I am holding a bird
its eyes dim
where it lays in my hands
its feathers are the armor
that could not resist my hunger
I lift my gaze
the horizon is now
a rumple and tilt of
grass in the gloaming
carry me towards the thing that changes with each step I take
at my heels
sharp nosed and
I think I understand
between then and now
as I cross basalt rubble
rising over rugged stone against the wind
and the cruelty of time
lifting as the birds breast did
against the sun
and my fingertips
the bird still warm
on my back
where I carry it close
as the night comes on)
I walk faster
to defeat the tension in my bones
my skin taut in the breeze
my eyes streaming
each step renewing
the horizon of now
that falls as far away
I actually came up with this design last winter during uplanding season. Robbie and I spent so much time out on the land together and I remember being obsessed with the way the land rises up in rippling humps of stone and grass, fading into the distance as it reaches out wider and wider against the glare of the sun, and the way that same growing and shrinking and fading was echoed in the feathers of the birds we hunted behind our dogs and shot for our dinner table and echoed again in the long spines of deer and elk, killed by winter, that I continuously found out there amidst the sage and bitter brush.
This necklace seems minimal in design but it represents something so complex and wild and steady…something I get to be a part of when I hunt and walk the land in Idaho.
Oh, I don’t know.
Heck if I can tell you what it’s really all about.
When you look at it, your eyes either embrace the texture and form and find it beautiful, or they don’t. I took the form, the crescendo and decrescendo of it, directly from nature, from the land, from my genuine life moments, from the birds that fed me, from the white bones of the winter kills stark against black rock, from the rhythms of a simple, wild life.
It is SO beautiful on. Elegant. Fierce. Otherworldly. It wears like a small shield against the chest — like feathered vertebra for all the world to witness. Gorgeous. 100% sterling silver on a beautiful chain. Satin finished and lightly burnished.
This is a piece of light.
Find it in the shop today at 4PM, PST…with 37 other bits and pieces of my journey.
The studio was such a zoo this weekend! Thanks to everyone, near and far, who came to the Methow Valley to support me and the artist community here. It was such a pleasure to meet you, hug you and in most cases, send you off with a piece of my work!
I’m off to the high country tomorrow on a quick shoot before I begin to photograph leftover work and list it in my Etsy shop. I need a little break from this space before I begin to pack it up and wind it down for the summer season. Preparing for this open studio tour was VERY wonderful for me. It was a concentrated patch of studio time…such as I haven’t had in a long while. Just beautiful.
I can’t believe we’re already in transition again out of this fire season and into the next leg of life. It seems too soon, in a goldilocks-y kind of way (as in, JUSsssSSSsssT right). Did I tell you yet? We’re headed back to Idaho for the winter! We’ll be in the strawbale house for a full six months. I’m already itching to get set up and working again never mind getting out into chukar country to stroll around with the dogs. Rob and I are feeling free and are looking forward to some solitude with each other.
Hang tight for an updated Etsy shop. It’s on the way, by and by.
First, I must sleep.
I’ve had a few crazy dreams brewing in my mind for the past few years:
- Own a sturdy, intelligent mountain horse that can handle any terrain I put it on. A horse that will be a good friend to me, who will accept my adoration and adore me in return. Teach that horse, gently, about shotguns and get it to a place where I can hunt birds behind my bird dogs from off its back in the wild and desolate chukar and Hungarian partridge country of Idaho. Can you imagine? Oh, I imagine it daily. I’m starting to worry about it in my sleep…about making it happen sooner than later.
- Find a ranch property big enough and wild enough to erect a little yurt-village area (or maybe wall tents or something delightfully shabbier than that…or a mini-lodge…) where I can have women come visit me with the intention of learning how to bird hunt, how to ride horses, how to cook wild game, how to garden, how to do canning and preserving, how to go forth confidently into nature and the woods and the mountains, how to catch/gut/cook a fish, how to build a fire with wet or dry fuel, how to do all of that stuff that they never learned from their mums and dads. I don’t want to have a dude ranch. I want to have a place folks come to where they can learn how to grab life by the horns. I want to teach independence. I want to teach homesteading stuff in a natural, everyday setting and help ladies, specifically, change their lives and start living their dreams. People keep asking me if I’ll teach them how to make jewelry, but that’s not the place my teaching heart is at. It’s elsewhere. Somewhere bigger and wilder and more life altering…
- I’d like an English setter, an English pointer, a gordon setter and more German shorthaired pointers. I might even like to breed one these breeds professionally, aiming to keep hunting drive as strong as possible in my kennels bloodlines.
- I’d like to have a sense of permanence again. A feeling of settledness. A feeling of belonging (more steadfastly) to a place. I’m ready for a home but we’re picky about how we would like that home to be. I’d like to have peace about being so unrooted all the time. I’d like to be better at being nomadic or I ‘d like to no longer be nomadic. And chickens.
I keep waking up in the morning and evaluating my life, figuring out what still works and what doesn’t. I navigate like this. I outline my joys and tether myself to them, dig up, discover and dissect my fears and failures, take what lessons I can from them, and toss the grubby tailings in the rubbish pile.
This is a time for illumination, pace setting, dream getting. This is life. This is every moment of life. Always. It’s like I need a seatbelt for my spirit at all times so that the force and power of momentum doesn’t slingshot it out of my body and into thin air to be lost and wandering forever.
I’ve locked my keys in the truck twice in the past three days. It’s totally embarrassing. My brains are tired. I’ve been working so much. Every day I have this massive yearning to escape to the woods or a mountain top or the river — to lay down and just breathe a little and relax and not strain my eyes or feel my shoulders and neck tensing as I saw out ten thousand little bits and pieces of metal. I’m overwhelmed by the feeling as soon as I roll out of bed. But still I come to the studio to work. It’s not joyless work, not at all, but I am getting tired and ready for a break. And there is rest coming to me.
A friend told me to not work too hard. I replied, “It’s my hard work that gives value to my successes. I will work as hard as I can.”
Yesterday, while waiting for Robert to save me from being locked out of my truck, I was sitting in a pile of rocks at the post office and feeling so angry with myself for being such an idiot and wasting time that I couldn’t afford to waste — especially since as I was hopping out of the truck I thought to myself, “Do NOT lock your keys in the truck!” And then I did anyway.
I realized it didn’t do anyone any good for me to get all crusty and terrifying about my life situation. I could feel myself beginning to tornado. And just like that, I stopped it. I quit it, cold turkey. When Robbie arrived I think he expected me to be outwardly frustrated with myself and the planet and the chipmunks and the beautiful wind in the trees. Instead he found me pleasant and peaceful and simply OK with the mistake I had made and the time it had cost me.
I caught him off guard with my peace.
Sometimes all you have to do is choose the other thing.
I think it’s probably always as easy as simply choosing the other thing: love, peace, kindness, joy, forgiveness…
Just choose them.
Over and over again.
My friend sent me a small poster that says, “RESISTANCE of the heart against business as usual.” I look at it constantly as I work and am becoming my own little rebel unto myself, making the changes that need making, destroying old habits, learning new rhythms, and being ok. Just being ok.
It’s so beautiful on base right now. Quiet. Golden. We had the mess hall to ourselves last night. We cooked gorgeous ribeye steaks, roasted garden squash, chopped salsa, sipped gin & tonics, played Bob Dylan on the stereo and chit chatted about our plans for the winter. I love this time of year. We’re about to break away from it all and I’m ready to run free.