Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

“Good-bye for now! Good-bye, Good-bye!” Janet Riehl’s so-long celebration with community art friends

I needed to have a going away party. And, so I did. Atop one of the loveliest, furthest-sweeping views of Clear Lake, at the Riviera Heights Club House, 30 friends--artists, writers, musicians, actors--met to celebrate the day, our art connections, good food (from the Mexican Restaurant T&T at the Lake), home-made music, singing, dancing, poetry, and pattern ball.

Just a sweet feeling in the air as I recited the poem by Rilke that I felt led me here...."Moving Ahead"...and the poem by B. H. Fairchild that I feel best explains by I'm leaving...and my own poem "The Wind of Change (Waiting)."

The over-riding feeling I have as I leave Lake County is the sense of completion and satisfaction. My focus over the nine years I lived here was promoting arts and culture in the county through the visual, performing, and literary arts...through readings, newsletters, art education programs, plays, art shows...so much work, so much work, it can hardly be cataloged. But over the nine years I've seen such growth. The county is growing not only in real estate and vineyards, but in the number of creative people flocking here to do their work and enrich the community.

I invited Barbara Christwitz to lead us in dancing, singing, and a game I like called "pattern ball" where order and chaos vie for attention.

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She led a blessing chant to bless me on my way...you find your next partner in the dance by backing into them.

Blessing Song

(*Eye contact helps to bless your various partners.)

May the Great Spirit grant you peace of mind,
May the peace be there in everything you find,
May the peace be there in all you leave behind.

Directions: The actions are first to begin with your partner back to back. During line one of the chant, turn and face your partner while you draw his or her aura.

Hold hands with your partner as you rotate clockwise, exchanging places during the second line of the chant.

Release your partner's hands while you slowly back in to your new partner. This takes place during the singing of line three.

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Marilyn Matson (visual artist and pianist, friend of 25 years since New Mexico days) with Daniel Holland (gardener, comedian, poet, and sweetheart for 9 years)

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Ron, Marilyn's friend (who told me about a great place for milkshakes in St. Louis) and Muoi Arnold, nurse and afficianado


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Wendy Weiss (acupuncturist to the Stars of Lake County!) with Mary Mattlage (singer, instrumentalist, and visual artist on the Eco Arts Trail outside Middletown).

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John and Katie Eels came with their therapy dogs, Nasa and Asti, John's dog helps with his hearing loss and alerts him of changes in the environment. We met John and Katie in a writing critique group when I first came to the county. John went on to become a premiere visual artist. We shared many wonderful writing sessions with them on their land and on the coast.

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Susan and Xian (Christian) Yeagean came. Susan has studied mime, sings, acts, and is a visual artist. Xian is the former executive director of the Lake County Arts Council, serves on the Board of Director for EcoArts with me, visual artist in his own right, insightful critic, and entertaining conversationalist.

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And, most of all...Daniel...who llikes to call himself my "lugger," has carried the water buckets for all my creative projects in Lake County. Thank you, Daniel, for your loyalty and care.

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4 Responses »

  1. Janet, what lovely gift to give to both your friends and yourself! A celebration helps to mark the land of your life, and the significance not only of the contributions your work and presence made to the county but also the significance of this cross-country move from the coast to the middle of the country, where you grew up and where our family is rooted. Ill be interested in where this next cycle in your life will take you. I know you'll focus on companioning with your father and developing your writing. May all go well for you on your journey.

  2. Dear Janet: So enjoyed your farewell party, the buffet, your words,
    poetry and friends. I found the piano too late for a jam session with
    you which I regret. Ron and I found our campsite and enjoyed swimming
    in the lake to cool off. Went to campfire talk by ranger which was very
    informative...Clear Lake is the oldest lake in North American and number
    one for fishing...many bass lurk in the waters. Wish we had had more
    time to talk but know how busy you were and packing up for your move in
    one week. All my best wishes Janet my dear friend. St. Louis sounds
    like a rewarding chapter in your life. Love and Peace, Marilyn

  3. John and I want to thank you for your lovely part and wish you well. I guess I said it all in the note with our gift, but youa re a special lady, and we will treasure our memories with you.

  4. Just kiss me, I'll turn into a frog. You can put me in your pocket and take me with you.

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