IMG_3246Let’s begin with the beautiful things.  Let’s end with the beautiful things, too.

There are swallowtail butterflies in the echinacea patch.  There are swallowtail butterflies everywhere, really.  The gardens outside the studio door are meant for butterflies and hummingbirds.  Its a soulful pace.  I wish it was mine.  I will build and grow my own garden like this someday, when we finally land for good.

A swallowtail butterfly landed on my ribcage while  I was sitting on the edge of the lake over the weekend.  I felt its papery wings beating against my skin, I felt our two hearts separated by the wall of my bones and sinew.  Its thorny feet forced a laugh from me and then it flew off into the wind over the water.

In the same place, yesterday, a hummingbird hovered inches from the tip of my nose for a handful of seconds (a handful of seconds is an eternity to a hummingbird) before it sat on a branch beside me and stared at me for a while.  Simultaneously, a bee was crawling on me and the feeling if its feet against the skin of my stomach was lovely and sensual.

Regularly, the male bluebird, who happens to be raising a family with his drab wife in the nesting box behind the Airstream, perches on a pine branch outside the trailer door and allows me to approach within a couple of feet of where he sits wherein we both simply look at each other, cock our heads to one side, and then eventually part ways.  I sometimes wish my skin was that shade of blue.

While I was picking raspberries this morning, a cedar waxwing alighted on a cane next to me, looked at me with one unblinking eye (what a handsome profile), picked a berry with his clever beak and flew away into the sun.

I think everything knows I am feeling sad, for a myriad of reasons — for myself, of course, but I have these occasional bouts of general melancholy for all of humanity and our planet and a kind of hopelessness sinks into my bones and i just have to let it fester there for a bit until it passes on and I find faith and grace and love again.  I’m also feeling hyper-sensitive about being a pest lately; I’m walking on self-imposed egg shells.  It makes me insular and hermity (more insular and hermity that usual, that is).

I am sitting on an Adirondack chair by the bee balm.  My legs, from the knees down, are being blasted by late morning sunshine.  The heat is almost burning, down there on my toes.  As I sat down this morning, I realized one of life’s greatest pleasures must be the simple movement of sliding into an Adirondack chair, the careful schloop of the arse across a series of parallel wooden slats, the gentle recline of the upper body until it comes, solidly, to rest.

There is a piece of heaven in a well built chair.

My friend sent me an exquisite essay about hearts and blue whales and hummingbirds.  The words are like a soft security to wrap myself in.

Which reminds me, I vowed to re-read all of Hemingway’s works this summer.  A Tour de Hemingway!  Will you join me?  I read the Ten Letters Project last week which I discovered through my (brilliant and ever evolving) friend, Esme — one of my favorite lines in the book (I underlined dozens of things in every letter) is this:  ”Take all the risks.”  I think I shouted out YES when I read those four words.  The other thing I appreciated about this collection of letters is the fact that they make me feel like it’s normal to be a creative weirdo…if that makes sense…  Doing creative work can be complicated.  Doing creative work for a living can be complicated.  Being an independent artist can be complicated.  There are also times when you are faking the depth of your work and making it complicated when it isn’t and you’re tricking everyone, including yourself, except in your heart of hearts where you know, always, that you’re a fraud.  There are also times when the depth of your creative work is very real and is uncomplicated.  There are times when the complication is uncomplicated.  I’ve said the word aloud now so many times that it sounds bizarre.

I always think there should be two zeds in the word “bizarre” instead of two r’s.

I am also reading The Emerald Mile which is beautiful and makes me bitter in my heart of hearts that I cannot be in a boat every moment of the day on a river somewhere.  It’s an account of the Powell expedition of the Grand Canyon as well as a natural history of the Colorado River and also a tale of modern day adventure — to boot, it is wonderfully written.  It’s everything a superb book should be.

Last night, I went fishing, as usual.  I parked my truck in a little turn out along the Chewuch River, set up my rod, tied on a big dry fly and scrambled down the cliff towards the water.  The soft portions of the slope shifted and crumbled beneath my feet, grit found its way uncomfortably between the sole of my foot and the bed of my sandal, I paused a few times to shake my feet, loosen the coarse dust, dislodge small stones from my ginger arches.  The granite rubble held the heat of the day and was warm on the palms of my hands and fingertips.  I was sticky with sweat and bug bites and the moment I reached the bottom of the cliff and slid my feet into the water I felt one hundred degrees cooler.  I bent low, dipped my free hand in the river, and splashed a piece of it up into my face.  I stepped out and made my way across the current, fly rod in one hand and the other groping for steadiness, reaching for stone.  My well placed feet slipped off the slime of submerged river cobble and I said to myself, “Steady now.”  I made my way to the opposite bank, to the edge of night, to the musk of the willows and the killdeer piping.  I  loosened my line and began to cast my way upriver.

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“Just do your work.  And if the world needs your work it will come and get you.  And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway.  You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink.  That is the grace I’m given.  Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.”

[Kiki Smith]

I realized, last week, when I read this quote, that there is something that has been shattering me, over and over again, that I have been trying to control, trying to keep my finger on, trying to guard myself from, trying to fight, trying to create a distance from.  I am dismantling (I am working on dismantling) my need to control it.  I am working on not being hurt about it anymore.  I am working on loosening my grip and letting it go.  I am working on allowing it to figure its own way out of the maze of bull shunky it has been building for itself.

I’m not free yet.  But I am going to be.  And it will be a sweet day when I am.

When I am free.

Grow

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[sterling silver & dendritic opal]IMG_3045 IMG_3044

[sterling silver & ocean jasper]IMG_3042 IMG_3041 IMG_3040

[sterling silver & kyanite]IMG_3020 IMG_3019[sterling silver & ocean jasper]

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[sterling silver & variscite]

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[sterling silver & labradorite]

I will be listing these new pieces, and others, in my shop on Friday morning at 10AM (Pacific Time Zone).  I hope to see you there!

:::::POST SCRIPTUS:::::

June 26, 2015

Thank you all for your incredible support, today and always!  Thank you also for selling me out in 9 minutes flat this morning.  You beauties are the wind beneath my wings.

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Happy Belated Solstice

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IMG_2883 IMG_2887IMG_2948IMG_2946Happy belated solstice, everyone!  The dogs and I celebrated by taking a really, very, extremely long walk and then we slept in the dirt in a big shivering pile while the golden crescent moon poured its delicate light down onto this beautiful earth.  The shortest night of the year seemed to go on forever and it would be a lie to say it was restful but it sure was superfluously grand.  Onward into the holiness of these shrinking summer days!

How will we fit everything in?

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Three Flew In

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This morning, three birds flew into the Airstream, flapped around inside for a short while, and then flew out again…all except for this little sweetie who needed some help finding the exit once more. I was reminded of the time we lived in the Layfield house here in the Methow Valley and woodpeckers and starling used to fly down the chimney and needed to be rescued from the fireplace — scooped up carefully in my hands, walked to the french doors on the back porch and released into thin air and spooling light.

I like to think I summon these small things to myself, from time to time, when I need a little flight, when I’ve been craning my neck to bite at my own shoulder blades trying to bring my wings to the surface, to bursting, to full span so I can find the wind once more.

 

Journal Entry: June 12

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I’m trying to find my pulse now.  I keep pressing two fingers against the opposite wrist, trying to locate proof of life, trying to get a sense of my natural rhythm.  I’ve started and stopped a handful of projects in the studio.  The inspiration only lasts for a couple of days or hours before it fizzles out and I toss the project aside — out of sight, out of mind, into the scrap heap.  I’ve never needed to cleanse my palate so repeatedly.  So redundantly.  So obsessively.  I’m like a person who needs to wash their hands every five minutes.

My soul wants to gargle salt water, spit and repeat.

I need something deeper burning.  I need something longer lasting.  I need a fine fire instead of bursts of untamable sparks.

I talked to a creative friend about idea making, about dreaming up ideas, choosing from those ideas and how to actually go about following through and making good the commitment to a project — for me, seeing an idea through to the end, to completion, is one of the greatest and most terrible aspects of creative work.  I want to commit myself and my hands to the ideas that sink the deepest and plague me the most, the ideas that keep me awake at night, torn between the indolence of sleep and the loud, blank pages of my sketchbook where it sits on the travel table in the front of the Airstream.  Those are the ideas that need to be exorcized, exercised, pulled out like thin threads from the silk of my mind and released into thin air.

Ideas need freedom.

In this in-between time when my own pulse seems lost to me (or rather, misplaced), it’s a time for dreaming and taking stock and building thoughtful momentum.  I grow impatient with that kind of work, I want to see the tangible fruit of my labor and I want to see it now.  I act spoilt.  I rebel against the notion that there are creative chores that hold hands with the beauty and bounty and productivity of creative work.  I cannot have one without the other.

It takes work and concentration to rise up into a space of clarity.

This week, I find myself wondering if my ideas come out of me as victims of over-gestation due to the long breaks from the studio I have been forced to take over the past couple of years.  I have a sense of being ridden under tight rein, constrained by a tight cinch.  I’m desperate to take the bit in my teeth.

Can an idea be over-mature, past a point where I can intuitively muddle my way through it, step by step, rabbit trail by rabbit trail?  Do ideas have expiration dates?  I sometimes imagine that by the time I make it into the studio my ideas are falling from me like over-ripe, wasp-bitten pears from lofty tree branches…like babies born with size fourteen feet and wisdom teeth.  The bright birth of idea and concept can seem, at times, delayed, wizened, too-grown-up.

When I tinker, play, grow and create, I want to toy with seeds that are thirsty for sunlight and rain, tiny things that hold promises of aliveness, fullness and the story of growth, development and evolution.

Perhaps the thing to do here is to step out in faith, over and over again, fight my way to the new surface of things, kick and pull past the old rot and up into the lively place of thrumming and gusting possibility.

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