Clanking is the sound I hear as the ropes hit the masts on the sailboats tied to the dock nearby, the swift breeze rocking them to and fro. The raging sound of an outboard motor zipping from across the lake carries as if right in front of me as a neighbor goes out to pick up the local paper, as he does every Sunday morning. There is no delivery when you live in a boat-access-only camp.

Puffy clouds filled with dark droplets waiting to pour out float sluggishly across the cloudscape sky. In the distance a slight hint of rust on some leaves hails an early indicator of fall.

Summer, as of this weekend, is officially over. It’s as though it just started, not only because time flies when you’re having fun, it flies when you’re tied down and staying home. 

The Year That Never Was

I find it almost impossible to believe we’re this far into the year that never was. The year that disappeared behind a mask. The year that forced us into lockdown, only to discover things about ourselves we otherwise would never have known.

As we put a bow on summer and set it to drift off into the glorious sunset of fall, I continue to ponder our world, the effects of world events, and the pandemic.

Years ago my grandfather told me a story of when he was a child. His ailing, bed-bound grandfather was lying in bed, talking to my grandfather and his cousin Clifford. “Boys, you need to get on your bicycles and go down the road to Mrs. Tompkins’ house. I think you’ll find her hunched over in her rocking chair on the porch, holding her baby. You need to go fetch that baby and bring it back here, because Mrs. Tompkins is dead.”

Of course, the boys thought that was ridiculous because he had no way of knowing that, yet to humor him, they rode down the road, only to find Mrs. Tompkins holding the baby, sitting in the rocker, dead.

The Voice of God?

I’d ask my grandfather if his grandfather had special powers of some sort, and he always said, “No, he was just always listening to God.” 

As I’ve thought about this over my life, I too have experienced it on occasion. One morning I had a dream, woke up, and called Lee, the morning DJ at the radio station I worked for. I said, “Lee, congratulations on the baby girl.” He said, “Eric, you must be dreaming. The baby isn’t due for three more months, and we know it’s a boy.” Then I told him my vivid dream that it had been born early, and said it seemed very real. We both laughed. Then five minutes later he called me and said, “Eric, how did you know? My wife, Sandy, was trying to reach me, but I was on the phone with you. She just had a baby girl.”

My wife always says things like, “I’ve got a feeling something bad is about to happen,” and her track record of intuition is often spot on. 

Learning to Listen

One of the benefits of the Pandemic of 2020 is that our lives are quieter now. I’m not one to believe in fortune-tellers or soothsayers, and even the Bible warns against that. But I do believe that we all have very high levels of intuition, and that we tend not to listen to it because we stay too busy.

When we’re not on a whirlwind roller coaster, when we’re not commuting two hours a day or rushing off here and there, we can hear the voices in our heads. Maybe, as my grandfather said, it’s the voice of God.

Better Days Ahead

I tend to be a contrarian, and I’m not a worrier. During this moment of civil unrest, COVID, and political battlegrounds, I’m not feeling worried. In fact, I feel as though it will lead us to a new place, a better place where our lives are more balanced, where our world is more balanced, and where the things that have plagued our lives for generations will no longer be problems.

I think people are implementing change in their own lives, and as a result will expect, perhaps demand, change in all aspects of life. 

Are you ready?

Time to Not Be Busy

Am I crazy? Maybe.

I want to encourage you to take this special day, this holiday weekend, and take some time to not be busy. Turn off the media, turn off social media, surround yourself with quiet. In Japan they call it “forest bathing.” I’ve been doing it for months, and avoiding social media and the news.

By doing this, taking two-hour walks in the deep forest, I’ve found I’m in touch with the voices in my head. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe it’s more. 

I have no idea if these thoughts mean something new is really on the horizon, but that matters less. What matters more is that I’m experiencing quiet, and it is allowing me to think, to hear, to listen.

What about you?

No “Woo Woo” Here

I’m not a “woo woo” kind of guy, and if I had heard someone say what I just said, I’d be worried for them (and maybe ready to call the men in the white coats).

But I can say one thing for sure … We’ve all been too busy. Our lives have been crazy. We went from missing all the stimuli in the beginning to now wishing they don’t return, at least not at the level we once had them. COVID-19 has brought that blessing to the world, and I think the world is about to come together in a new way never seen in our lifetimes. This will begin a new era of change, which I think will change everything about what we accept, what we do, and how we do it. It’s almost as if we will flop 180 degrees from where we were.

Call me nuts. But stop, look, listen, and you may see things changing too. Though life has been good, it’s been too busy, too insane, and too overstimulated. Take a deep breath and pay close attention. And we may be ready to accept change, and things you would have never believed.

Eric Rhoads

P.S. The voices in my head told me that I needed to pivot and start online art conferences, and they have started to save my ailing business. The next one, Realism Live, is going to be huge. Already 1,200 are signed up, and there are two months to go. If you want to learn art or get better, take a peek.

Thoughts and prayers to those who suffered in the recent hurricanes and fires. What’s next? Locusts? But let’s stay positive. I’m there for you daily, 165 days in a row as of today. Catch me on Facebook Live and YouTube at noon Eastern daily. (Search Eric Rhoads or Streamline Art Video.)