My oh my...how lovely this October has been. The most colorful autumn I've ever seen since moving here in 1995. So much rain usually brings on drab colors - very few flaming reds and oranges - yellows usually a muted tone. But this year has been spectacular in comparison. I've been walking up the mountain early in the mornings before the sun rises. The only sounds being the gravel underfoot, the dog breathing, and the occasional bovine beller. Yesterday I walked to the top - about a mile or so uphill and when I turned back towards home down below I saw that the sun was pushing its way through the clouds, soon to drip over the ridge and blanket the hills in a fuzzy, orange glow. I raced for home, grabbed my camera and rode back up the hill on the quad (hereafter referred to as the "farm truck"). Just in time. I sat perched on the edge of the slowly turning earth feeling like I just might be shaken off if it were to sneeze. Deeply rusted manzanita branches clung to the hillside in striking contrast to the pale, sagey leaves. And the birds...goodness the birds! By the thousands, I'd swear! All chirping and flashing from low brush to towering pine and back again. Pay no attention to the woman on the bright red beast - the woman with the frumpy sweats, dirty shoes, and disheveled morning hair do clicking away, then stopping to observe. I have yet to find complete silence in anywhere of nature I've ever been. There seems to always be some lullaby sound - birds, waves, creek, wind, time pushing slowly on.
I looked out over the small valley, down to the little clump of trees that shelters our house and the freshly tilled garden plot just northwest of the clump - ready for the 9 blueberry "tester" plants that will go in the ground very soon. Very very soon. Though the small two acres of ours clings to a slight hillside, the valley on the whole, cradles it as if it were a delicate egg in a nest - potential all shoved inside a tiny little shell.
I'm loving being home. It seems like it's been well over a year since I have fully been able to settle into much of a domestic routine and i, by nature, am a very domestic person and all that is domestic bliss. Not the June Cleaver-perfectly decorated kind of domesticity. More like the lived-in-tousled-collections-and dirty-boots kind of domesticity. Life buzzing, treehouse building, perfection. I love traveling - meeting new people, experiencing new adventures - but home has my heart and without a good, long grounding here, I feel a bit like I'm floundering. I know many of you know exactly what I mean. I have deadlines nipping at my heels, a pile of fabric calling to be stitched into Christmas gifts, a collection of jewelry to be sent to the other coast. Lots of wonderful energy moving about here.
I've made this little video of my October world. The sunrise from that spot on the hill, the colors of this very small town (you'll see Main Street in the video along with our only park - a beautiful one at that), the twinkle of not-so-little-anymore Annabelle rescuing chestnuts from the ground. I could say this is my favorite season. I have plenty of reason to do so. But then spring would come and I would be repeating myself and you wouldn't know WHAT to beleive! :) Truth is, my favorite season is that space between seasons...when you can feel the one before on the outbreath and the one creeping in with the inbreath.
Finally...I have added some new pieces to my etsy shop just now. Fresh with the scents, colors, and energy of autumn - each and every piece. Pick yourself some apples and a pair of earrings, if you'd like. The frost has set the sugars and life is sweet....
Sunday morning seemed to hint of rain. The warmer-than-usual-but-still-cool morning called me outside...and who am I to argue with a perfectly intoxicating autumnal beckoning? Even when the sun burned through the cloud cover, the temperature was still deliciously perfect - the October light slowing up time. We found our way out the door, down the road and into the open sky that is as open as sky gets around here. The older I get, the more I love an open sky - the horizon pushing the sides of the windshield wider to take it all in.
We spent some time yesterday afternoon, Annabelle and I, watching Vinnietheman play with his inner child. Man, I love that boyish twinkle he gets when he's either a)flying his airplanes or b)up to something mischievous...usually involving him gusting through the house, slamming doors in a rush (if remembering to shut them at all), maybe a little wrapping paper, and it all ending with that twinkle and hands guiding me somewhere making sure my eyes are shut. :) I'm a lucky, lucky girl. Blessed, to be sure.
An hour or so in an open, empty flying field goes by very quickly when you find yourself distracted by the shadows on the bridge over the dry grass ditch or looking at the blending colors of green in new, autumn grass. This patch reminded me of the leaves that Andy Goldsworthy weaves together and sets free down a creek - the colors blending from yellow to green to orange to red.
I had a couple of these spools when I was a kid. I remember they lived in the backyard but never in a specific place. We'd use them as serving tables for back yard bar-b-ques, stages to dance on, and - my favorite - turned up on side running on the center section rolling across the lawn. Racing with my big brother who made sure to let me win just enough to keep me having fun but not enough to make me get to prideful. Whenever I see these spools - usually in industrial yards with miles of cable or wire wrapped around them - I remember those two we had. I wonder what ever happened to them....I think I'll phone dad and ask him.
The weather is magic today, too. No sunshine but the temperature pulls and pulls and pulls on me..."come. Be with me out here. Just sit and savor the stillness of today....of right now". Again, who am I to argue?
The windows of the studio are thrown open. I'm working away at the table feverishly for the first time in weeks. I've needed the rest - the time to reacquaint myself with my surroundings - but now I am a flurry with ideas. Ideas that are finding their way into pieces of jewelry both for a gallery on the other side of the country and for my etsy shop - for those of you who have been asking and ever-so-patiently waiting. :) I will be listing some new pieces, inspired by some of the pieces in my book, Friday morning at 10:00 am PST. I hope to keep my little shop well stocked for the upcoming holiday season.
And so I leave you with this beautiful work...
I should have announced this so long ago. :) You know the routine...my lengthy novella posts...I didn't want this amazing news to get lost in one of those.
I'm so excited to share with you all that I will be taking my first trip to Australia to teach in March. I'm so excited I can't stand it! Excited, nervous, uncertain, optimistic. All of it. As many of you know who have attended my classes before, I often have three tag-a-longs. My family, my sanity, my heart-home. And, this trip will be no different. I feel so blessed to be able to offer these opportunities to my girls! To give them more to their cache of possibilities for them to draw on as they grow into what calls to them each. To see the world - for the love of Pete!! The school days missed will be well spent expanding their horizons in ways no classroom could. Vinnietheman, ever the adventurer, is grumbling much more than I would have expected...something about hours and hours on a plane. I just laugh and return to kicking rocks in the driveway or wondering what that smell is coming out of the fridge. He'll get over it without any help from me, I guarantee.
I'm honored and grateful that Bevela invited me to participate in this small and intimate retreat. There will be two other teachers there as well and as far as I know, our classes are already filled or close to. Thank you to all of you who have signed on as students for this and all my other classes I've taught/am teaching. You all deserve some homemade pumpkin pie - light on the cloves, heavy on the crust.
(Vince did the dirty deed and "rescued" these of a fallen bluebird for me. Aren't they beutiful!?!?)
Since I don't quite yet know how to have just a one-subject post, I thought I'd also mention to check out the iMixes I FINALLY figured out how to put on my side bar!! :) I'm having so dang much fun putting these together (thanks to this guy) and thought you might like to crawl inside my head for a while and see what makes me groove....no? Okay then...at least just enjoy the music. :) See the iMixes? Over there to the right? Scroll up a bit....yup..there they are. Just click and enjoy...and watch for November's to show up on along about, say, November.
Inspired by this radiant, sparkling, woman, here are 5 really good things about today:
1)the sun. Holy cow the sun is amazing today - the cool air, autumn is HERE - fully planted.
3)This music sent to me by a dear friend.
4) sorting through pictures on the old computer. My how they've grown - those wild horses that stampede through this house morning and night....all teenagey and silly.
5) you. for being here, reading this. Thank you.
And I leave you with a song I've loved since I was 9...
"I think I'm turned around;
I'm looking up
I'm not looking down"
My favorite line from the song I used in my video (last post). When I first heard it, the words reached through my fears and grabbed hold of something familiar. I remembered that I feel most real when I'm looking up. Up and out and inward all at once with a cockeyed optimism (i.e. trust) that often feels as "the exception" in the world today. Grumpy post office line patrons, impatient four-way-stop drivers, at-their-wit's-end mothers with waling babies reaching for a hold, annoyed grocery clerks, and people whose lives just seem to generally be a struggle. This is not how I enjoy spending much of my time or energy and I love that I have a different choice. In every instant there is an opportunity to choose a better feeling for myself. I don't always make it, but I have it.
Many of you asked who sings the song on the video -- it's the beautiful music of Azure Ray. I love both their "Hold on Love" and self titled albums. The song I used is called "Displaced". I love it right now - it feels so...so...autumnal. :)
The other day my friend Sue and I went for a little jaunt to a place called Spit and Polish. Is that not the best name ever for an antique shop?!?! Let alone one that is up a valley, out a long road, in the woods and nowhere near anything commercial other than a little corner market where the valley-living-hippy-throwbacks (said affectionately) can buy milk, eggs etc (organic, of course).
This man and his wife have I think 8 buildings on their densely wooded land - two of which house antiques a plenty. All clean and organized in a way that is very much unlike what I would expect from a hole-in-the-wall-boondocks sort of place. They have so many things that just aren't found elsewhere around here and when it's time to purchase a new light fixture for my dining room, I know JUST where to go to get said fixture. A tin one with a fluted edge that was pulled out of an old barn from long ago. Yes! :)
Every time I see the shiny copper toilet tank floats in the hardware store I wonder what they would look like covered in a verdigris haze...now i know. I love make-do building and repair that harkens to a time when the cleverness of the human nature found ingenious ways to repair what was broken or finish what was unfinished or build what needed building with what was readily on hand.
The day yesterday was spent engaged in a race against the winter rains. There'll be here very soon and when it finally settles in, it will likely not stop until Spring. There is much to do before then - before the rains come. This land we've lived on a year now is sterile in so many ways. Hillside, rocky sand and clay soil that will not bend to my patterns of gardening - dig hole, plant, water, see flourish with little effort. Wherever I want. The last three lands we've lived on have been loam - rich, fertile soil. This place is different. A gradual slope and native Oregon White Oaks present a shovel-full of challenges which I plan to work with, through, and around...one way or another I will find a way to garden here that works for me AND the land.
Yesterday I spent the day chasing Vinnietheman around on a tractor. HE was on the tractor. I was on foot with shovel and rake bending and moving and shoveling and rocklifting and all sorts of things to clean the slate so to speak. I love the hum of the tiller and the smell of that loosened soil. I could easily be a full time farmer quite happily, thankyouverymuch. :)
Grass seed needs planting. Soil needs ammending. The freshly turned and leveled new garden area - big and spacious - beckons me and causes me to halucinate images of six foot tall tomato plants, rows of blueberry bushes, chard, beets, peas, raddishes, carrots, more beets, corn, basil, cosmos (white is my favorite), sunflowers and more. I can see it all in my mind's eye when I stand at the edge of the deck looking down into the pasture where the freshly tilled and leveled plot is and it feels like a hug. A big, warm, spirit filled hug. Come over some September afternoon and we can feast together on the harvest. We'll feast and feast and laugh until the sun sets behind the hills over that way and then we'll light a fire and laugh some more.
We watched a wonderful movie last night. One that warms me to the core. Something about a set-in-his-ways man finding his inner rhythm and music makes my spirit feel so grateful - so grateful he was listening because now...now he can really shine for the world and for himself. (Yes, I know it was a fictional movie, but the story is real for many I'm certain. I think of my dad and his late night guitar strumming. Heart smiles a plenty.)
I went out on the deck last night wrapped in a blanket to feel the chill in the air. To smell the cold settling on the fields. Delicious. And the moonshadows on the grass below mesmerized me with their patterns. I thought it might be fun to capture them so I retreived the tripod from the closet, changed my ISO and aperature settings and this was the result.
It looks almostlike broad daylight but it was after midnight. It wasn't this bright in real life but I loved how the camera captured it. Do you see the garden plot? There just beyong the fence? See how wonderful the view will be from this verys spot when the brown is filled with green so dense and luscious is calls me to it? Tonight the moonshadows are just as mesmerizing. I'm so grateful I can see.
Tomorrow I start a three (or more) day juice and broth fast with a dear friend. I love a good fresh start and I will most appreciate the palette cleanse i will gain from this. I will have less of an apetite for sugar - a lowered tolerance so to speak. I'll keep you posted on how it's going though Sadie might be a little more present-minded than I after a couple of days. Look! I got ANOTHER good picture of her! And she's smiling no less!
There are so many stories I could share from my time in Portland. It was wonderful in so many ways - the rich ways that come with this little life I share with those I pass...often like ships in the night at events like these. So full of happenings and incredible people. In the three and a half days I taught, I saw so much beauty in the eyes of the students. The willingness never ceases to amaze me. I saw trepidation turn to confidence, uncertainty turned to certainty, enthusiasm turn to direction and I saw bravery - right there in the front seat and glowing from the very back seat. First timers to seasoned makers of things - thank you all so very much for spending that time with me. I am honored and grateful.
I took very few pictures during my time there. Seems I was so caught up in the moment and the blur of activity that the camera mostly stayed tucked away in it's cozy bag. Oddly, I feel no regret because the fuzzy memory of my "butterfly landing" there is planted in my mind. (Butterflies land for a moment - enough to savor sweet nectar and off again they fly).
Inspired by Misty's beautiful video, I made one myself from the few photos I took while in Portland. I've put it to music and I was thinking as i listened to the song that I imagine that the fitting song would be different for each person. I suppose it would have been lovely to have just a few more shots of dear ones...just a few.
Thank you again to all of you students! Again, I am grateful to you. And to Glenny and her helpers who make it all run so smoothly.