is now… and what is about to be birthed that hasn’t been before. The subject of what’s next seems to come up frequently in my conversations with friends and acquaintances. What’s next with my life.. what’s next with my career… what’s next with the relationships I am in … What are the next risks that I need to be taking… This past weekend I joined a group of youth who are graduating from high school. One of the things I remember about my senior year was that it seemed like everytime I turned around someone was aksing me, “what school will you be attending? What will you be studying?” or “Who will you be rooming with?” On and on came the questions and to be honest with you, I decided many of those things at the very last minute. I know that does not shock many of you who know me. I did not have a clue many times. There were those days when so much was spinning around me that I felt like I was just along for the ride. I had no idea where those decisions would lead me or if when I got there I would be prepared for what lay before me.

Early in my singing I met a business man on a flight from Dallas. He shared some of his life story with me on our short trip. During an interview for his first job out of college, he was asked if he had any experience taking pictures out of an airplane. “Of course,” he replied enthusiastically, “that will be no problem for me.” He did get the job and as he left the interview, he thought to himself, “now how would one take a picture our of a plane?” The first day on his job he was shocked to hear the pilot jokingly say as they started the plane, “at some point we’ll remove this cover on the bottom of the plane. You need to be sure you tie yourself onto the rope provided on the side and ya best hold on; things can get a little bumpy. I’ve never had a photographer fall out while taking pictures and don’t want you to be the first.” “You know, Celia,” he said as he looked into my eyes, “I might not have known what was next in my life, but I was always up for the challenge. I might not have been here today if I hadn’t taken that first unknown step.”

Years ago I read a book about Georgia O’Keefe.. her life as a painter and sculptor. She painted very differently from those painting at the time. She said she loved to paint the desert because most people over look the beauty of the desert. She eventually moved to Sante Fe, New Mexico. One of my favorite paintings of hers is titled “Sky Above the Clouds.” On a trip to Santa Fe to sing, I snuck away to visit the Georgia O’Keefe Art Museum. Words do it that painting justice. Over the years, I have seen her work in museums across the country but this was breathtaking. One of the great surprises was seeing the original artwork of Sky Above the Clouds. I was expecting a small painting and when I walked into the room where it was on display I was struck by its majesty. The painting is the size of the room… huge and filled … bold and beautiful. Painters of the nineteenth century had always painted clouds as if they were looking up at them… she painted them as she saw them from a plane. Crazy. Yet, again in her style she knew her next would not look like her now. I have a poster of one of her works and the bottom quote reads, “ I wasn’t going to spend my life doing what had already been done.”

As I buckle in to write my second book, I feel that way today. I’m not sure all that is ahead of me. I’m not sure if I’m going to be prepared, but really that has never stopped me before and it shouldn’t stop me or you now.

What’s next for us? Really, I have a new glimpses… a few ideas… one thing I’m sure of … it will be new and fresh… if I can help it… I’m just gonna tie myself on and hold on with all my might and see where I end up…. I invite you to do the same…

Happy Flying Friends, Celia

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