So, we spent our two days in Grand Marais and I’ve basically told you all about them in other posts THEN, on the third day we are on our way out of town and I look down this street and see a sign that says “art gallery.” I tell my husband to turn down that road because maybe that’s the place Laura was talking about. So, he does. We pull up in front of this old-ish gray-ish little tiny house with… get this… a MERMAID! on the welcome sign!
I turned to my husband and I said, “LOOK! This IS the place that Laura mentioned and LOOK! THERE’S A MERMAID!” And my husband smiled and, with feigned silly-schoolgirl excitement said, “well, you’ve just GOTTA go in!” So Lucy (my 7-year-old-daughter) and I went in. And… get this… there were MORE MERMAIDS!
Some of Ms. Amthor’s paintings reminded me very much of Frida Kahlo’s work. I consider Frida Kahlo one of my cultural grandmothers – and… without a doubt, a deep soul mermaid.
One of Ms. Amthor’s prints contained text that so closely resembled some of my own thoughts on the Mermaid Fitness site that it was weird. The text is a declaration of what it is to be a mermaid, why mermaids are important. Because... that’s just how it is.
Ms. Amthor and I talked only for a few minutes but in that brief time we realized that we had travelled to and lived in many of the same places. She used to own a store on Martha’s Vineyard and though I’ve never actually been there, I’ve spent a great deal of time on the East Coast and in New England. She sometimes spends her winters in northern New Mexico. I lived in southern New Mexico for a couple of years. And yet, here we were, in Grand Marais, Michigan meeting, talking. Typical of us mermaids, it seems we are both wanderers, seekers, at-least-slightly nomadic. This is good for us, for our art, for our souls.
It was interesting, this meeting, this discovery… because… just as I was enamored with Michigan and with my commitment to an outdoor life of physicality, of fitness… I stumbled over The Fishnet House and was reminded of this creative, hungry creature inside of me. This creature needs to write, to make things, to be surrounded with the kind of beauty that Ms. Amthor, as a fellow mermaid, understands and creates.
In other words, this is what the Universe said to me in this moment: Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater, JodiAnn! It’s all well and good to become who you will be next but do not forget the value of who you were, who you are. Leave behind the couch potato, the drinker, the smoker, the compulsive overeater, the pity-party-woe-is-me sad sack you once had a tendency to be BUT, for god’s sake: KEEP THE POETRY. Keep the love for travel. Keep the hunger for experience. Keep the curiosity and the passion and the soul. Don’t forget your mermaid, JodiAnn. Do not EVER forget your mermaid.
Ms. Amthor said she had a t-shirt design that was out of stock at that time. The t-shirt reads: “Never Sacrifice Your Tail.” Oh, for sure. Don’t think I won’t be getting that one for my birthday or Christmas!
I walked out of The Fishnet House (with my little bag of purchased goodies, of course) with my whole self singing a siren song. Because when we figure out who we are, where we belong and who we belong to, our song is THAT powerful, THAT enticing to others, THAT piercing to the mostly-sleepwalking world around us.
I am grateful to Laura for giving me a heads up about the Fishnet House because without it, I never would have gotten to understand all of this. And I am so so grateful to Kim Amthor for being who she is and to making what her soul calls her to make.
“Never Sacrifice Your Tail” Teamies!
& always, Vaya Con Dios