Thursday, January 27, 2011

Iced Mornings & Fiery Skies at Dusk

Stepping outside - cold breath stings.
For days now, the land down low is hushed, 
while above ice-bound branches 
play a forest chorus 
with winter wind.  

 While I wait for the new studio heater, 
the frozen land astonishes me.  

My snowshoes are sometimes short in distance, 
but long in duration as I lean in close 
to the magic of winter ice.

A birdbath wears a funny snow-hat.
I think I've already brushed it clean 
once or twice!

Two snowstorms this week, and maybe 
another on the way, I wonder when the snow 
mountain in the driveway will melt in spring? 
My sister and I were remembering our snow caves 
carved into the side of a hill. This pile would 
be a perfect pile for a cave.

I'm now throwing snow up and over the side of the path, 
else it tumble back down to my toes. A generous 
season of snow for Western Mass, though 
its nothing compared to some northern climes. 
Luckily, I'm still loving it, but 
I'm hearing grumblings from 
folks here and there. 

One such person is Pasha cat. He was excited 
about the relative warmth today, so came outside 
with me while I shoveled. Dashing up the tree he
went, oh so excited to be out and free! 

On the way back down, still having fun. 

Oooops, that snow pile was much deeper than expected. 

Having practically disappeared in the snow,
I just couldn't contain my laughing. 
I wasn't met with an agreeable look.  

The remainder of my snow shoveling was observed 
from the window. 

 I can't say whether the avalanche of snow
the wind released from the tree above me
had anything to do with the spectator in
the window. 

Ah well, I survived. I was wearing my 
thick wool dreadlock hat. 

I wish the dreads would grow....

Out and about earlier in the week,
my camera sits in for a paintbrush, 
capturing moments of golden light
and winter inspiration.

The last of the light brings in high drama. 
I am spellbound, walking and freezing in the subzero 
windchill, camera clicking away.

How much these last three are like my painting, 
"Gold Afternoon", above in the sidebar.

Wandering the land at the edge of the day, 
 my cauldron fills with inspiration.

Iced mornings and fiery skies at dusk -
how can I keep from singing?  

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"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Deep Winter Whispering

"Grandmother", clay, wool & feathers

The snows have come like an ancient, 
whispering grandmother, silent and powerful.  
Walking through the cold crunch of snow, 
listening to cracking trees and high, 
whistling winds, I hear winter stories 
from deep within my bones. 

Deep dreaming brings me always to my ancestors. I 
wonder about those ancient ones who survived winters
in the Northern lands of Latvia and beyond. There were 
ancestors who came from Bohemia and others from the 
Celtic lands. Still others from Georgia, so my father heard.
Though I wish their stories had been handed down like 
the silver, the story-chains have broken. It is in these times 
of deep dreaming, that something of them rises to the 
surface and broken threads are mended through my 
remembering of them. 

As a granddaughter of northern folk,   
I wonder if it is woven into me to love the 
quiet whispering of winter, and to feel 
the ancestral stories pulsing through me 
as I sit at the fire. 

Winter has blessed the forest with light and fluffy 
snow so far, with cold days and bitter nights.
Pasha and I find ourselves warming by the 
fire long into the morning. I enjoy daily 
walks in the forest or along the road, 
but Pasha is finding it just a bit too cold 
to sustain a long walk.  

Before the snows were too deep, 
I could convince him to join me for a romp 
around the yard, but as more and more 
snow has fallen, and temperatures dip 
way below freezing, I find myself 
keeping company with the puffed-up 
birds and burrowing red squirrels. 

(Do click to see the tunneling red squirrel, above)

The last storm dumped over two feet of snow, 
making getting out the back door a challenge!

The snow piles and banks along the paths grow 
steadily higher. Tonight we are expecting 
another four to eight inches. 

The snow has found itself a lovely throne in the 
winter garden, Pasha's spot for an
afternoon nap in summer. 

On my snowshoe through the forest, 
I am captivated by the simple lines of a
delicate branch, starkly contrasting with the 
white field of snow

Deep in the woodlands, the snow has 
decorated the trunks
with stripes. 

There is a magical beauty in the winter light, 
and a mysterious comfort I feel when the house 
is all tucked in with snow. 

Pasha questions my decision to stay out hours at a time, 
here he has crawled through the secret passageway 
to the porch and pleads with me to let him in, 
he has had enough!

On my way home from an afternoon errand, the sky
was full of winter fire in the west, 

while behind me in the east, the waxing moon rose 
 in the cool, blue sky. 

 I watch the moon glowing through the hemlocks 
as I write. Still no sign of the storm they say is coming, 
but my larder is stocked in case 
I'm house-bound tomorrow. 
Classes begin for me on Wednesday,
and another rhythm to my days.
The deepest of winter dreaming 
fades as the days grow slowly longer. 
With the slight lengthening of daylight, 
so, too, some shift in me. I feel a 
new inspiration, and look forward to 
seeing what stories emerge as 
I turn once again to my work.