I write from the new studio space at the farm which is brimming with light as though it holds an indelible, inner glow that cannot be dimmed! Our new home is shaping up nicely. Naturally, I have a creative itch to scratch so I’ve set aside some organization work to fiddle around at my studio bench instead — mostly finishing up some small scale production work I failed to complete before packing up the house for the move to the farm…but my unexercised mind is racing and I have not be able to resist laying out arrangements of stones and other doodads, firing up the studio and doing some soldering and tinkering…mostly I’m laying out studies in color. The landscape here is fat on snowmelt and rain but it’s thin on chroma and I suppose gemstones have become a way I can quench my craving for color.
Already it occurs to me how much I will miss living at the strawbale house on the steep slant of the South bank of the Snake River. Being able to watch the sunrise over the water and steam, witnessing the waking of the world, one bird at a time.
Did I tell you that in December, from the kitchen sink at the stawbale house, I watched a pair of coyotes stalk a group of ducks that were in a floatilla near shore in a wide eddy on the far bank? The stalk culminated in a terrific splash attack and the coyotes missed their mark and thereby their breakfast but I think they had a fun time, regardless. The duo proceeded to make their way upriver, hunting voles in the snow as they went, leaping and pouncing, tossing their live, velvety food into thin air before snapping it in the steel trap of their jaws. I watched the whole thing while wearing a pair of rubber gloves and pressing binoculars to my eyes — dishwashing was stalled for a good fifteen minutes.
I’m going to miss seeing the herons landing on the island below that house, surprising the muskrats on morning strolls, the flight of the bald eagle and osprey. I’ll miss being a part of all that magnificent, teeming life.
As I let go of one place, I turn to embrace this new home with great joy in my heart. I counted the trees in the immediate yard at the farm and there are 34, all mature (this number does not include the fruit or nut orchards, the wind rows or any of the trees in the far hay pasture) ranging from elm to locust to ponderosa pine to Austrian pine, to blue spruce to a single, young, bristlecone pine!!! I pet the bristlecone every single day, it’s such a sensory experience. I don’t know who planted it but thank you, whoever you are! Thank you! You’ve made a perfect stranger so glad.
In these yard trees is a heavenly host of birds, even though it’s winter. I look forward to seeing new nests appear this spring. We also have barn, great horned and shorteared owls on the premises and walking the lawn is made difficult by the mountains of owl pellets piled beneath the trees — I see rodent bones and the motley, partly decayed faces of doves, small skulls and shards of hide in those pellets. As always, it’s an impromptu biology class for me, just strolling around this place! I learn so much just by looking, engaging my logical thought processing and employing my deduction skills. I feel like the Cinderella of this place, with all my little critter friends, and I sing to myself as I go about my way, dressed in rubber boots and rags (…not really dressed in rags but I couldn’t resist writing that…).
I can’t wait for the tree canopy to burst away into wild greens this spring and the row of almond trees in bloom and buzzing with fuzzy bees.
We’re settling in, puzzle piece by puzzle piece, painting and dealing with finishing details as we go and let me tell you, our space is so lovely. So lovely. But let me tell you the most important thing — we arrived home from our southwest trip at 2AM and I stepped into our new house exhausted and hungry. I navigated through the maze of unpacked boxes and stacked pieces of furniture, brushed my teeth with a broken bathroom faucet and fell into bed to sleep the best, deepest sleep I’ve had in a long while. If I could choose a word to describe the past year of my life it would be: CHAOS.
If I were to choose two words they would be: UTTER CHAOS.
With the completion of our move to the farm, all things feel relatively calm and orderly…everything is in the right place (even if it’s still being unpacked). I think I fell into a kind of hibernation survival mode leading up to this big move and now, my energy has been unleashed fully and I’m humming and buzzing from blossom to blossom in a kind of kinetic, hyperactive quest for nectar. It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful to be myself again.
I look forward to sharing some photos of our new home with you but my camera is broken and in California undergoing a $800 repair so in the meanwhile, here’s the final few pictures I have of the New Mexico portion of our southwest trip.