Can you believe I have a secret admirer? Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

It’s Valentine’s Day…and I have a secret admirer. For the last ten years or so I receive a plain white business envelope with printed address label to: Mrs. John J. Fetterly.

A decade ago I wasn’t plastered all over the Internet, so I wasn’t concerned about a stalker. I’m still not.

I think someone is “goofing” with us. I choose to think of them as creative in their attempt at humor.

As long as the Valentines are still with cute kittens and we don’t move on to Chucky dolls I’m fine.

So here’s what came in Monday’s mail.

Secret Valentine

There’s something very special about an unanticipated gift. But I’m not sure this qualifies.

However, I did receive a lovely gift from a good friend.

I’m the event planner, tour guide, point person in my family and friendship groups. Others love to  join me and come along on my field trips, but typically all the responsibility falls to me. In fairness, I’ve probably been the one to be most vocal, expressing what I want to do in such clear terms that no one else need apply for the position of team captain.

I do have strong leadership capabilities…but sometimes I really do like to follow!

When my friend Linda called to ask if I’d like to join her in a trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to catch the closing of the Caravaggio exhibit (we’d talked about it for three months) I didn’t hesitate.

She purchased tickets and SHE coordinated our moves for the day! It was such a lovely experience to just relax and follow along, moving freely in and out of exhibits with no attention to a clock or schedule.

It was the perfect gift!

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio only lived 38 years (1571-1610), and was quite the  controversial figure in his day. A frequent street fighter, he killed one man and was known to war with others he believed copied his style too closely.

I couldn’t take any photos, but the exhibit, “Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy,” included eight rare paintings together for the first time in California, and 50 other works by artists influenced by the artist.

I loved the Caravaggio’s and many of the others, but I can’t say it was my favorite. Still…

I do love just soaking up the flavor of art and creative expression. It is ALL there to inspire.

Whether 16th century oil on canvas or a modern installation, the human spirit cannot suppress the need to create. And the diversity of expression is what excites me the most.

I do enjoy installation art.

I was able to take photos of Walter De Marias: The 2000 Sculpture.

What optical illusions! Plaster rods impressively laid out in 20 rows over 164 feet present varying patterns, viewed differently from points around the room.

The artist said of the experience, “No matter how pure I try to be, at that point where warm meets cold, action meets inaction, that’s what interests me. And what goes on in people’s minds.”

I’m also very interested in what goes on in people’s minds and this work of art reinforced my impressions. I love differing perspectives and different points of view. It’s a good thing to change one’s position from time to time and to remain open and flexible to new ideas. Creativity can also be an exercise of the mind!

We even bumped into creativity while having our lunch.

As Linda took the folder with the bill, she looked a little puzzled and then showed me the contents.

My goodness! Do I have admirers everywhere I go?  Let’s ask our server.

Kevin, our server, explained he enjoys expressing himself and sharing the creative impulse with hand-painted cards,  offering favorite quotes and small artworks to his patrons.

After we thanked him for the unexpected gift he left us for just a moment then returned with another lovely token.

IMG_1780Now I keep my little card close to where I’ll see it every morning. It’s a reminder to live each day appreciating the gift of creativity–each of us is made to embrace and enjoy self-expression.

Perhaps it’s because I am of “a certain age,” but I love this quote from the ageless Sophia Loren, and I share it as my Valentine’s gift to each of you.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source you will truly have defeated age.”