Changing Seasons · Garden · Nature · On Being Green · Painting · The three R's

Renewal

On our way out to an island in Maine the trees were not yet showing signs of spring, but by our return trip the forsythia was blooming in Albany and the willows had gone from gold to green. Maine for me was wonderful, I am certain it was not so wonderful for the man, and for my friend.  Dog ate a toy and managed to barf on a white rug and a brand new mattress.  Of course after that she was fine, she doesn’t barf a lot so of course she had to christen the new furnishings.  grr.  But for me the peace of painting in a place, outside, despite cold temps, downright drizzle and brutal wind.  My legs cold through and my left fingers icy from holding the palette.  Upon return and viewing this work with the work of last summer I am super pleased with this new body of work.  I am really looking forward to the summer when I can go back and paint more.  There were several sites I would like to sit and paint from, just from the brief tour we had by our hosts.

I wandered around my yard on Easter Sunday after two days of spring cleaning, still utterly not complete, and noticed the tulips pushing their heads up past the mud and coal ash.  The tips of the elderberry bushes have started to bud, the rhubarb with its dark green leaves is growing beautifully.  The crocus and hyacinth are blooming, though my transplanted grape hyacinth is not too happy with life just now.  The tansy and the comfrey are looking healthy, and my transplanted lilies look like they just might bloom.

The man made a compost tumbler out of an old dryer drum.  So impressed, he is really an artist in a way, he can fix anything, he can cobble together anything.

The dogs, particularly Marley the little beast, ran to the neighbors house for cookies.  Following L. into her kitchen while I shot the breeze with M. who lifted the lid of his grill to show me Easter dinner, roast venison on a spit wrapped in bacon.  “This is what rednecks eat for Easter he said deprecatingly, though I did not say it, I thought this is what I would consider a superior culture.  He again iterated my option to walk his land and gather plants from his property, along with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, as my man says, M. likes me because he usually doesn’t let anyone on his property.  We talked about natural dyes.  He thought I said natural guys.  So we made a few jokes about manscaping, and ear whiskers….

I looked up the possibility of using rhubarb leaves for dying wool, high in oxalic acid, I think it would be cool to mix them with pokeweed which grows in abundance in the yard, nettles or maybe sumac.  My summer project slowly forming.

I spun my white wool for a while and finished a recycled sari silk scarf.  STILL trudging away at the brown and white log cabin weave on my 32” Ashford.  Blah.  So dull and my tension is wonky and annoying.  So much to do for spring.  So very little time in the day.

 

 

All things melancholy · Changing Seasons · Dreams

Dreams of a Precipice

I am standing in the middle of this steam now, but no longer am I waiting for stepping stones to appear, the flood has receded and I am too far from the shore to take the step.  I am in a deep chasm, the water too far below me to fall safely into the water, even though I do not care if I might get wet.  A being hovers in the air nearby, and she offers to help, she pushes the slab so it teeters mostly off the high spire it rests upon, I take a step, a person on shore reaches for my hand and the rock tips and I am plunging.

I am standing in a terminal, waiting for a flight to South America, all I have to do is step somehow from one platform to another, the problem is between the two platforms there is a corner jutting out and it is too far to step.  There are people milling about on both platforms, clearly they have made this step.  But I cannot.  And I am asking myself, why do I even want to go there?  I don’t understand.

I want to fly across the distance, but my wings are clipped.  I am caged.  I want to get a new tattoo one of a condor at the zoo.  Clipped.  Caged.

The universe brutally smacks the back of my head.  I know he is here without having to search for it.  It just hits me hard, while I am looking for something utterly unrelated.  Thank you.  I say with my middle fingers raised both hands.  Thanks so much.  Can this be any more painful?  Really?  Stop teaching me, I need time to not be taught a blessed thing.

I wake to the cold.  Shivering.

I reluctantly go to work.  The light is right, the birds are singing the right song, but it drags so, this winter.  How it drags.  The car is covered with snow.  I brush it off.  I take one step after another.  I know how to make myself feel better, I dig in instead.  Settle into my haunches, waiting for it all to pass.

Changing Seasons · Dogs. · Uncategorized

First Day of Spring

People make the mistake of thinking they will wake on this day and there will have been a magical transformation, the night elves will have been hard at work vacuuming up the snow, blow drying the mud, planting crisp and shiny snow drops and firm nubs of daffodils in the ground while we all peacefully slumber and dream of sugar plum fairies, and margaritas by Caribbean waters.  And when we rub the seeds of sleep from our drowsy eyes we will step up to a window and look outside, seeing first the reflection of our bed tousled hair and then this wondrous blanket of newness on the ground, and perhaps, if we look out of the corners of our eyes, the last elf putting his finishing touches of dew drops on a bright yellow crocus.

The reality is that it wakes slowly, it needs coffee to get it going, it needs you to be awake to notice its magic is not an overnight occurrence, it needs you to be aware enough to realize that it is not all snowdrops and elves and rainbows and pots of gold, spring is sometimes downright ugly, or more accurately muddy, and sloppy and it always takes longer than the single day to happen.

There is the angle of the sun, it is warmer some how, and even with the wind bringing tears to your eyes, you can smell some minute change in it.  A 35 degree day would elicit a wool sweater in autumn, but in March, in spring, it elicits a light cardigan but you will suffer through freezing in the spring in a way you won’t in the winter.  People say the birds are back, but the birds really never leave, it is just that they are now sitting on wires and bare branches soaking up the warm sun, and singing a little louder, and singing a song of hope, its coming, they say, its coming.  And yes, now we see robins, and flocks of geese and hear red winged blackbirds.  There is still snow on the ground, but it is no longer the crisp clean snow of winter, where it truly is a magic blanket that transforms overnight.  So pretty.  No, in March it has all gone to hell.  It is brown,  black, sooty and muddy and covered in dog shit people pretended not to see happening, not wanting to take off their gloves to clean it up.  The dogs come home now covered in a layer of salt, sand and slop, a towel at the door as essential as a water bowl.  A trip to the groomers, for a bath, on the to do list.   And if you listen, you will not only hear the bird song, you will hear the sound of the water melting under the snow, under the mud, a tiny trickle of life.  I imagine on these warm melty days, a Native American listening to the spring in the hard wood forest, and putting her ear to a maple tree, and wondering, what is that?  What is that trickle?, and discovering the sweet taste of the sap did she take some home and try to make soup with it?

You wake in spring, and feel too the blood in your own body melting.  The mega doses of vitamin D, maybe not so necessary any more, and when you get home from work, you feel spring in your feet, you are tired but instead of craving soup and homemade bread and a warm blanket and a doggy cuddle by the fire, you crave a long walk outside, where your ears burn and your cheeks sting and you are smiling by the end, because, you can hear the hope in your song, it is coming.  It is coming.

Birds · Changing Seasons · Nature

First Snow

Hard to believe that two days ago, I turned off the heat and opened all the windows, letting the warm wind blow the white and purple embroidered flower curtains like wisps of angel wings over my room, sending a healing breath to my body.  I wake an hour earlier than I want to but rather than linger I get up, make coffee and get ready.  Sancho refuses a walk, his age and creaky bones are showing and it is cold.  Marley and I walk out into the cold windy air and by the time we get to the end of the street the first flakes of snow are drifting down on us.  And by the time we turn the corner on the return trip I hear the sounds of the white throated sparrow, still new enough to me here to cause the nostalgic mental drift to summer in the adirondacks, like angel wings on a troubled mind, sending a healing breath to my mind.

Changing Seasons · Festivals · Flowers · Magic · Musings · Nature · Pirates · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure · Trees

Turkey Hunting Day

It is now turkey hunting season, I celebrate such a marvelous thing.  The pirate rose well before dawn, nearly still the middle of the night and left, I heard him rustling around, and then I fell back to sleep.  I woke at 6am from dead asleep to wide awake, strange dreams of college friends involved in strange events.  The coffee was still warm in the insulated carafe left with my mug on the counter.  And I made breakfast and wasted time watching TED talks for a couple hours.  Then I cleaned the bathrooms, and the kitchen, and did laundry and cat boxes, and organized my bedroom opening the curtains and windows wide.  The magnolia tree outside my bedroom window cast a stunning pink light over my whole room, to go with the rainbows dancing from the crystal in my east facing window.

Work done, I took my embroidery out to the patio, but the sun was hot and I was concerned for burning my nearly burnt skin from a long day at the Crawfish Festival on Saturday.  Only careful monitoring of my sun-screened skin, and making my sun loving pirate sit in patches of sun near the shade kept me from burning so early in the season.  And my awesome fishing hat.  I took my books and boxes, and needles and threads up the hill to where my freshly repainted metal table sits in the shade under a spruce tree.  I trucked up and down the hill for water, for lunch, for water for the dog, for laundry switching, for forgotten items or dropped things, taking time in between to clean the dog mess off the lawn on one trip, carrying a very angry cat up, only to have her realize that this was a lovely place to lay contentedly in the shade and get scratched regularly.

The pirate returned sometime in the middle of the afternoon.  I don’t even know when.  I just know that I embroidered for about 5 hours, happily content in my zone.  Finally he came up and lay in the sun on a blanket for about an hour as I drank a beer, and worked on my project.  The sun was setting into the evening, all day long the pink and white petals floated down on me like snow, but as the sun was setting it was magical, like a scene from one of my favorite movies by Akira Kurasawa, where the peach blossoms rain, tinkling like bells on a crying boy.

Love days like this.

Love, love.

Changing Seasons · Flowers · Musings · Nature · Treasure

Treasure Hunt

It is 4am and I am awake, thinking even 15 more minutes of sleep is worth the next two hours. I think about happiness, what does it mean to be happy?  I think my dad spent the better part of his life being clinically depressed, and I think sometimes, maybe all the time, that it might have a genetic component.  I know I should be happy.  I have a good job, with good benefits, I have a beautiful albeit at times struggling adult child, I have a decent place to sleep, plenty of spending money and few expenses, food to eat, hobbies to occupy my mind and soul, good friends, family that loves me, a great yard, pets that love me, dote on me, students who love me so why in this deep dark part of morning do I sigh as I turn over and place my clasped hands against my cheek and pull the covers over my head, am I NOT happy?  What is missing?  And I know it is not an external thing, it is something on my insides.  I know I need to return to meditation, and spend more of my time on art.

I think of this event horizon.  When I first met the ex, I had this intense feeling that he would have a profound effect on my life.  I had always thought it was a positive effect, but I now know it was totally not that, it was this other thing.  It was like being sucked into a black hole, you are one thing on one side, and you are stretched to an unrecognizably thin, tattered, atom infinite blobby particulate version of your self, where every cell is a separate entity.  Nothing in my life has ever been the same, every new thing that enters my life, must pass through that black hole before I can even begin to process it.  When I was struggling he texted me (his stalker girlfriend?) I am not sure I lose track of what happened, its course and its places, “I have moved out of our house, I am not coming back.”  As if I wanted him back, because as of the first part of October, I never ever did.  I could see that I was already unalterably torn apart.  As though I had been dismembered and sewn back together and he was saying, your body will never be the same again. *S*  Really?  I didn’t know.  *S*

Ironically my day unfolds beautifully, it is a picture perfect teaching day.  I go to help a teacher with a Literacy project which requires a poster as one component of its final product.  Two boys sit on either side of me, best friends, talking talkity chatty heads in my class.  I show the one how to draw a zebra, and he struggles immensely.  At first, but slowly this incredible beautiful graphic/design image appears and grows, I make him go back and draw lines he draws half-assed, I make articulate the decision-making process of an artist, should I do this, or that, what should I put here, is it too empty over here, what kind of tree would  be near a zebra in the wild.  And at the end his pride is evident.  I point out to him that we have been sitting side by side for an hour and a half, and he hasn’t even budged one inch from his chair.  His buddy on my other side draws a snake, and he admits he is jealous of his friend’s zebra, but also that he loves the picture.  And also there is a question from him.  Ms.  I haven’t talked in a long time, we never sit this close together and not talk but there is a question in the sound of his voice, and I explain to him about silencing the mind, that art and talking come from different places.  They confuse your mind, he states simply.  Yes. Exactly.

Later my second worst class is there and they are wonderful, so good for once it surprises me.  And after a student from another school comes in as a transfer to the special education class.  I greet her warmly, take her hands in mine and tell her she has a friend already at this school.  Her mom is visibly relieved.  I needed a day like this.  Maybe she did too.

I pull in the driveway and the magnolia tree is pink in its full bloom, and the flamingo in the front yard is a stunning accent to it.  I change and put get my tools from the shed,  I kneel to pull weeds and discover so many plants hiding under years of neglect, forget-me-not, primrose, scented thyme, cinquefoil, Salvia, oregano, rosemary, parsley, dragons tail, the dog is leashed to the iron bench on the porch, he lies in the shade panting from the heat.  There is a pleasure in this, I think, and I realize that I need these kinds of comforts of routine, of the outdoors to rejuvenate.  And for a moment I feel intense hatred for the stalker for taking away my park time.  But I let it pass, knowing that this summer I will be in the woods for weeks without the fear of ever seeing her.  I will return to it, as I must.

Now as the pirate mows the back yard, the dog, yards from me is sniffing every nook and cranny, free to wander at his leisure, the buffalo skull like God, looks empty and omniscient over us, ignoring my prayers.  The pirate grins as he passes by me, and I watch him thinking of how nice it is to not have to boss him into the mowing.  He curses as he steps in poop, and I laugh.  The wind chimes, an ever-present music, rattle softly in the light breeze.  He whistles to point out more poop for me to scoop and the dog runs to him and then past him and further on in the yard, and he tosses a ball that Sancho, even in his arthritic old man state, runs after.

I breath, a sigh of relief.  Would that more days were like this one than not.

Not sure how to make it happen.

 

 

Changing Seasons · Flowers · Nature · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure · Trees

Beautiful Spring

Pear Blossom
Pear Blossom
Jonquil
Jonquil
Petunia
Petunia
Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
Petunia
Petunia

After our ritual of Sunday breakfast we decide to go to a local garden store, he picks out vegetable plants and I pick out flowers.  I add salvia and sage to the front garden, petunias to the pots hanging on the garage, he plants herbs in the garden by the front door.  It actually feels good on my back for whatever reason.  Sitting on the ground, more comfortable than standing.  Take note.  In the back he weeds the garden bed and then rototills it, while I use a unique tool he has to tear up dandelions.  I bring beers and vegetarian chili out to the patio where we eat and continue working.  I sand a piece of aluminum I found in the woods, and spray paint it, art making.  

His aunt feeds treats to the dogs from over the fence while he tills a spot for more raspberries.  And she thanks us for the big pot of purple flowers hanging in her backyard.  Our birthday gift to her. 

Playing outside in the yard for about four hours.

Gardening is good for the soul.

 

 

 

Changing Seasons · Musings · Nature

i would rather be outside.

The moment I set my feet in the house, I am preparing to head back out again.  He greets me in the driveway, kissing me, he is dirty and sweaty.  I sit on the steps in the sun and tie my boots as he pulls out the grill and gets it ready for dinner, first grilling of the year.  I pull my grandfather’s rake from the shed, and MY shovel, the little one, that I find easiest to use.

I pull three buckets of lilac shooters out of the garage, and head to a soft patch of dirt about a third of the way through the back yard.  They will not bloom this year, but maybe next year a few will be there, it isn’t just for me that I plant them, the birds, the butterflies, the bees, the ladybugs, the sweet nectar that maybe someone will suck from the tiny blossoms.

The news isn’t good, but they have nothing really to report that takes more than five minutes.  The local news recaps what I just watched.  I change the channel.  By morning they have only thirty more seconds worth of information, I watch only for the weather report, and have to sit thru half an hour of repeating gossip to get to it.

I pour my coffee.

I put the dogs dish under my arm.

I sit out in the hard blowing breeze, listen to the windchimes jangling.

Watch the clouds race across the sky, and marvel at the sunlight shining like lace around the edges of blue patches of sky.

Fuel for Tuesday.

Birds · Changing Seasons · Nature · Photos · Small Joys · Treasure

First Robin of Spring

robin

March in all of it’s bi-polar madness, warm days, sunshine, snow and cold pouring rain.  The time change is brutal, I curse the person who invented alarm clocks, and then the one who invented clocks, squeezing human beings into a construct of man when we are creatures of nature.

Tuesdays are especially brutal, I have to be at work 40 minutes earlier, when the perfect time for my internal body clock to arrive at work is a full hour and a half later.  I open the door to the drizzle, a steady one, if I were living in a rainforest, I imagine this rain would have its own name.  And then I hear the song of it, and in the rain with my boiled wool sweater and steam punk style brimmed cap, I search for the singer.  And then there it is high up in the maple tree.  I know you cannot tell what it is by this picture, but the song said it all.

The first robin of spring.

Changing Seasons · Flowers · Nature · Photos · Small Joys · Steampunk · Treasure

Snowdrops and Steampunk

 

“Therefore trust to thy heart, and to what the world calls illusions.”  ~ Longfellow

 

snowdrops

If March were a human being, it would have bi polar disorder.  Two days ago I woke to an inch and a half a snow on the ground with more steadily falling, within a few hours, it was all melted away.  Some days in March have a cold bitter wind, but today despite a cool breeze, the sun was shining, the skies were blue.  We missed the first half of the lovely day, on another adventure, but in the afternoon, the pirate suggested going out to enjoy just wandering around the yard in the sunlight.  I love this thing about him, this thing that loves to look at the things growing in the yard.

I told him this morning as we were watching a story on the news about the time change, that I would love to have a box full of clock parts.  We wandered, separately and then together and then apart again.  I am looking for ideas for making art books, for ephemera for collage and mixed media.  Then he calls me, excitement in his voice.  I look over his shoulder and find a box full of pocket watch parts.  I am thrilled.

steampunk

This is a box of great treasure.