This past year has been hard. I am not going to go into all the details for many reasons and I am not purposefully and annoyingly being vague. What I have learned is that so many of us are having a hard time. There is scarcely a person out there that isn’t struggling with something. Life is hard. And sometimes we lose our endurance for it..I did. I woke up to too many mornings with my sole desire being that of only returning to bed, as if I could sleep away my sorrows. I couldn’t.
This winter too has been hard. I have caught every cold one can catch. I have said “no” to too many invites; I have recused and laid my creativity fallow; I cried tears to the point of dehydration, and whined and prayed and pleaded for a reprieve. I have imagined that all the trials were part of some epic dark night of the soul that would reveal the meaning of life at its end.
And then something shifted..just enough. It was as if I was holding my breath and was at last allowed to inhale. A small inhale, but a glorious one.
Sunday I painted the piece above. I am not quite done.. I am waiting for the paint to dry a bit so I can add the finishing touches. I am grateful. I have much to be grateful for despite the hard stuff…so much.
Sun on the Hen House
I live in a pretty little house at the foot of the White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire. The backdrop of which provides boundless inspiration. I have an ever expanding garden I tend to and a small flock of chickens. We are only allowed 6 hens in town per household. I have 3, I had four until this winter. I call my little flock “the girls”…”the ladies” ..””my hens.” I love them all.
The girls have literally been cooped up for the past few weeks. The bitter cold, the non stop polar winds.. it was too much. Just before the new year I lost Euphemia. She was a frail hen to begin with, one eyed and lacking in neck feathers… the odds were against her. Mille Fleur Bantams are not known for their hardiness; they are known for their feathery feet and bright disposition.
I may be a little like my hens. Winter has been tough on me too. But the sun is out and the temperatures are up and we are all out to play today.
Rest In Peace Euphemia… you were a good hen. May your eternal coop be warm and your feed dish full of meal worms.
The couple at the post office this morning was waiting on a package of provisions for their next leg on Appalachian trail. That they were hikers was clear. They were on an adventure; but then, so is everyone.
So many people come up to this area to hike the White Mountains, accumulating 4000 foot peaks like charms on a bracelet. I came here to live.
I am settling into my new home. I want to see and know every corner of my new landscape. Summer is slipping away and I know that winter will be cold and long and exploration will be slowed. I already find myself revisiting places I’ve been, wanting to know them intimately. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the vastness of this land..so many trails, and rivers, creeks and waterfalls. How will I ever get to know it all?
For the very first time in my life, I want to be..want to feel..attached to a place. I am choosing to be home. I am choosing to stay, connect, and put down roots. I cannot say that I have ever done this. I have lived my life as a perpetual visitor, never once have I really been home.
It’s glorious. I love everything about my new home. Really, everything!
The beautiful wood floors, the stain glass windows( see the previous post), the large yard, the once barn/now garage/soon to be art studio, the window seats in the living room (my favorite place to sit) my doorbell, the lovely perfectly sized kitchen(not too small..not too big), three bedrooms, the ceiling fans (so nice here), the lilac bush and the giant maple, the front porch…the back porch, the neighborhood, the next door neighbor, the town, the beautiful White Mountains that surround us…
Chris took me on a drive last night to see moose, still elusive. As we were heading home he said something to the effect that we had sacrificed a lot to get here. It’s true. We’d talked and planned and acted on a dream of coming east for about a year and half. We gave up the security of jobs and friends and a known way of living for a giant unknown. We have spent a lot of money and energy to realize our dream, our scheme, our plan for a different kind of life. We have been each other’s sole companion and confident, cheerleader and best friend. More than a few judged what we were doing. They thought us fool hearty…that we needed to be careful..have more of a definite plan. We did what we did. Sometimes you have to take a chance and leap. We’re still leaping, there are still some unknowns, but what happens tomorrow is always unknown.
Today, I know that I love where I am living. For the first time, truly, I feel home. I am in a place of my own choosing. Today, there is no place else I’d rather be.
Whenever I share that I’m a spinner (In the spinning wheel sense, not the exercise bike sense)…I always end up saying, “Gandhi was a spinner.” I’m not sure what people think when I tell them this. I am not comparing myself to Gandhi when I say it, rather I want to share with them the rewards of spinning. Gandhi felt that spinning represented the best of living simply. I think spinning is a meditation.
I once read that spinners of olde would pray for and think about those who they were spinning for. In the wool they would add stories, wishes, and blessing for their loved ones. These stories and prayers would be continued as the spinner then knit the yarn they had just made. Those who received their handiwork received not only the garment; they received the thoughts and love of the spinner.
I have pulled out my spinning wheel this week.
my louet spinning wheel
Usually I reserve spinning for the cooler months. Lately I have felt restless and spinning offers me a retreat. My feet pedal back in forth in a rhythm the wheel seems to give me. The mound of fleece transforms into a tiny thread. It’s magical and quiet. When I spin I think of little else; and when my mind drifts I remind myself to keep my thoughts benevolent. My yarn will carry my emotions and one day someone will wear them. I want to spin peace.
The best advice I’ve ever heard about cooking was to never cook angry. Food from an angry chef never tastes good. It’s true. Conversely, food made with love tastes incredibly good. Once I made a dish of barley and beans (it was all I had on the shelves) As I cooked, I remember thinking about how much I loved my children. When I served my kids the simple fare they couldn’t get enough of it..they said it was the best thing ever. One should spin with just as much feeling. Yarn made with love is undeniably remarkable.
Tonight I will spin some more. I have a 100 other things I could and maybe should be doing, but creating a little beauty seems just as important right now.
After maybe 30 minutes of attempting to design and print my own wedding invitations, Chris convinced me to head to Anders Printing to look at what they had to offer.
Once again, I have learned the lesson that paying for the talents of others is worth it, every time. Yes, I could have made my own invitations, but at what cost. The paper, the envelopes, the ink, the decisions I’d have to make…the mistakes I’d make making those decisions. And more importantly, the time. My time, Chris’s time. We have so precious little time as it is. Together in general, and specifically in terms of our wedding.
Pay the good people with the talent and tools. Lesson learned.
Hello all!. This is the official announcement that Chris and I will be getting married Saturday, Oct. 8. We hope all of you can join us for the celebration, and if you can’t make it, send us happy thoughts.
The initial plan is for the ceremony to take place 3 p.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church in Portland. We’ll have a catered celebration that evening at our place. If you can’t attend the wedding, please drop in for the reception.
Invitations to follow!
Chris and I headed out to Capitola Thursday night to see his father. We were set up in the very cute Venetian hotel. The town was so lovely that the next morning when Chris and his dad headed out to breakfast down the the road, I stayed behind so I could explore the town. It was worth it; I had pie and coffee and bough myself a very cute dress.
When the two returned from breakfast, we all headed out to Monterey to see the aquarium. It was fabulous, except that the main exhibit, sharks!, was closed. I really think the aquarium could have come down on the entry price, $30!!, especially considering the feature attraction wasn’t open. The fish were amazing though, and I was lucky enough to see a seahorse just seconds after it as born…it was so tiny, it’s a wonder seahorses survive the big ocean.
Most of the pictures are from the aquarium, a few extra thrown in from Capitola. I know there are ton of photos of the jellyfish shot, but they were so amazing I couldn’t stop myself…
I have too many photos to download..there’s too many to choose from, and I don’t think wordpress can manage them all. I’ll have to chooose….aaaahhh
Chris and I spent a lovely four days in California. I cannot begin to express how nice it was to spend time with him away from work and responsibilities. It was needed and relished.
We arrived Wednesday, out hotel was just outside the gates of Chinatown. The Astoria Hotel was a bit funky, in the on the line between okay and shady. But we had our own bathroom and the elevator was charming if not sketchy. And it was cheap and for one night only. We met Chris’ that evening for a bite and a brew and then hit the hay.
On Thursday Chris and I spent the morning in Chinatown and wandered the North end of the city on our town. We met up with my brother and his lovely wife for lunch and the rest of the afternoon. What follows are pictures from our first full day…
no caption needed
i could live here
the market on delivery day
drying fish in a window...where else would you dry fish
a graduation at the Episcopal school
Chris wondered if people from Chinatown travel to the suburbs and take pictures of the clothesline
Chris holds the Coit Tower, sort of
lombard...the street that winds
the golden gate...what? it's not the golden gate?
mark and madelyn, the beautiful people
my love and me
a well placed porta potty
we’re sitting in a Peet’s on Hawthorne, you writing a card to your grandmother
me, thinking about about our talk this morning
the unconventional and yet old school nature of our relationship
moving in together quickly, discovering each other in the routine that is life
I feel lucky that we decided this was a road we’d take
each day I am comforted by your physical presence
your scent and skin
and the way you talk and laugh, and smile with one side of your mouth
they are gravy
thick and salty gravy
I will always be kind to you
I choose that every day
I will always love you
this is not a choice, it just is
always and tangible
a part of me I cannot control
would not want to even if I could
I believe we will never discover all of each other
I am glad about that
much love for you beautiful one..