Friday, January 21, 2011

In the Land of Winter

In the land of winter, 
birch trees glow in gold morning light, 
and hemlocks bow to greet the ice-bound land. 

cracks open 
with the clattering of iced-bone branches. 
Warm sunlight pries away the grip of ice.
One by one, small, half-tube bits, 
clink down to the crusted snow.

Blessed with ice magic here at RavenWood, 
and grateful that it has been gentle.
Not too thick, and no high winds 
has saved us from power outages. 
For me, the loss of electricity
means hauling water, cooking on 
the wood stove, and using the "Luggable Lou". 
Not to mention daily forays on snowshoes 
to a hole dug way down in the snow 
to empty said bucket. 

Sparkling moments, crystalline forms, 
and expanses of blue-white landscapes:
I am under the Ice Queen's enchantment. 

Still awaiting the arrival of the new heater, 
my studio sits, frozen and buried in the snow. 
A quickening within me promises
the birth of new work, though, as it is 
with my cycles of creativity, 
exactly what it looks like is a mystery. 

 I balance walking, shoveling, and bringing in
 wood with afternoon tea and a good book. As the 
semester progresses, there will be more school-prep, 
more student needs, more demands on my time.
For now, I find myself in the moment,
feeling the weight and texture of the wood I carry, 
and my body's appreciation of gentle movement 
and deep breathing. 

Things on my long list don't seem as urgent as they
did a month ago. I am trusting in divine timing 
and the profoundly beneficial gift of 
rest and regeneration. 

"Blue Night", watercolor on paper, 4"x4"


ArtPropelled said...

I have so much catching up to do but the beauty of that is it's like savouring a good book near the fire with snow falls to keep me inside.... soul dreaming .... filling up with visual stories and remembering the language of trees. Amazed and thrilled to see your little studio!

Sweetpea said...

What a pleasure to visit you this are in the thick of winter and your post makes me almost smell the snow. For a short time before my fella & I were married, we lived just outside Boston. Talk about taking a CA girl out of her element! But I fell in love with winter (for the first time) living there...

If you have a moment, tell me a little bit about the book "Ingrid and the Wolf"...?

stregata said...

Glad you didn't get too much ice - it can be so relentless.
Stay warm and cuddle with Pasha.

stregata said...

Thanks for your kind comment - I think paint brushes are pretty high tech - you have to know what you are doing with them...
btw - the necklace was made with new jade beads. It must have been the quality of the light that gave them such a blueish sheen.

Robin and the Sage said...

you live in such a enchanting place!
there must be so many trees around you i have never heard of. i have been studying few trees in school, which must grow in USA, like hemlocks.

your studio is adorable!!


Lynn said...

Beautiful. And your studio...what a perfect vessel for creativity.

Valerianna said...

Art Propelled- When you're done catching up, bring your favorite book and I'll stoke the fire and make tea!

Sweetpea - "smell the snow", I never thought about what the snow smells like! "Ingrid and the Wolf", a fairy tale-like novel about a young girl sent from America to Hungary for the summer to meet her grandmother, the countess. Strange, young adult tale, not done yet!

stregata - Oh interesting, the necklace sure didn't look jade to me, but, yes, probably the light. And gorgeous no matter what the stone!

Robin and Sage - RavenWood is mostly a forest of hemlocks, though there are oaks, white, black and yellow birch, maple, cherry, beech, and an understory covering of Mountain Laurel. The hemlocks create a dense, dark forest... but very open underneath because of the lack of light. Its magical to me.

Lynn - The studio WOULD be a perfect vessel for creativity if I could ever get it warm in winter! Even after many layers of insulation and caulking, etc. I STILL can't work in there comfortably unless I pay more than what it costs to heat my house. So, this year, my father helped me buy a new heater that is suppose to be very efficient... waiting for its arrival to see if its going to work so I CAN work!

steven said...

valerianna - thanks for lighting the candle of remembering all that winter has that i love. steven

Vilt og vakkert said...


Thank you for visiting my blog. Me too, have been to the Greek island many times, but not lately.
I like your blog, hope to keep in contact ;:OD)

La Dolce Vita said...

absolutely gorgeous! winter is so beautiful!

susan christensen said...

I love the crystal coated branches photos - AND the last image, the watercolor, which so beautifully captures the winter night. Stay warm! -sus

Swan Artworks said...

Your studio looks like something out of some old fairy tale sitting there in the snow in the middle of a forest...!
And as always your paintings are so evocative, I can feel the deepening turn of the skies and the night-sharp air...

A mermaid in the attic said...

So beautiful to be able to stop by your little 'neck of the woods', Valerianna, such magic to be found here. Your studio looks wonderful, I hope you can get it heated enough to start on the new work you can feel bubbling up inside you! I look forward to seeing it!

Valerianna said...

steven - your welcome, you do the same for me quite often these days.

Vilt og Vakkert - Oh, to think about Samos in the midst of this cold... well, its cold there, too now. Welcome to RavenWood.

La Dolce Vita - yes, I quite agree... there's a particular, raw beauty in it- very different from the sweetness of spring and the exuberance of summer and fall.

susan - trying to stay warm, an arctic air mass is making its way down to us, tomorrow is only suppose to get to about 3 degrees up here... better stoke the fire well at 7:30 am, 'cause I'll be gone all day at work. I've been enjoying those deep blue nights these days...

Swan Artworks - I'd be more enchanted with the studio fairy tale if there were an old woman stoking a fire in there for me, keeping it warm and bringing me tea!

mermaid - I am chomping at the bit to get in there, though with this cold, it might take a few days to warm up once the heater DOES come!

neva gagliano said...

hi, tree lover....maker of beautiful pieces !

Tammie Lee said...

thank you for a lovely winters stroll with your images and words.
wishing you a heater that works perfectly and sooner than later.
lovely painting dear lady.

Anonymous said...

Gorgous photos!!! We share quite a bit in common - and it is a beautiful life! :)

Velma said...

i love the photo of the meadow with the stunning clouds and the distant woods. and the ice-oh so much ice; here, crystals of ice drifting down this morning, like diamond dust.

Suz said...

Oh a winter's blue sky
I would stay in that moment too
hear my breath
feel my heartbeat
taste the cold going in and out
wonderful post..beautiful photos

Nikiah said...

Ohh I love the photo of your studio, what a cozy looking place to create!

faerie finder said...

lovely petal heart ♥
thank you for bringing your owl story to my door!
i was right there with all of the magic.
hearts & magical forest walks.
my cousin and i have been
pouring over your watercolors
and pretending we are inside of them.

layers said...

YOU seem to have a lot of snow where you live- beautiful icy white snow-- but cold I am sure-- glad you are cozy inside with your cup of tea.

Line Lorna said...

So beautiful, Spirit of Rest and Peace, Forest and Creativity! Your blog always shines such a radiant light into my life!

Valerianna said...

HI Neva - thanks!

Tammie - I think I might have to call the company again, STILL no heater!!! I'm a bit frustrated. I could draw inside, but I'm totally out of money for new scratchbord panels until the first payday in the semester. Oh well, the universe is making me do other things - walk and take photos.

Zuzu - I've been finding a lot of inspiration in taking photos right now, waiting for the heater to come...

Velma - That meadow was amazing that day. I was on my way to an appointment in the car, but really wanted to get out and snowshoe to the distant hills - there was magic in there!

Suz- thanks, yes, staying in the moment, its such a practice in this world we live in!

Nikiah - it WILL be cozy if my heater EVER ARRIVES!

faerie finder - oh, I love that you and your cousin enter into my paintings, I pretend to be in them when I make them.... I've been looking for the owl every day, but she hasn't been back. But, then again if she were here every day, maybe it wouldn't seem so special. But, no, I know it still would be!

layers - We are having about two snowfalls a week! Tuesday about 5 inches, today another 6", its just piling up! I love it but the plowing bill might break the bank this year! And I'm just lighting the fire, with my warm cup to drink in the morning.

Line Lorna - Glad to know it! I wonder how cold and snowy it is in YOUR Northland?

ruthie said...

Dear Valerianna, the ice queen is still working her magic there i see. Your wee studio looks wrapped up, ready & waiting , i do hope our heater arrives very soon. In the mean time enjoy x x

Karen said...

Beautiful photographs Valerianna.You live in a fairytale land. The icy magic winds it's winter spell around me still and I'm hoping we will return a little to such beauty yet. Today there is a bitter chill on the wind... so who knows it may not be far away? Pasha.. what a darling and so handsome. x