We hiked through the woods yesterday with the dogs, collecting river driftwood and generally loving the signs of spring ~ skunk cabbage and the occasional red-tailed hawk. Donovan rolled in something nasty at sunset and got his first spring bath when we got home.
The other night as we watched the full moon rise, we gathered around a creekside fire to poke sticks through marshmallows with the little cousins and try to get that perfect golden-brown. I remembered an instance involving toasted marshmallows last summer when camping with Tim. Now, I grew up toasting marshmallows but apparently Tim did not, which I did not know till that moment, for as his marshmallow dropped off his stick into the coals, he watched with sudden trepidation as it swelled to huge proportions. He suddenly shielded his face while yelling It's like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!! and lunged back away from the fire, expecting the mallow to explode into flaming, piping-hot bits...as it did in Ghostbusters. When things like that happen I usually just sit back and laugh till I cry. So I did.
In these warmer delightfully springy days, I've been reading a lot of nature-themed books ~ the type where the author is writing about their own experiences, so it's full of stories. I would recommend Of Time and An Island and On Watching Birds, both of which I stumbled across at a thrift shop. When I find a good book that way, I know it was meant to be. I also found a great children's book, The Saturdays, in which I discovered these sentences: "All over the house suitcases gaped open hungrily and two ancient trunks were being slowly fed, bit by bit: delicious morsels such as Oliver's overalls, Mona's party dress, assorted bathing suits, six pairs of sneakers, Beethoven's Sonatas, the Milk of Magnesia, the iodine, three rolls of adhesive tape, litters of socks and scores of other things. The trunks had been in the family for years and years and were encrusted with labels from far places."
That makes me want to take a long voyage, bake something delicious, write a list of favorite things, and read a story while sitting in a window seat on a rainy day, all at once. The book also has 3 sequels which I just requested at my library. In the process I saw Patron has outstanding fines block on my online library account. I only owe $0.30 yet somehow it makes me feel like a criminal. :)
Hello! Just popping by quickly today to share mimi and her willow twig madness. (look at her pupils!) I'm feeling a bit mad myself with this new season upon us, and am going to funnel some of that feeling into some wild caffeinated poem-writing this afternoon.
Upon entering a japanese garden, you first rinse your hands and your mouth in a ritual gesture of cleaning both inside and outside. Leaving your impurities behind, you enter physically and symbolically cleansed.
When springtime comes and I start spending large amounts of time outside, I come back in after a long day and marvel at my wintery ability to spend so much time in the house. Returning inside feels claustrophobic, stifling. I've felt recently that a good cleaning was in order.
So last night I decluttered. I made a cup of cherry juice and seltzer, put on a good book on cd, and let the dog out into the moonshiny garden. And as I decluttered I checked on the big moon outside, and thought about the full moon rising over the mountains on Saturday night as I warmed by a creekside bonfire, watching the flames and the moonlight ripple on the water.
I kept asking myself, is dusting and caring for this item worth keeping me from doing more things like that? It feels cleansing for me both inside and outside to declutter. It's eye-opening to see the emotional responsibility I feel towards my objects, and to think about why I buy things and what kind of things I choose to have around me.
I'm continuing to clean out things today ~ I'm going now to tackle the studio, which is filled with much flotsam and jetsam. I have a candle lit and a big pot of tea at the ready, along with a quiche hot from the oven for lunch.
Good luck with your Monday projects, and Happy Spring!
If you do nothing else today, make sure you watch the moonrise from wherever you are. Tonight's full moon will appear the biggest in 18 years. I'll be up near Hawk Mountain for a birthday party in the woods and am going to keep my eye out there to catch it.
Thank you for all your compliments about the kitchen! We have done our fair share of gasping too as one by one everything came together. Wanting to have a hand in things, we found our sink on Craigslist (about 2 years ago: it's for an RV!), treated the wood counters ourselves, and painted the walls, cabinets and baseboards ourselves too. The main element was to be the arch ~ I am so pleased with how it turned out. With how everything turned out.
Might I add that Tim designed the kitchen layout. This whole thing was really his baby.
Today's warm stillness drew me out into the garden where I planted collards, spinach, turnips and lettuce. A lot is sprouting up ~ chamomile, fennel, chives, and the garlic that I brought back from Seattle and planted in the fall. I love coming in from the garden, scratched and dusty, showering, putting on fresh clothes and getting some dinner together. Now we actually have room to spread out!
A rainy day here with a dripping garden soon to be seeded with lettuces, kale, and spinach. My cold fingers hold a hot cup of honeyed tea as I look out the window studded with raindrops onto a pale sky. I just couldn't wait for a sunny day to share pictures of the kitchen ~ so here it is!
We have been enjoying it so much. Yesterday I made Tim a few scrambled eggs with goat cheese as he sat on the stool on the other side of the counter. We chatted and I cooked and we were out of each other's way. There are still some wrinkles to iron out, but the last main thing is for me to find enough beautiful dried twists of branch to make the door handles and drawer pulls. So imagine the cupboards with those on. It has such a woodsy feel in there. And the green is called Camping Green.
I keep finding Mimi on the counter. We don't usually let pets on the counter. (Where is the word counter from anyways?)
It's a little crowded around here as we place items back into the kitchen, clean up, and try to wrap our brains around cooking again. Today while Tim is at work I'm going to refine and burnish and hang pictures.
There's something so beautifully tidy yet picturesquely ramshackle about Somer's cabinets. They make me feel like I'm in France. It's like a still life by Morandi. There's something about teacups dangling by their handles that gets me every time. And no, her cabinets aren't really on a slant, it's my picture-taking eye that seems to be.
On another kitchen-related note, our new dishwasher makes a noise like a far off ocean bell buoy as it gently cleans and chimes our stemless wine glasses.
Yesterday I painted the kitchen with two coats of white paint. I got so much done I even hung some framed stuff. Pretty soon we'll be all done in there and I can show you. I'm going to take it slow until it's all done. Some projects you just can't force. (what can you force, really? hmm. food for thought. for me.)
The opening went great yesterday. It was a day of torrential rain, old and new friends, 2 straight hours of people, and my PopPop almost knocking over a floor sculpture. I enjoyed myself. I also gained some good perspective on my work and got some ideas for new pieces.
Thank you so so much for all your well-wishes yesterday!
Today is a day for tea, painting the kitchen and Iron & Wine.
How enchanting is that polaroid above? I swear they take me, not the other way around.
Sitting here in the morning sunshine, the cat gazing at me with one paw resting on my jeans, and the house quiet after a raucous show involving a rottweiler and his favorite squeeky tennis ball, I think over the list of things to do swirling around my head. I do this every morning.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood*
And that's me ~ the long stooding part. I think and think and weigh and measure, because I simply haven't got enough time in the day to do all I want to do, all that "needs" doing. All I envision.
Last week I went to Kripalu (center for yoga & health) in the Berkshire mountains of massachusettes for a couple of days. I went for a change of scene, to eat their marvelous food, drink a dozen cups of tea, sit and write in front of the mountain-facing windows, go for snowy hikes and steam in the sauna. It was a beautiful time. The place was heated, the meals served, the room simple, and the mountains stunning. I did not have to cook or clean or buy anything. Even there, though, I noticed the feeling that I wanted to do it all. (Oh, no ~ this mentality is not confined to home.) I wanted to go to a yoga class and write and hike and check out the lake and I wanted to do it all now.
But I can't do it all now.
And the question arises: Am I soaking in what I am doing/ being/ experiencing? Or am I just skimming along to get to the next thing? Cause if I don't sink into it, I'm often going to be searching for the next thing that'll give me that feeling of satisfaction, of completion. A third dog, a bigger garden, a child, beehives, learning to knit, buying a plane ticket, a year-long membership to the art museum (cough.) Once the kitchen is painted ~ the house cleaned ~ once we plant the seeds ~ once I learn how to can. Following this philosophy, I'll only be happy after I'm dead.
I'm often leaning forward out of this moment and grasping at the next. Why is it so hard to soak in what I have? Does it feel like I'm settling? Is my happiness only fulfilled in the future?** Do I expect to be happy all the time?
I don't really have a great answer. I guess it's an ongoing question.
What are your thoughts? How do you keep focused on what you already have?
The house is coming together slowly ~ we are finding mellow spots in the chaos. I do not deal well with mess and wish everything was tidy and in its place. When I trip over something I feel like my mind is tripping over it too. Last night we reached a point in the clearing up and putting things back where we finally just left the house and went to see The King's Speech. (very good.) I also hung the show yesterday and go back tomorrow for finishing touches. It feels very vulnerable seeing so much of my work officially on display.
The above photo is so peaceful to look at. (I made that glass vase in college, and she takes such good care of it! I visit it like it's a pet.) I keep trucking along trying to get my kitchen to line up with that sense of peace.
Other items of interest ~
1. The weather forcast for today is "abundant sunshine!"
2. We got a dishwasher and are remembering how to use/ load it after at least a 10 year hiatus each.
3. I found a huge amazing wool rug at the thrift shop yesterday ~ mostly purples. Gorgeous.
4. Butcher block countertops make everything you place on them look good.
5. We are picking out the paint for the kitchen today...
6. And decided to get another truckload of firewood since, although spring is 3 weeks away, it got down to 22* F last night!
Right now the prisms are casting morning rainbows, and Lucy is giving me the eyes to be taken for a a walk. I'm off, then!
I spent a couple of days last week near Boston visiting a very dear friend, Somer. Our friendship is ever better as we grow older, even as our personal life experiences range more broadly. During my visit we caught up, sipping pot after pot of tea, chatting in a way that's not really possible on the phone. There's something so nourishing about woman-talk; sharing those thoughts and hopes; ironing out those loose ends, confiding fears thereby lessening them. Sipping a hot drink and baking bread, making soup, reading for an hour, or going out for some fresh air. There's a fortifying energy in a true friendship connection, something to count on, to trust in. It takes so much intention but it lets one be oneself in a way that's truer than doing it alone. The best friendships feel fresh.