Eden

Every day is Eden.  We make our choices.

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I picked the garden early this morning.  I marveled at my patch of cosmos and sunflowers.  I remember sowing the seeds for those flowers and wondering if everything would blow over in the vigorous gale that often sweeps upriver in this high desert country.  To my amazement, I haven’t had a single flower knocked down in the wind and some of my sunflowers are ten feet tall!  I have a theory that the more a tree or plant is battered by the elements, the stronger it tends to grow.  There’s a reaction to wind, specifically; roots spread wider and shoot deeper so that a plant is tethered to a greater anchor.  My garden has been wind-abused but not broken and so it has grown all the more beautiful and splendid.

I walked my excess cucumbers over to my neighbor’s place, chatted for a while and then made my way home to my kitchen where I am batching spicy cucumber pickles and cardamom plum jam.

I have a simple Sunday ahead of me.  I wish you could come work with me, side by side, rejoice in the bounty, play with the kittens and laugh with me like sisters and brothers do.

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I fell asleep with a splitting headache last night — slathered in lavender oil with an icepack on my neck.  I woke up free of pain this morning.  It was a transformation.  I was healed in the quiet of the night.  I hopped out of bed, threw on jeans and a sweatshirt, let the dogs outside, played with the kittens for a moment, stepped back in the house, fired up the studio, put the kettle on the stove and turned on Rose Cousins’s “Let the Light Come In” — a song I play when I want to be cracked open.

I stood in the kitchen, my bare feet pressed tight against cool hardwood, the grey light of morning streaming in the windows.  I reached my arms out, feeling the slow pull of my chest muscles reaching deep into my biceps, down to the bones of my wrists, into the buzzing tips of my fingers.  I raised my hands above my head, pushing at invisible things, sinews heaving and hauling.  I burst into tears right when Rose sang the word “forgiveness”.  I stayed there in the kitchen, swaying and moving to the music, folding and unfolding, paying attention while shifting and sifting through my body, from top to bottom, isolating and caring for specific muscles and joints, stretching them and rotating them until everything felt loosened and lubricated.

I thought a thousand different thoughts while I was moving to that song.

I heard the kettle heating up.

Penelope barked.

I saw water turn on in the side hayfield and I watched farm boy head down the driveway, his morning irrigation duties attended to.

I recalled my time with my grandmother in Saskatoon, how I took coffee over to her place and as I sat down in her living room I remember distinctly thinking, “I will sit on the loveseat because the sofa is Grandpa’s spot.”  Even though he is gone, I wanted to leave space for him in the room.  The whole time I talked with grandma, I was aware of his absence.  If he had been there with his twinkling blue eyes and his funny laugh I’d have asked for a couple of good stories about the olden days and draft horses and thunderstorms and heavy machinery accidents…like I always used to.

Where did he go, anyway?  Where does everything go?  What were these aching cells of mine before they became me?

The sun suddenly hit the canyon wall and the world turned gold and the palest blue, like faded robin eggshells.  Rose sang out, “Let the light come in…embrace it…” and I reached out wide once more, opening to the morning, to the new day, to a blank page, to possibility, to daydreams.

The kettle whistled.

I began again.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/08/26/13179/

I made it.  I made it through 2.5 of the most busy, most full, most wild months of my life.  Starting in April, I traveled for photography work, I zipped home to Canada to see my family, we made the transition into the fire season by moving the Airstream up to McCall for the summer, the transmission in our big Dodge blew up in the middle of nowhere putting us down to one vehicle between us (while living in two different places), we bought a car, we bought $500 worth of high quality poop for the gardens here, Robert planted a huge asparagus patch, I traveled for work, I slaved in the studio, I traveled for work some more, we began irrigation on the hayfield, the farm was a revolving door and we had rich visits with many friends, I traveled more…a couple of days ago we wrapped an enormous shoot in McCall and that was that — the end of the line!  I have been extremely cognizant about keeping my schedule uncluttered this summer because last summer nearly killed me, I was stretched so thin by work. Currently, I see my summer months looking relatively wide open, there’s a whole lot of white space in my dayplanner, and I’m thankful I’ve practiced saying no as much as I have to photography gigs and various other work trips.  I need my life to slow down, especially during these fire season months when so much of our life details weigh heavily on me.

It’s weird, this place I am in with work.  I like to go back and forth between the metal and my cameras but flipping back and forth between the two mediums causes so much life chaos.  I didn’t plan to work with my cameras in this capacity, but the experiences I’ve had through photography work have been grand.  I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.  I reckon I’m in my 30s now, anyway, now is the time to have a cup that overfloweth…or in my case, many cups that overfloweth.

My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago now, right in the middle of the truck breakdown, the shift into the fire season (Robert was in the thick of the season refresher in McCall which entails lots of classroom work and practice jumps), we had a gaggle of baby animals at the farm and I was about to leave on a New Mexico shoot I was under contract for.  There was no way I could get home to his funeral and because of the speed of life here, I had to bundle up my emotions regarding his passing and shove them into some empty, echoing chamber of my heart, just to get by, just to get through the month and my work commitments.  It was difficult for me.  I felt emotionally taxed.  I am not repressive by nature.  I feel guilty for not getting home, I worry about what my extended relatives must think of me for missing the funeral, I feel thankful I was able to get home to Canada for a fast visit in March — to see him alive once more, to hug him and kiss him and tell him I love him…

Day by day I am pulling those emotions up, regarding my grandfather’s passing, and sorting through them.  I’m sure it will be a lifelong endeavor.

There’s a lake in McCall I love to go to.  I feel it’s generally overlooked by tourists and locals.  I go there because it’s empty and beautiful and I can be alone with the dogs and hear my thoughts.  The lake is edged by timber and snow capped mountains.  The shore is littered with tattered, water-washed driftwoods.  I often find myself hoping that my heart is like that lake, bottomless and blue and silken to the touch, framed with friendly timber and the enduring grit of granite.  I find myself hoping that the breeze on brilliant sunny days will keep the sapphire pulse of my heart free of debris, clear of log jams and winter killed trees — that those scruffy objects, bobbing and rotting and fading, will be pushed aside by winds and storms.  I hope that there, in the center of that blue heart-world, there is fathomless clarity, undiscovered depths and the sweet seam of mercy that stitches the water to the sky.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/05/24/12874/

I tend to work in wide arcs, which is to say, sometimes I start something, set it aside and then come back to it weeks, months or years later so that my own life, as it were, has seasons of its own — so that there is a winter, spring, summer and autumn to my creative work.  I used to think I wasn’t seeing design ideas through to their conclusion, that a design series needed to have a clear beginning and end, that once I felt finished, I’d probably never return to an idea again.  But that’s not how the seasons work in the natural world!  They come around again and again, blending with each other so that we cannot truly say when winter ends and spring begins, we can’t ever say when exactly summer will slip into autumn, and it varies every year!  I’ve stopped fighting myself in the studio in the past couple of years of my life.  I’ve let go of the idea that there’s a right way to do this, that I must have a clear conclusion to every series I start.  In fact, I want to set things down, start something new, and then find myself on a return orbit to that original idea.  I want to explore and then re-explore and allow for cyclical wandering.  It seems right to me.

While I’m on the topic of rhythms I want to mention I’m not sure I’d be aware of my creative rhythm if I were not so hyper-aware of the seasons and I think the things that have bound me so tightly to the seasons and created a strong comprehension of life rhythms in me is our hunting seasons as well as my gardening and growing (and preserving) season — the general things we do around here to survive.  In short, I’m not sure there’s anything that can restore natural rhythms in our bodies as well as being connected to and responsible for the growing, hunting or raising of our food.  Once we find ourselves busy doing this honest work, everything else seems to fall into place and even our circadian rhythms benefit from a simple obedience to the seasons.  We wind up for summer and then wind down again for winter.  Resting and living like the bears do.  We are mammals, after all.  Perhaps that’s too simple an outlook on life but…perhaps it’s not?  The harder I work at surviving simply, the more I slow down, the happier I feel.  But I digress, I meant to talk about jewelry in this post.

 The foundation for the pieces I am making this week is the original “Glitz Ring” I made in February of 2010.  This series has come and gone in my studio numerous times, incarnated again and again with fresh  inflections, in new arrangements, with ever evolving botanical motifs, under the guises of new names, but some things about it have never changed.  The design always holds a stone that is flanked with a flock of dimensional, hammer formed (usually anticlastic) and highly textured leaves and sterling granules.  It only seems right to come around to it again this spring, renewing the design in a way that matches the freshness of the landscape here.  I’ve taken this leaf form loosely from the first sprigs of green growth I’ve seen on the river, right down by the water edge in the shadow of the canyon wall where the snows have yet to melt.  There, in the cold and wind, something new is brewing and it looks like this:

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I’m holding these pieces for an official shop update in the next week and a half or so — I’ll be more specific about the date and time in the days to come.  For now, I don’t want to stop to deal with listings and photography and logistics.  It’s so nice to be working on a batch of one-of-a-kinds again — it feels like being touched by the sun.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/03/08/12686/

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One of my best friends is dating a man who survived electrocution and then testicular cancer and I love hanging out with him because he has a knack for appreciating every moment that lands in his life and then, he’ll exclaim about it, voice aloud his delight for others to hear so that they might notice, too.  I love that about him.  Usually I’m the only person doing that kind of thing, I mean audibly freaking out about the shape of the clouds in the sky or whatever beautiful detail that catches my eye about a thing or a person.  There’s always something to catch my eye.  There’s something beautiful about everyone and everything.

With that in mind, this new life of ours in this new space is replete with goodness.  Each time I open my eyes to a new day, every time I stop to put a log on the fire in the living room, when I lay in bed for a moment longer to watch the squirrels in the crowns of the elms through the bedroom window, I find myself exclaiming my delight aloud.  I go out running, hiking and walking with the dogs and the land offers up such treasures every single day, whether it’s the lichen come alive on the stone faces in hues so vibrant they seem otherworldly, to the freshness of the wind as it passes over the river and slaps my face, to the muskrat skull I found  a few days ago and the mismatched four-point sheds I tripped over while running a jackrabbit trail the other night…it’s all here…all the moments are all here and I see them all and I rejoice.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/02/25/12620/