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Friday, March 29, 2013

Footprints


Our house sits on a little hill overlooking what is essentially our back yard.  At the bottom of the hill, there is a lovely stream that empties into a nice deep pool in which we wade and swim and fish in the summertime.


Living so near a stream brings many visitors to our backyard.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to see them if we happen to be looking out the window, but most of the time, we only see evidence that they have been there.  We've had lots of rain lately, and the stream has brought great heaps of soft sand and deposited it all along the length of the stream.  This is the best place to look for clues......


And these clues are most often footprints left behind by a nocturnal or early morning visitor.  Here we see the hoof print of a fairly large deer - a female I think.  On the males, the "toes" are spread apart a little more than this.


These are the sweet, delicate little paw prints of a raccoon.  You can even see the little claw marks.


Graceful grasses swaying gently and peacefully going with the flow.


More raccoon prints.  So sweet!


The great blue heron who visits every morning.  Our little pool is one of his favorite fishing spots.


The dogs footprints mingled with that of the raccoon and over to the right, the trail of a freshwater snail.


And, we couldn't resist - me and my ten-year-old son had to add ours to show that we had been here too and were a part of it.  I hope days like this leave a lasting impression on him and that he will remember them fondly.  I know I will.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Searching

In a way, I feel that I am always searching for something, and I wonder how many other people feel that way too.  There have been many times when I have felt like I have found something wonderful!  But then, eventually, the search continues.





This searching is what drives me forward in my art.  My deep and passionate love and appreciation of Nature is what drives me to find a way to express my feelings about it.  I see it as a gift to me, to us, from the Creator.  This beautiful world is a gift, and I want to give something back.  An offering perhaps.  I need to express this.  And so, I search.  I search for the way to say thank you in my own voice.




Yes, I know.  There is nothing new under the sun.  I learn from here and there, from this one and that one.  I used to feel sorry for myself because I cannot go to school to learn all the methods of making art.  But, in the end, I think it might be best that I find my own way.  Since what I am seeking is my own unique voice, perhaps it is best that I search for it on my own.  That is why what you see here varies so wildly from one project to another.  I am trying different things out.  Searching for what fits and what feels right.  I have a shadowy vision of where I want to go, but it hasn't materialized completely yet.  I can feel that I am getting closer though.  Closer to a vision that looks like me.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beavers!


Shep and Smokey by the driveway.  The grass is beginning to green up a bit, but the trees are still bare and shivering.  Notice the 3 old chimneys on the left.  They are relics of a large home that once stood here.  A lovely spot, I think.


It is early morning, and the shadows are still long.  The sky is icy and blue.  This is the lower meadow that has another stream running through the middle.  This meadow is surrounded by woods, and as a result is very popular with wildlife.  Deer bed down here at night.  Coyotes are often heard yipping down in this area.  And the beavers have chosen this secluded stream for their home. Yippee!


A lovely, marshy glade at the back end of the meadow.  This is where the beavers are harvesting a lot of young trees for their dam.


Beaver sign!


Some ghostly beech trees shivering in the shadows.


And there she is! The beaver dam.


A better angle.  Can you tell from the photo how much higher (and deeper) the water is on the upper (right) side of the dam?  It is beginning to form a deep, calm beaver lake. again - Yippee!!  I have waited nearly 8 years for them to return.  They were here when we first moved here, but a "well-meaning" neighbor poisoned them and tore up their dam with a backhoe.  Really, he meant well.  But I cried my eyes out when we found it destroyed.  Sorry there are no pics of the beavers themselves, but they were most likely napping after a night of hard construction work!


My handsome, but camera shy hubby hiding in the shadows of an enormous oak near the stream.  I told him I needed him for scale - tee hee.


And finally, a storybook tree on the lower, shallow side of the beaver dam.  This is a terrible photo, I apologize, but I was so excited to show it to you anyway.  Not sure if you can make out the opening on the left that Shep is standing just above.  And then the smaller opening over to the right at the base of the tree.  There is a front door and a back door opening to this tree dwelling.  Now who do you suppose lives in there?

Well, I hope you enjoyed this morning walk with me, and I hope you get the opportunity to get out and enjoy the beautiful world wherever you are.  And, thank you, so much for all the wonderful, generous, kind and encouraging comments you left on the Fish on Fridays post.  I was uncertain, and you all have made me feel just terrific.  What a wonderful community of artists and friends.  I am so blessed and so thankful!  Hugs to you!

Happy weekend, friends :)




Monday, March 18, 2013

Fish On Fridays


So named because I seemed to find myself stitching on it on Fridays for some reason.  You may recall this little fishy from a previous post, and I finally got around to putting him in some water - albeit a stylized, modern interpretation of water.

This little project is an attempt to combine my love of the very traditional craft of embroidery with my love of modern art.  It's a first step.  Another experiment.  Seems like everything I make is an experiment.  But, I do feel that I'm getting closer to what I'm searching for.  Overall, I am very satisfied with this piece because it does seem to be a major step toward developing my own personal style (I hope!)

Thanks for visiting, and happy stitching!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring Fever

It's still quite cold here in Wonderland Woods, as we are having a much colder spring than usual; but Nature is determined and there is evidence of springtime everywhere!  Come and see.....


Wild violets are popping their little heads out from underneath their winter blanket of leaves.


The witch hazel is blooming the most delicate teeny tiny little yellow blossoms!  They fragrance is as delicate and sweet as they look.


The wild azaleas have lovely little pink buds.  Be patient! Don't open up too soon or Jack Frost will zap you!


Wonderful green trillium lights up the forest floor with its gorgeous mottled green leaves of three.  Soon that bud in the center will open into a deep dark maroon color.  Spectacular!


The plum trees are adorned with gorgeous blossoms that positively glow in the gentle evening light.


The lawn is full of white Dutch clover, but I don't mind.  It's attracting bees and bunny rabbits, and it smells absolutely divine!

Ok.  I know I am a self proclaimed lover of winter........but Spring is definitely growing on me!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow



Today, I read the most heart-breakingly beautiful book, and I wanted to share it with you. The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow by Ann Warren Turner is a fictional diary of a young Navajo girl recounting the story of her family's ordeal during the Navajo Imprisonment at Fort Sumner in 1864.  I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so well written, so compelling, and so heart-wrenching that I literally could not put it down.  This was that kind of book.

It is told from the perspective of a 13-year-old Navajo girl named Sarah Nita, and gives us a glimpse into the world of the Navajo people and what they endured during the time of the Long Walk from their homeland in Arizona to the place of their imprisonment in New Mexico.  It is written in the poetic style of Native American storytelling, and is just so beautiful to read.  The first couple of paragraphs had me entranced...

"Grandmother Weaves Her Story

I am home now from the white man's school, sitting beside Grandmother in the shade near our hogan. Slowly, skillfully, she spins wool, winding the long thread on a stick by her leg.  Her legs are so thin, they worry me.  For Shimasani is old; soon her bones will be buried in the land of our ancestors.
  "My granddaughter, this summer I want to tell you all that happened during the Long Walk so you can write it down in the book that white teacher gave to you.  You know some things, but not all.  How the soldiers burned our crops and drove away our animals, making us starve.  When they came looking for us, we had no choice but to go with them.
  "To Fort Sumner," I add.  Her eyes are half-closed, remembering...."

Sarah Nita is a gifted story teller who weaves magical stories that allow her family, if only for a little while, to transcend their suffering and reconnect to their history, their rich culture, and their home land they love so much.  This is how she chases away the sorrow.  And though, it may sound like a sad story, it is actually immensely uplifting and encouraging and hopeful.  At its heart, it is a tale of enduring love and courage and strength in the face of unspeakable tragedy.

So, if you're looking for a beautifully written story that will transport you to another world for a little while - one that will touch your heart and leave you with an immense feeling of gratitude for the earth and the ones you love, I highly recommend it.  Please let me know if you read it, and if so, what your thoughts are concerning it.  I want everyone to read it!  So they know - so they don't forget.  It's so important that we remember.