Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Spiral Beginning

The time comes when one must begin - even when feeling resistance, 
uncertainty, lack of clarity - one simply must begin. 

For that to happen, I know by now, means I must go to the studio and do something. 
I know I've written about this before here. It almost doesn't matter what I do, but 
I must go and know that I am easing into something... I tell myself I can explore, 
write, look at books, arrange things on shelves, sit and drink tea... wait. 
This is my strategy and it works. Eventually I notice something, like a whisper, as 
little by little my work speaks to me, and I begin. 

I've fantasized about being a person who has a rigid routine, where month in and 
month out, I'd know where to be when. But there is an organic ebb and flow to my
art making as it is just one thread in a rich tapestry that is my work. Each thread contributes to the colorful whole, and there is cross-pollination - singing inspires a 
story, teaching inspires a painting, painting inspires a ritual, a walk inspires me to write. The stewarding of the forest and the growing of flowers provides the wind and the insects who, of course, are the main cross-pollinators. 

So I took myself to the studio, journal in hand, to begin. I swept fallen flower 
petals from the floor, re-arranged my inspiration shelves, looked at books and 
images pinned to boards. I sat and wrote in my lovely journal by Oberon Design
- a gift to myself at Christmas that I have been coveting for years. I'm glad I 
waited a few years as they now make a cover sized for Moleskins journals that 
suits me perfectly. 


 I spent a moment to admire the variation of zipper patterns on shells, 
and to listen to the conversations between things and in the wind. 

One day I started to draw. I played with spirals in atmospheres/ 
I don't much like the results, but something was learned, 
and, most importantly, a dialog has begun. 

Late one afternoon, I returned from the studio, to discover that a pair 
of juncos made a spiral piece of their own, much too close to the front 
door. I wasn't sure what to do about this as they were rather 
alarmed when I opened the door. After much delibration, 
and seeing that the basket was hanging by a thread, I quickly 
tied a new string loop and hung the basket higher and away from 
the door a tiny bit. But they haven't been back. Its late 
anyway, maybe they were just practicing their weaving?  

Pollen is bursting out of the helenium, and plenty of 
bugs are working hard to spread the bounty around. 

Though beautiful outside, last week was so hot that niether of us 
here - the two legged or the four legged - got much done except to find 
the places outside with the most shade and air movement for napping. We're 
both enjoying the cooler days now, but tomorrow I'll be doing a rain 
dance to attract the thunderstorms which are forecast to be traveling about.

Monday update: Rain last night throughout the night! More predicted here 
and there in the week. We need it. I guess I did a rain dance in my sleep, 
along with many others.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Medicine of Home

A cool breeze carrying the scent of purple petunias snakes past my toes. I've 
shut off the music to listen to the evening songs of Hermit Thrushes and 
Robins and watch the breath-like movement of the canopy against a blue-gray 
sky. My breath is slow and even and I finally feel a deep sense of calm - I am 
home in the cool forest, the studio is finished, the opening festival has come and
gone and I think just maybe I can begin to find my natural rhythm and flow again.  

I see that it has been about a month since my last post - back when the forest 
was lush and full of salamanders and gleaming with moisture. With plentiful spring 
rains, the foxgloves grew high on one side of the old studio, and the lupine 
on the other.

In the moss garden, a stone bunny shelters in the low growth, and somewhere 
in the forest, Pasha found a bunny-family and brought me a few. The first one 
was quite dead, an offering dropped on the Persian carpet with great pride. 

The following day, he came dashing in and dropped a live bunny at my feet. 
I whisked her up and into a box and still in my bathrobe drove down the road to 
let her find a new home near the field. 

It seemed that June (and maybe April and May, too) was full of dashing about 
preparing for this and that, with less time for art-making and forest-dreaming and 
more than the usual amount of stress and anxiety and goings-on. The day after 
Solstice, I ran off to Florida to help my mother when she returned from the hospital 
after major surgery. It was to be for a week, but ended up being two: a gift 
that my not-so-mainstream life-style allowed. Mum is doing quite well, but 
recovery is slow and intense and has its ups and downs. 

Shortly after my arrival, tropical storm "Debby" came whirling in bringing a week 
of rain and tornadoes and a bit of anxiety. Eventually the sun came back out,  

and the duckies put on their sunglasses and hung out at the pool. There was little 
time to explore the jungle around the house, but I did steal a moment with my 
father for the tour. 

Entering the garden through the arbor, one is met with the smell 
of jasmine and gardenia and little geckos scurrying away. 

 Tall laurel oaks and live oaks support climbing plants,
and twining vines and bands of happy blue jays.

My favorite place is occupied by a magnificent stand of bamboo. 
Silhoutted in the morning light, it was a joy to awaken to everyday.  

My proud Dad leads the tour, and I'm amazed at how much work he has done 
here since my visit last year. We share a deep love of the land - and of creating 
beauty with plants and stones. A shame there are no stones in Florida for him 
to place here and there as he did in Massachusetts, but maybe better for his back! 

Beautiful scented shrubs and flowers and strange succulents 
clinging to coral, birds of paradise, palms and passionflowers fill 
this small garden, as well as orange, grapefruit and banana trees. 

At the far edge of the garden, a moss covered pine marks the boundary. 
I love the draping of the Spanish Moss, but Dad says its a bit to raggedy looking 
for him. 

Back at RavenWood, the garden is dry and thirsty. Little rain has fallen in 
the two weeks I was away and a few favorite plants died. Still there are plenty 
of well established plants in the right soil that are thriving, and happiest of all 
are the native plants.  

One thriving and very happy native is Pasha -kitty. For a kitty who is rarely 
ever inside, he endured the longest time on house-arrest ever! He had visitors 
to feed him, visitors to play with him and even one to do some writing so he 
wouldn't be alone one day. I wasn't sure how I would be greeted when I returned, 
but it was the sweetest purr-fest ever!

The luna moths have gone, replaced by other moths - but none so spectacular. 
Without much rain, evenings are quiet without the singing tree frogs. Even the cricket
hum is strangely low. I'm anxious to get into the studio and see what emerges and 
to wander amongst the trees with Pasha to sit with the stones and drink the wild
forest medicine. I appreciate the lush beauty of Florida - the fragrant flowers and 
amazing birds - but I belong to this land of mosses and hemlocks and pools of still
waters. I'm happy to be home to watch the garden grow for a while.