Ellen Berman

How bad could it get? The losses began to stack up until the pile was so high that we couldn't even see the sky any more. Ecological and human havoc at our southern border, the normalization of nationalism and the rise of white supremacism; the very existence of such a thing as "alternative facts."

During this last year it has built to what has been the equivalent of a blacking out of the sun, a killing of the imagination, a threat to joy and pleasure and safety, culminating in the pandemic.

In the artist's statement that I wrote for my 2017 exhibition entitled Three. Two. One., I referred to the still life paintings in the show as images for contemplation and meditation and as little grenades, as potential explosives, as well as reminders of the transitory nature of and inevitability of loss inherent in everything.

The years since have seemed to me less like a time for making objects than as a time to observe nature and meditate in order to heal myself and to find some way to try to lessen the damage that is happening out in the world.

I mourn my losses, but they are miniscule. I grieve for the losses I witness. So much damage has been wrought, and sadly, much of it cannot be undone.

I have been practicing being specific in acknowledging gratitude; it's my good fortune to live in the countryside in a quiet and beautiful isolated place. For this, and for being able to play the piano and listen to music; to walk with my friends daily; for plenty of books to read, and for television; for my loving companion; for the change that is in the wind . . . I am grateful.

Ellen Berman lives in Wimberley, Texas.