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Written in July, when in Ohio this summer:
This is where I come from. I come from rolling hills of green, lone trees standing at attention, sentinels over a field of soy beans. I come from hills meandering, stitches etched in a pattern that wraps around the contours of the landscape, hidden bails of hay peeking out at just that gathered fold of hillage. I come from warm nights and cool breezes, sitting out on a long balcony, looking out over a green green field slowing filling with softly blinking lights… little messages one to another, hovering above the surface of the field, near the trees, sometimes darting across the sky. The night is filled with the melody of the bullfrogs, the vibrations of the crickets, all swelling and playing off one another, as the wind whispers and plays at the trees. All the while the magic of the fireflies subtly undulates across the horizon. Some near, some far, echoing and signaling one to another. And up above, the stars begin their dance, humbly humming their tune, never demanding attention, but twirling slowly, brightening subtly until the whole landscape is a whir with blinking lights, soft and subtle breeze and a melody in the distance that settles gently over you.
This is where I come from. I have little ability to grasp the majesty of the mountains jutting up from the distance or the vast expanse of the sea… I come from the quiet and the subtle beauties that slowly wash over the watcher, silencing the inner dialogue. It is here that I have learned to watch. It is here that I have learned the art of listening and waiting. It is here that I have learned to see. I have an inner language, a guage for this kind of beauty. It has a place that has long been etched, been taught and cultivated – a place to land in me. Though I love it and gawk with mouth agape, I have little understanding of the majesty of the larger beauties of this world. I have a harder time digesting and taking them in. It is in the bark on a tree, the moss on a rock, the roll of a hill, the dance of a firefly… these have a practiced place to land in me. This place from which I come. That taught me how to wait and how to see the beauty of this world.
It is a gift to remember. To sit as the wind plays and the stars sit in unassuming majesty and the fireflies twirl and the crickets hum… is to remember beauty – my own, the world’s, and another’s.
“It is my profession to always be always on the alert to find God in nature, to know his lurking places, to attend all the oratorios, the operas, in nature.” Thoreau
It has been far too long since I took the time to write. I stopped and read through some old journals this weekend and my soul felt like it took a deep inhalation. And I could feel the blue oxygenation in my blood. Doing it’s good, sweet body work. Life is altogether too busy to write, let alone to write poetry. But how I miss it. How I miss getting messy with art and with words. Perhaps it is too busy not to.
Just now, I took a deep breath, my shoulders loosened, my brows un-furrowed and I sat a little deeper, just at the little act of stopping my mad phone to fb to phone to planner to charts to email to phone scitter scatter. I stopped to read a few lines of poetry. Poetry opens up space for us- a phrase I have been loving lately. The world begins to get very small when we are frenzied and muddled and task-oriented and producing producing producing. Without really ever looking up. From the typing keys and the screen in front of our faces and the next meeting and the next thing on the to-do list. Space is the sweetest gift we can offer ourselves and others in those moments. Poetry does just this for me. Poetry is coupled frivolity and distilled significance that opens up space for our true selves to drink a cold glass of water and feel the fresh breeze on our faces. To gain awareness that maybe it’s been there all along.
opens the pink rose
this bright morning,
the sun warm
on my shoulders,
on the opening petals.
it is the smallest,
the least important event
at this moment
in the whole world.
Yet I stand there,
Well said, Mary Oliver. Well said.
New favorite thing: “Kiss out-door.” Two-year-old, banana mouth, kiss out-door, specifically. It really can’t be beat. It stays with you up the driveway as you wipe banana mush off your chin, smiling at the sweet little fella with such sweet offerings of love and care. He is overflowing with remnants of the banana he just put down to run to the door and give such an offering.
Yesterday it was kiss out-door with toothpaste chin. A little extra fresh breath-ness before stepping out the door. And an earnest face pushing closed the door behind me, as part of the established rule is “kiss, no talking” as you go. I’ve been adopted into this ritual by this 2-year old sweet guy.
And I’m feeling quite grateful for his sweet little self. Banana anointings and all.
I’m taking deep breaths in a book store. Something I have not done in far far too long.
There is something elemental to entering a bookstore for me. There are literally countless worlds open to me, unending new things to explore and learn about. And art and beauty and and and…
I sat down with a little treasure called “The New Artisans” and was transfixed. I realize in moments like that, I was made to make things and I’ve not done that in far, far too long. As I looked through the whimsical pages, simply overflowing with beautiful images, I felt my shoulders relax and a lightening seep into my form. I felt pulled into the pages, so grateful for the beauty and creativity of the world that I started tearing up. Literally. I know, a bit ridiculous. But I think this speaks to the starvation of creativity and this kind of beauty I’ve been experiencing lately. I can breathe deeper as a result of a few stolen moments with my nose in this book… and have such a hunger to create, it’s a bit funny. It’s almost magical, those pages. For now, I will rest in the creativity of others and the astounding beauty that very nearly accosted me from those pages. This artist, in particular, made me ache. Crazy, but true. Textile, stitching, fabrics utterly beatutiful to me.
I think you just need to see a whole slew of images:
(So, I might need you to just look up this artist yourself. And then go to “images.” You won’t be sorry. WordPress is hating on me right now. Not HTMLing. Or whatever it’s called.)
Or go to this blog – there are some wonderful images there.
Simple pleasure #11:
Sunshine. The kind that makes real, robust, focused shadows on all surfaces around you. The kind that makes you squint real hard. The kind that beckons us to play.
That kind of sun, accompanied by warmth, has been hard to come by recently here in Seattle. But yesterday, it was out displaying its many talents. One of which is drawing people out of the woodwork.
I love the feel in the air of the first days of spring, when the sun comes out and everyone crawls out and plays like they are in college again- with no care in the world. The mechanics next door to the cafe were playing football for a good long while, throwing the ball across the street, running like the game depended on that catch. This isn’t a neighborhood street. It’s actually quite busy, and I’m fairly certain that they forgot they aren’t in 3rd grade anymore. But it was great to watch their delight, even as I flinched at their inattention to cars as they sprinted. “Keep your eye on the ball.” (Or is that baseball?)
Dad’s picking up footballs and throwing with their sons. Trampoline jumping. Joggers who haven’t run all winter, getting their jog back on. Walkers walking. Canoes and kayaks.
The sun is a powerful force. And a very simple pleasure. One I’m most grateful for this weekend.
“It is enough.”
These three words have wound their way through my mind and soul the last few weeks.
The first time they surfaced was on a much-needed run through the sculpture park in Seattle a few weeks ago. I took a minute to step aside from my running, to walk by the water to hear my favorite sound – the sound of the rocks rolling over one another. And there I saw a sea lion playing in the water. It kept coming up to the surface, and then leisurely rolling on back under: playing, rolling, snorting, blowing, rolling. A playmate was snorting farther off the shore. I smiled and followed the one closest to me on its path as it wound out of view.
I climbed up on the walkway closest to the water and stood and watched. Smiling. The waves were perfect little triangles, reflecting the setting sun. The mountains were majestic in the backdrop. The sea lion, now out of sight, left its presence still in the air. And from somewhere hidden below, those words surfaced. “It is enough.”
And that felt so true and calming and like the first place I had really landed in quite some time. “It is enough.”
And it was. It was enough for that moment to see the waves’ triangular dance. It was enough to see the sea lion playing. It was enough to witness the majestic.
In a space and time when any given moment feels like anything but restful or “enough,” when most of life is too fast paced to provides a substantial place to sit and perch… those three words felt like life itself. Budding forth from within, promising more such blossoms. It felt like a mantra that I could tuck away somewhere and pull out when I needed a breath deeper than tissue.
It is enough.
I pray that this mantra/prayer/meditation continues to find its way to the surface in me as I go. Day in and day out.