Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Short Days of Rust & Brown


 I leave school at the end of the day as the light is fading,  
a good audio book in the cd player and astonishing skies 
that might someday find themselves the inspiration for  
paintings. 


My wee cottage is finding its form steadily week by week. Each day the crew 
is here, I am amazed at how much is accomplished. Monday the windows and
 much of the siding was installed, and Tuesday most of the rest of the siding. 



I am beginning to feel what the interior will be like, and when the crew 
isn't around, I climb up the ladder to wander inside and imagine.


Most of the siding is on this south side now (below), and I love the burgundy 
roof. Its a tad more subtle than the red roof on the house: a complex color that 
is hard to pin down. I like that. 



Short November days of rust and brown are here, as are the hunters. Many creatures 
are on the run, searching for food and fleeing. Yesterday, I heard a gunshot nearby, 
and three does sped across the road in front of me. A buck that was traveling near 
them hesitated before slipping back into the trees. 

Last week a small bear crossed the road right in front of the car. I sat admiring the 
thick, inky fur and strong, rooted body as she lumbered by. Soon she will be heading 
into the earth for many months. I've read that many moons ago, some of the old ones native to this land did much the same. Some say that they didn't store up food as once thought, but let the snows cover the lodges, and survived on roots and melted snow
or almost nothing at all save the sweet murmurings of the dreaming earth and the 
warmth from the fire. 


Only when the bear had made her way across the field did I remember that my 
camera was right next to me. She politely paused at a little birch tree to stare back 
at me before dashing off to the cover of pines. 



Most of the animals around my forest are wild, except for Pasha cat, 
but there are plenty of farm critters close by. I did a little goat care for 
my friend, Boo, who's wonderful Stonebridge Farm is a great place to come stay if 
you're passing through. One of the goats peeks over the stall door as I'm about to 
toss in the hay. 


I took a morning walk to check on her Norwegian Fjords, 
and found them grazing in the far pasture. I love their 
multi colored manes and strong form. 




Much of my time away from school is focussed on tasks related to the studio 
project, and lots of looking. The camera helps with that, I often see 
details in the photograph that I missed with the naked eye.  
Here I am merged with a tree - or maybe my true silhouette 
can only be seen in my shadow....


That photo reminded me of this:


This photo, 


of this:


 Decaying milkweed pods and what's left of a tomatillo husk 
took me to ground to marvel at light and shadow and textures. 






The biggest accomplishment of late is the shrinking pile of wood.
It is now ALL neatly stacked in the shed - four cords - which is sort of 
a lot to stack alone. If you look closely below, you'll see a 
luna moth on the corner of the shed (July photo of the pile).  


Tomorrow I head off to spend Thanksgiving with family. There is 
a list as long as my life of things I am grateful for, so I will say only 
that I am grateful for everything - even for the hard things, for they shape 
me in ways I never expect and help to smooth out my rough edges. 
If you've been following my blog for a while, you might recall that  
my niece's 31 year old husband died suddenly last Thanksgiving, so 
this year we will be with that - with her - for she is, 
of course, 
with that 
every single moment.  

29 comments:

henrietta (aka ani aka zani) said...

Valerianna, I was thinking how lovely it would be if some of the forest friends could find their way into the studio for safe harbor while the doors were off and while awaiting completion...reading your words is like listening to the soft murmurings of dreams...may the friends of the forest have safe and sweet dreams.

steven said...

have you noticed how the many threads of your postings over the years are coalescing in your most recent postings. much like the rings of a tree, each tells the story of the hard or soft seasons, the rains, the suns, the deep snows. cool sweet cabin. a piece of my life dream. steven

Medieval Muse said...

Your photos are so full of beauty but I think your observations and parallels are the jewels! What delightful visitors.

In our tree-shadow, I see Herne the Hunter from Robin of Sherwood!

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Wonderful post, beautiful place.
I looked for the moth but could not see! Best wishes for a warm holiday
xx
julie

Nancy said...

Such a story your photos tell...and your words go straight to the heart.
Yes, a list as long as my life...
Have a wonderful time with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

susan christensen said...

The images of the twilight skies remind me that all is not grey and dim everywhere in the Forest. Isn't it so magical to stand inside the bones of your new building and dream of what it will soon be? We completed building our home fifteen years ago but I still remember that quiet thrill of standing in the fresh space at the end of the work day, anticipating...happy thanksgiving to you and your family, love, sus

ruthie said...

Valerianna, I love the words & images you use, they carry me over the seas to stand in your world & soak it up with all my senses. And I am so happy for you that your dream is taking shape, after so much waiting. It is going to be magic in the making.

ArtPropelled said...

The decaying milkweed pods make wonderful photos .... and I see the Luna Moth! I am thankful that your camera is nearby to capture these moments. Happy Thanksgiving to you Valerianna.

ramona said...

Happy thanksgiving Valerianna!

Tammie Lee said...

such a beautiful post! overflowing with the natural world, lovely light, good hard work (stacking four cords!) yes help would be wonderful! your cabin looks awesome and full of dreams for the future. lovely day to you.

Velma said...

so rich these things of your life, the trees, the earth, the animals. i like your story of the old ones staying in the earth for the winter's nap. could be people, could be bears, could be other beings. i like that.

the wild magnolia said...

Always a beautiful adventure. Thank you for sharing.

Umā said...

I love seeing the photos and your artwork side by side, and the cabin looks adorable! So much potential.
I'm glad you were able to get all that wood in the shed. J is still stacking ours and the pile is shrinking...

Stille Linde said...

Beautiful, a house to work with dreams, collected by human and cat and bear and all sorts of beautiful creatures. I'm happy and grateful for you.

Zen Forest said...

That studio cabin is picturesque. You will have it so cozy and creative and sacred inside :)

Swan Artworks said...

The Forest Studio is looking fantastic! Its sits with its setting so well, I bet you can't wait to get in there...
Wonderful photos, and I like the creative echoes you are finding in your past and present work, an ever continuing thread I have been immensly enjoying following through the woods...
Its hard to imagine how hard it must be for your niece, I wish her well...

Donna~Q~ said...

What a joy to watch the wee cabin coming into being! It feels quite mythic already :~)

Yay for autumn light and a handy camera to capture shape and color and texture of the season ~ it's a beautiful thing! As is stacked-wood readiness, just in time for chilly nights...

gz said...

the clear sky at a winter sunrise is breathtaking.

The Fjord ponies remind me of the Welsh Mountain Ponies of my late Man, especially the one on the left.
I miss them all so.

Sophie Munns said...

Well Ms Valerianna....
I am grateful for your fabulous post...and for your inspiration... chopping all that wood.
Loved reading my way through your unfolding days....seeing the house coming together...Bravo!

You are clever and certainly an inspiration!
That image of the bear disappearing... will that bear be coming around you little cottage?
Thanks for the wonders you share!
S x

Nikiah Seeds said...

Valerianna,
What an enchanting post! I adore the tree watercolour and am thrilled to see your cottage studio coming together, what a dream!
Also thank you for sharing the bear with us before the winter whisks her away!
Bright Blessings
Nikiah

Nikiah Seeds said...

Valerianna,
What an enchanting post! I adore the tree watercolour and am thrilled to see your cottage studio coming together, what a dream!
Also thank you for sharing the bear with us before the winter whisks her away!
Bright Blessings
Nikiah

Nikiah said...

Valerianna,
What an enchanting post! I adore the tree watercolour and am thrilled to see your cottage studio coming together, what a dream!
Also thank you for sharing the bear with us before the winter whisks her away!
Bright Blessings
Nikiah

Valerianna said...

Everyone - sorry to take so long to respond.. all consumed by this building project!

henrietta - I'm sure someone has found their way in some cold nights before the workguys arrive, maybe just a mouse or two...!

steven - I'll need to pay attention to that and get back to you! Thanks for pointing that out, and wish you a wee cottage in the forest for dream-writing... or painting or listening to ambient, way-out music.

Medieval Muse - Oooo.... lovely, observation jewels, and I;ll go take a look for Herne.

Julie - hope you finally caught a glimpse of the moth, he was quite spectacular.

Nancy - thanks!

sus - yes, quiet thrill, absolutely, and even though they are right on schedule, anticipation and impatience, too!

ruthie - and I can't WAIT to get making in there!

ArtPropelled - I don't seem to go too far without my camera these days, though there are some amazing skies recently that I missed and regret.

ramona - thanks, you too! (a tad late!)

Tammie - got a crew of young boys to rake tomorrow, yipee, HELP!

Velma - oh, yes, I see the ambiguity, I like that, too!

the wild magnolia - you are quite welcome.

Uma - hope you're wood is in, though the real cold seems to come and go these days, weird, huh?

Stille Linde - more and more dreams to collect and share....

Zen Forest - I do so look forward to creating sacred and inspiring space in there, and it helps to start with "good bones", as they say.

Swan Artworks - I'm enjoying the threads, too, and C---A---N---T wait to get in there, that's for sure, I'm really rather obseSSED! My niece is in the out-of-denial anger place, hard and scary. Thanks for well wishes.

Donna~Q - yes, wood ready, at last, cold only here sporadically strangely enough.

gz- oh, can't imagine that kind of missing...well, I can imagine the missing of a beloved critter, but not a beloved man, big open heart blessing to you.

Sophie - the bear who comes around here is a different one, and usually he's a HUGE male. But haven't seen him around here at all of late. I will see someone of them around the wee cottage someday, I;m sure. Especially if I put the bird seed out to early in the season!

Nikiah - I wonder if the bears are as confused as the rest of us with the huge weather swings... one day its almost spring like, the next cold and raw, crazy. I imagine the bears and in and out for now, until the big snows come and they go under for the rest of winter.

joanne May said...

Every single photo is lovely on this post. So good to see your fairy cottage is coming together nicely! Can't wait to see how you decorate the inside.
Autumn is passing now, here in the Uk and there is a real chill in the air.
I think there will be snow by the end of the week.
Stay warm by the fire with Pasha.

Warm wishes,
Jo and Ziggy. xx

Donna Iona Drozda said...

Oh how exciting and inspiring to see your new sanctuary/studio rise up and take form...heart be still...can you imagine the joy of moving in...eek...how glorious.

Your captures are... each and every one... so filled with your love and admiration for all that surrounds...your reference to taking shelter under the earth and resting until the spring whether as bear or ancient creates a stirring in my soul...for simpler and more trusting.
I appreciate that.

Valerianna said...

Jo - it continues to swing back and forth from chill to warm here. And I can't wait to see how the decorating of the new studio unfolds as well. I have some ideas, but want to let it flow like a painting and see what might surprise me.

Donna - Glad to stir your soul.... you often do mine.

rivergardenstudio said...

Dear Valerianna, I hope your thanksgiving was warm and golden. What I love most here are the leaf and pod skeletons and the furry, blurry bear entering the forest. The progress on your cabin is amazing. Maybe I will come for a class sometime...
roxanne

layers said...

Hi Valerianna, You really know how to get up close and get beautiful images of nature.. especially in the fall when plants and life begin their decay into the ground - to come back to life in the spring.. beautiful!

Michala Gyetvai (Kayla coo) said...

Your studio is going to be amazing!
It's situation will be incredibly inspiring.
Thank you again for sharing your beautiful landscape.
I'm so sorry to hear about your nieces husband and I send you lots of love .
Michala x