Monday, December 28, 2015

A few of my favorite things. . .

This morning--in the studio for the first time in several days--I felt a deep gleam of joy. At least that is the word that comes closest to what I was feeling. Nothing extraordinary was happening: I was just matching perle cotton thread to the strip of fabric I was about to sew down. And even the color was not awe-inspiring--just a medium value gray that would by itself excite no one. But there it was--as I laid several tones of gray thread on the fabric, looking closely at each, I felt a physical sense of . . . joy.

It has been a strange December with new issues of concern arising every day within my circle of friends and family and broadening out to national and world events and personalities. It was looking like a bleak midwinter. And so this morning I sought balance, sought more things that brought me joy even amid the worry.

I noticed the mallards swimming in the pond below our yard and again these were not the showy wood ducks that raised their babies there this summer but just this everyday kind of duck. And I remembered how surprised and delighted I was a few days ago when, as I was watching the males circle around and upend themselves in the water, I could see their bright orange legs maneuvering under the water. Again that little glow spread through me.

Above the pond the sky was graying into a snow sky, suggesting that the predictions for our first snow of the season might be right, and I remembered the hushed feeling of anticipation, of joy?, that is always there as I watch the first three or four snowflakes of a snowstorm quietly fall--a scene I will miss tonight since the storm is due to start after 1 AM. It's a feeling I tried to capture in a little quilt I made a couple of years ago, called "Verge."

And there is joy when I settle into a book and realize I am in the hands of a master craftsman who knows how to tell a lively, meaningful tale. Later in the afternoon I began reading a Christmas present from my daughter--Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and there it was again. She began with the story of the poet Jack Gilbert, who wrote, "We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world." 

Coincidences also can bring me joy.

Peace and joy to us all this holiday season!

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Yesterday Tom and I walked Salisbury Beach with our very happy Goldendoodle, but the sea was not happy. It was a cloudy 4 PM and definitely moving on toward night up here in our part of New England. And the waves were as we had never seen them, although that can be said about most of our trips to the beach. But these waves were breaking with a loud boom right at the shoreline, and there was something a bit dangerous about them, not frightening, but enough to make all those ancient instincts take notice. The fact that we three were the only ones on the beach also hinted that perhaps we should not be there, that we were in forbidden territory or at least breaking a rule or two.

And I was aware of each of the elements of this scene and my reactions to them as Terra romped in front of us as we walked. The sea was as beautiful as it was dangerous, its shadowy blue gray stretching to the horizon where it met the lighter gray of the clouds. And where did the peace I felt come from? No absolute clarity here, just a complex, paradoxical mix of emotions and thoughts and images, like life.