I have been chanting to myself over the last couple weeks. I even wrote it down on a piece of paper to tape where I usually sit at work:
"I choose joy."
And as it seems to happen, when something is on the mind, it appears in other places.
This morning it was on Myth and Moor, a quote from Joanna Macy, "Even a wounded world gives us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair."
I found this photo while looking for another one:
My brothers and one of my cousins. Northern California, mid 1980's.
I think this is one of favorite days ever.
I choose joy.
I shared this a couple other places but am going to post it here too...
a favorite song that I recently rediscovered:
The photo I was looking for:
My first quilt, early 1990's.
It was a gift for a friend's baby girl.
Flannel with a purchased binding,
a lot of babies like that silky stuff.
Maybe this is a digital prayer flag (I've experimented with this idea before),
one for joy.
One of my uncles made me this hat.
I'm not sure exactly how old I was, it's one of those things that I just have always had. That I hold on to as one of my childhood treasures.
Today I hold it and think of family.
I don't usually buy flowers, or even more so, buy flowers out of season. But yesterday while I was walking by, a local florist was putting buckets of flowers out.
Sometimes we just have to go with our impulses...
The pink hat is finished.
Without ears so that I will continue to wear it. Pink is a troublesome color for me as it is. Because I work with young children, I constantly see little girls wearing pink.
Something that I am thinking about...where does strength come from?
From yesterday's journal:
7:50ish, I took my coffee outside this morning. Oh I need to do this more often. Watched the swoop of a flicker, the crows flying south, leaving wherever they slept for the night, on their daily mission; 3 black squirrels tumbling about in one of the neighbor's trees, the odd seagull, and finally, 6 swans or snow geese. I know they weren't Canada geese as their necks were too long. The song birds were warming up, the hummingbird adding it's 2 cents. I thought the freeway noise sounded a bit like a river. A few airplanes. The sky started to streak pink, but mostly clouds. A few neighbors starting to get ready for the day. Frost on their windshields, frost on the roofs.
They were swans, I looked it up. Snow geese have shorter necks too. Both winter in this area.
Later on in the day a package arrived. I knew instantly that I needed to make a butterfly.
I have more ideas and thoughts about hearts as butterflies, hearts broke open.
I think of a poem (one that keeps surfacing in my imagination since hearing it), by Naomi Shihab Nye (found here),
"What countries may we
What lines should we all
What songs travel toward us
from far away
to deepen our days?”
I grew up knowing there were bears in the woods, bears on the beaches, bears going through the garbage at the garbage dump (It would be reported in the community newspaper, something that always seemed very funny to me...).
I remember another summer camp hike in SE Alaska that my brothers and I went on where we wore bells and sang for a good part of the hike...one of the rules for living around bears is make lots of noise so that you don’t surprise them.
When we moved to Washington (where bears are still a possibility but less likely in the areas where I have lived) my bedroom was located at the front part of a daylight basement, with the windows pretty much at ground level. I can remember (age 10) laying on my bed in the dark thinking the bears were outside the window and that I needed to lay very still so they wouldn’t notice me. Another bear rule, for brown bear and Grizzly bear only, play dead if necessary.
This was also a stage of my life that I was sure there was something scary under my bed and that if I let my foot dangle over the edge while I was sleeping that it would be grabbed and awful things would happen. I am so thankful I never shared that with my brothers. Sure enough one of them would have been under my bed waiting for me to fall asleep...
This year I decided to participate in Carla Sonheim's 365 day class. Like my friend at handstories, I realized very quickly that a drawing assignment was going to take me right to a Jude inspired beast...
Still in progress.
Vulnerability has been on my mind, still thinking about how and what we share. How it ties to taking risks, being willing to get lost occasionally. About being willing to be a beginner.
Found this morning in Rebecca Solnit's book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, "Between words is silence, around ink whiteness, behind every map's information is what's left out, the unmapped and unmappable."
I revisited making crackers, this time adding sesame seeds (stirred into the flour not as a topping). The crackers are really best rolled out as thin as possible but the cookie cutters are so much fun to play with.
I have been physically lost at least twice in my life time. Not scarily lost, not the type of lost where I held the fear that I wouldn't be able to figure out where I was going, but the mild sort of lost where you know where you are, know that you can get where you need to go, but aren't sure how to get there.
Event number one: I was on a hike with a group for a summer camp program. I would have been eight or nine and we were living in South Eastern Alaska. Some of us must of went ahead and got off the trail. I don't really remember being told as a child that it was important to stay on the trail; we played in the woods a lot. I am pretty confident we were told if we felt like we were truly lost to stay put and someone would come find us. Some one in the group decided the thing to do was to go down, that sooner or later we would run into the trail that switched backed up and down the mountain. And sure enough, we did find the trail.
Event number two: Venice, Italy. The person I had been traveling with was tired and wanted to go back to the hotel room for a nap but I wanted to keep exploring so we split up. This is a big deal for me, I'm not one to go unfamiliar locations on my own. I started walking and soon realized I'd gotten off the main paths and wasn't really sure how to get back to where I needed to be (I never did find the maps of Venice all that helpful.). I decided to just keep walking, figuring that sooner or later I'd find something that looked familiar. And sure enough I did.
There is something about this kind of lost that helps us build trust in ourselves.
I have two words for this year, release (last year's word that I'm not done with yet) and liminal.
This past week I've been immersed in words and story. Remembering how important they are to me.
Hurry Up and Wait by Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler: “Next time, you hurry, and I’ll be the thing waiting here while you pass by.”
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, writing about butterflies and more: "Instar implies something both celestial and ingrown, something heavenly and disastrous, and perhaps change is commonly like that, a buried star, oscillating between near and far."
I checked both of these out from the library, but I really do want them in my permanent library.
Brain pickings Maria Popova. A blog I need to spend more time at.
I'm going to start where I want to end,
the news that matters is what we hold in our heart.
It is what we hold most closely.
And occasionally I need to remind myself that it is worth sharing.
It is stormy and dark and I slept the afternoon away.
It has been a very long week of covering teachers who have been sick. But it has also been full of songs and smiles and hugs. I work with some of the most wonderful children, parents and caregivers.
It is work that sustains me on many levels. Even though there are many frustrations and it can exhaust me, it gives me hope.
I return to this essay about being busy.
About wanting to know what is in the heart.
What is the news the matters?
My heart holds hope...
I'll post about food tomorrow when there is better light for photos.
I did not get as far as I wanted to...
I have several ideas regarding stars that I want to explore but only got as far as knitting a bit of sky today.
And this, I have this to share from Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (I have just started reading the book so the only opinion I have is that it starts beautifully and it may be one I need to add to my collection so that I can absorb it slowly.):
"Considering the verb to consider, he reminds us that it comes from the latin con-siderare, and that carries a meaning of 'to study or see with the stars'. Etymology illuminates- a mundane verb is suddenly starlit."
The "he" that is being referred to is Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Which makes me want to reread Emerson.
Jude has a moon to share today. Funnily enough I have a star that I altered and assembled yesterday.
The star on a trellis my dad made. He cuts shapes free hand with a plasma cutter and then the pieces are welded together.
A layer of silk over a window.
How the light comes in, filtered and diffused...
an illusion of privacy
(although I have all the privacy I need through this window).
Jude reminded me of measured words. I also think of the weight of words. Of the power we give them, of how to define is to reach agreement.
It is so very good to live in a world where conversations are possible...
Today I am making currant jelly or syrup; haven't decided which yet.
There was conversation while they were picked.
My answer is yes, at least that is where it starts. Perhaps when we attach meaning to an item? Or if we thing it might be useful someday. Or when we think, "This could be made into this or that or the other...."
Because I have a fascination with how things are defined, I looked up "clutter" and learned something new; Clutter is not only a "disorganized jumble of things,"
it is also the collective noun for cats.
This particular clutter includes a stuffed cat that was my mother's as a child (absolutely in the keep pile), a red rose figurine that was a secret santa gift and two cat pins.
And here's how my mind goes...
I never wear the pins but they could be turned into magnets. I like them but do I really need more magnets?
I've been wanting to make some terrariums (which will put some old canning jars to use) and the figurine could be fun there, but so could a lot of other things I have.
Yes, I think clutter starts in our minds.
Total items being relocated as of today: 66.