• The cats that landed on my doorstep about a year ago have brought me into an infestation: fleas! For awhile the shop has looked like a bad film with everything blurry and moving. The cats themselves have become flea-bitten. What a scene. Last night Eric, my grandson, and I bombed the thing. We took the cats, gave them some flea meds, and put them into carriers to be located in the garden shop which habituates the end of the shop building. Then we bombed the place—twice. This morning I got over there about 3:30 and opened everything up. Again at 7:00 I went back, cleaned out the cat dishes and litter pans, and set everything back up. We may have to repeat the process, but so far so good, although the cats were scratching a bit.

Thankfully, I have a place to work on my current project. I am sanding off pieces in order to get ready to finish. Because all the pieces in this project have to be stained, sanding, staining and putting one coat of urethane on comes before assembly. It does make things slower, but not completely stopped.

It has occurred to me that I am not the only one facing infestation. Indeed, it seems to be a fact of life for all of us. The climate is infested: smoke, heat, drought, flooding, and storms. Our communities are infested with drugs, violence and, looked at from the vantage point of an older person, a kind of rootlessness. The old markers seem to be ignored. Our political culture is infested with whoever is opposing our point of view. People who seem to us to be crazy are running things or threatening to take over. Flea bomb is not even going to begin to remove these infestations.

As a craftperson, I struggle to expand my life and support it with my skills. The expansion of my art is the expansion and extension of my life. Can life, my life, overcome these challenges? Every day I run back to life: the life my wife offers me with her love, the life my skills are able to form after years of work and discipline, the life my mind and heart can see through the cracks (yes, they are infested too) in the disappointment, depression and fear that envelop me at times.

Why do I keep on trying? Life will not let me go even during this time of infestation.