sewing beautiful words into quilts has become what i do lately. i love every part of it. but maybe my favorite part is reading scads of poetry. i had been hunting online, just because it was convenient. but i've been finding it terribly unsatisfactory. i have shelves and shelves of poetry, slight little collections and bulky volumes. one deep cupboard is packed three layers deep with books.....mostly poetry, so it's hard to get to them all. but tonight i started hunting through my favorites. or my favorites that i think would work for the quilts. this pile grew organically as i added titles. smiles warm my belly with each familiar cover. these books were lugged into many homes as i moved through my 20's. and much of the underlining and notes will probably make me blush or giggle. but, oh, it's good to have them in my hands again.
this morning we headed out early on our little morning tour along the lake. we had heavy rains last night and this morning is covered in a dense fog. it was a gorgeous walk. my little iphone camera got a bit of a work out. usually i like to use words, more than photos. but this morning we have photos. beautiful foggy photos. stone buildings rising out of the mist.
ezra is happy in the foggy mornings. it was gorgeous out there. and then we were home.....i instagrammed the photo of the house so it has that old and vintagey look.
tonight summer is in the sky. driving home from the bookstore the orange misty light of a summer evening slanted across the sky, squeezing through fences and carrying a verve of happy energy with it. we drove the length of a one way street and i had the sense we were driving through movie scenes. in our bland little town. with every block there was a visual with the slightest ache of nostalgia. first the light. the light was the light a movie director waits for all day and panics to get the shot into it's 8 minute window of beauty. we were in that window. we passed the firehall and there was a triangle of firefighters, tossing a football between the trucks parked in front of the station. there was a sprinkling of people on the sidewalk. a few meandering bicycles. all perfectly placed and balanced in the scene. a group sitting at a picnic table eating and having drinks. and a student sitting on his front porch with a giant curving silver hookah that he inhaled from. and from the next block the park bloomed. when we approached neil's house, i had to stop the car, for crossing the street was a pair of mallard ducks, male and female, filling the street with their carefree waddle. and when they reached the other side, drinking long necked gulps of water from the puddle at the side of the road, undisturbed by the car. a fanciful few minutes this was. our drive home. i think it may have been the magic of the light, coloring a placid evening with summer.
my friend teta died a couple of months ago. the illness that took her was shocking and sudden and cruel. she died just as spring was beginning. just as the air was warming and the grass was beginning to green. two short months before she had cried with me when edgar died. and didn't know how sick she was herself. her's is a loss that keeps sinking in.
teta was a gardener. a mother first, and then a gardener. an artist and a friend and a storyteller. but all of the layers of her found their way into her garden. i always picture her hands creased with dirt. roughened and scratched and beautiful. teta has left gardens, orphaned and wild gardens that are now bursting through the earth and blooming. waiting for her, looking for her. everywhere she lived, she left a garden. and teta lived in the house beside us, the house that is now the studio. and she built gardens in front and in the back and a huge one on the side. she built stone steps that move up the little hill from the garden shed. and the last time ever i saw her was last summer when she came to tidy up her garden and take plants and bulbs to her new home, her new garden.
this sign has been in her garden here for 9 years. i love this sign, hand painted, leaning against a tree with ivy growing around it, keeping it in place. the paint is chipped away now, and faded. but it says.....weeding wench. have trowel will travel....and then her phone number. and off she would go to create gardens for others, sharing her gift. her genius.
these green spring days will forever make me think of her beauty and her kindness and her talents and her gardens.
when i got home from the bookstore tonight, ezra and i walked to the park and through the neighborhood streets. it was just settling into darkness. there were cats skulking through the long grass. and there were tvs making the windows glow in almost every house. it's hockey playoffs and tonight is a big game. i think even people who don't love the leafs are watching. tom is a life long leafs fan, and it goes generations deep. there has been some cursing at the tv, and now that it's overtime, i think he has to watch something else completely....the tension is too high. i spent last week making baby quilts. the nursery rhyme quilts are adorable. they are much like the poetry quilts only with nursery rhymes and soft pretty baby fabric. twinkle twinkle little star. baa baa black sheep. itsy bitsy spider. i have to get them photographed and listed on etsy. i found poems tonight at the bookstore for my next batch of poetry quilts. neruda and keats. i love combing through the words. i write a poem a few times to feel it's essence and let it's fullness sink into my consciousness before i start quilting it. it's a nice process.
industrial paned windows, steel holding the glass in place. looking into stone concrete brick. housing fascinating but inexplicable machinery, boilers, dials, iron wheels. or the rusty remnants of the machinery that has been removed. these buildings are most lovely to me. i'm drawn to these industrial spaces of rust and grit and glass more naturally than to all the swoony pinterest rooms. we walk past a block of these buildings every day, ezra and i, and i always stare in the windows, wishing i could walk in and absorb it all. with my little watercolor box and a camera. i have a little place i go in my mind....a studio i had in college. i have spent my life collecting spaces. spaces i've loved. and this is one of my jewels. a low brick building. a bit like a concrete barn. but with a wall of steel paned windows. facing a patch of grass and another identical twin of a building. inside there was a wall of glass block separating the main room from a smaller one. the floor was gritty. and the light was everywhere. gorgeous cascading light. it was isolated, on the very edge of campus, and i could be there for hours and hours without being found. music would pulse against the walls. dora maar (my first great dane) would be there with me. and i would work with no concept of time. just a girl in an empty boiler room with her dog, david bowie and paintings. so these buildings i walk past every day feel a little like if i walked in i could lose myself to that youthful girl, like the wheels and dials and rusty pipes may be my own personal back to the future.
we can enjoy being outside again. the weather is drawing us into the yard, along the lake, out to the farm. ezra is learning about all our spots. he loves the yard and quickly learned how fabulous the porch swing is. although he's not a big fan of the swinging part. and the lakeside path is becoming his territory. he's been meeting new dogs all the time, and being mostly polite.
the farm makes him a little crazy. 100 acres of grass and trees and deer and wildlife galore takes his curiosity to a place a bit beyond what he can control. he doesn't listen very well, so his off-leash time is usually pretty short. this week of sunshine and balmy air has been a gift. it seems to make everything function better. the studio flows fresh and steady. the house feels a little easier to keep clean. even figuring out meals is easier. the barbecue is gassed up and tom has been grilling almost every meal. the gentle air is welcome. i've never appreciated spring to this extent before.
this is my view. my vantage point on the couch. in the gloaming of morning. i think gloaming is meant to be evening. but i like it for the dawning of the day too. i haven't tidied or made the room camera ready, but that's ok. this is a very alive room. and there is no hiding it. now i have stella tucked against my hip under the quilt with me. i love catching these moments. it's one of my favorite things about my phone....there is rarely a moment i can't attempt to turn into a photo.
i just stepped out onto the porch to bring ellsworth in from his night wanderings. and although i'm barefoot and barearmed in a light little white nightie, there was only pleasantness outdoors. the light was thin and gray and i had braced myself to get hit with a slap of cold. but the air had no chill. even the floorboards of the porch on my barefeet were comfortable. i think the winter is behind us and may is bringing the scent of green and the sounds of life.
the windows are filling with light now. i love this hour as the day starts, the stillness and the quiet of night turning to day. oh, it reminds me of my favorite movie in the 80s. i can't help that i still love it. 'ladyhawke'. the medieval tale of a lover's curse, each of them human half the time and animal the other half, never meeting as humans, but living with their counterpart, a hawk and a wolf. and almost touching as humans in the seconds between night and day. my day has arrived, and i think i'll head directly to the studio. and work in this fresh energy for an hour or so. before i dress and make breakfast and have a bath.....the routine can be such an interruption sometimes.
i feel like quilts are alive. they reflect all the little joys that make life special. they emanate love and warmth. the quilts i make blend a grandmother's ideals with a fresh youthful flair. there is a nostalgia for seasons past combined with hopefulness for a bright full future. you can find me online at www.chasinglightningbugs.com