i've spent all of today trying to remedy an online connection with my little iphone, having been away from home for five weeks and only walking back through my own front door last evening. i realize now how dependent i 've become on that tiny little screen, on its convenience, its rapid connection to the world beyond my front porch. it's been far too easy and too subtle a change for me to notice how drastically the shift has affected me, my writing, my jewelry, my life. no longer do i set aside a morning and take an hour or two or three to compose a blog post, edit and share photos, document my days with little notes scrawled on scraps of paper here and there. take that a step farther, and consider the quiet life i now live out in the woods, next to no one, in a little log cabin with only the heartbeat of walter to remind me that i am not entirely alone in my status as a living creature walking through the nights and days. i spent five weeks away with my mother, focused mostly on her and on my time soaking up her presence and company; we rose and ate breakfast together, sat and worked quietly in the afternoon, drank cocktails in the evening and ate the meals that we prepared as a team. old movies and british crime series were our selected choices for viewing; we laughed, we told each other stories, we wept when there was a sudden death of a friend's child, we put our heads together to come up with a way to honor our friend and the memory of her son with the purchase of a small red bud tree. i was not alone in my thoughts for much of that time, not at all. i didn't post many photographs on instagram, i didn't visit friends, i only stuck close to her at home and walked the pups, gathered her mail, made grocery and wine runs, hung her easter wreath, wiped down the front door with orange oil, planted things in pots out on the patio. i scrubbed the bird bath, pulled weeds, spread pine straw, and walked the dogs some more. now, back here at home, i'm walking in circles - feeling more than a little bit lost and ever thankful for that precious time - and have spent most of this afternoon sprawled out on my bed with windows briefly open to the broadening bird song, the gusty breeze. my open suitcase, still stuffed with the clothes that it held all that time, yawns at me from the bedroom floor. walter follows me from room to room, and as i write this, he is stretched out on the bed right next to me, one paw nearly touching my own thigh. during this quiet afternoon with my laptop before me here on the bed, i've wandered back to spring photos that were taken in april of 2012. my father had been gone for nearly a year, and i was still struggling to find my footing again after such a tremendous loss. there is a writer - an incredible author - who lives right here in my own community, and when he spoke to a group downtown, i was thrilled to be able to go. i almost wrote the word "stupidly" when i began a sentence describing the book above, and my decision to make it for this man. there was a good bit of time involved in putting the piece together, and when i presented it to him after his reading, blushing and stammering like an awkward school girl, he looked at me as if he weren't quite sure what to think of my gift. i saw him again the following year, and he didn't even remember. i did this for a reknowned poet as well, back in 2008 or 2009. and for others as well, long gone from my life. i wish i had those art books for myself, now. i no longer take the time to make these things, and kept only the few that i made to honor milestones in my life, my boys' lives; some of those i even gave to family members as gifts. where has this earlier, younger artist version of myself disappeared? does anyone ever look back on their older work and wonder where the common thread remains, if it is even still woven through? does anyone stumble upon old photographs of past loves and think, do they truly remember me? does the air still smell as fragrant there as it once did? do the flowers still bloom, and shimmer, then fade and quietly flutter and fall to cover the spring grounds below? do those trees still grow there, where the magic hour sun shone through? this afternoon has faded now into early evening. the suitcase still gapes before me, the last western sunlight has shifted and passed across the folded clothes and now fades on the wooden door. the house is quiet; walter dreams. i avoid the mirror that tells me how many bits and pieces of myself i've worn down and lost here and there along the way. tomorrow i head back down the stairs to straighten the studio, clear out the cobwebs, and head into that new direction where my heart and my older fingers are telling me to go. gemstones have been gathered that speak of landscapes, and of the ocean, and the forests, and the smoky rippling mountains that surround me.
to work honorably with them, i need the proper tools, and an open heart, to forge cautiously ahead. i know i can do it; i'm eager to make a new start again. spring is almost here, and whispers softly to me of all of these things. i stand out on the front porch, gulping in that smell of new and growth and change, and i whisper along with all of it, and repeat those budding words with some of my own in a rhythmic mantra sing-song lullaby: be kind, love all, do not forget your dreams. do not forget to dream. xx