In Honor of Spring and Frost

Or at least the last snow, still on the ground in places.

And in honor of the birthday of Robert Frost, one of my heroes. I appreciate the view of the world he showed us, with the hope in so many small things.

The Onset

Always the same, when on a fated night
At last the gathered snow lets down as white
As may be in dark woods, and with a song
It shall not make again all winter long
Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground,
I almost stumble looking up and round,
As one who overtaken by the end
Gives up his errand, and lets death descend
Upon him where he is, with nothing done
To evil, no important triumph won,
More than if life had never been begun.

Yet all the precedent is on my side:
I know that winter death has never tried
The earth but it has failed: the snow may heap
In long storms an undrifted four feet deep
As measured against maple, birch, and oak,
It cannot check the peeper’s silver croak;
And I shall see the snow all go down hill
In water of a slender April rill
That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake
And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake.
Nothing will be left white but here a birch,
And there a clump of houses with a church.

Robert Frost

In Honor of Spring and Frost

Words to Ponder

Thanks to James Gurney for these words from a fine poet.

…May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

John O’Donohue, from “For The Senses”

You might ask, where the heck have you been? Well I’ve been writing and editing. So many words. Found an ending, found a prologue and an epilogue. On re-reading found a semi-baddy was still lying. LYING – she’s still lying about what happened, I shouted at the rest until they figured it out and brought her to a deserved justice.

It’s grey and cold and winter’s not kind to painters that like to be outside, but I find writing makes it hard to do visual things and so I’ve been quiet and writing. I did get out one day mid-January to try out a new tripod and throw some paint around on a pale evening.

Also grateful to have celebrated Mom’s 90th birthday with family. A good time was had by all!

Now, bring it on February!

Words to Ponder

Happy Birthday J.R.R.

Yes it’s that time again to remember the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien and to be strengthened by those he wrote of, who may have seemed small and weak but managed in time of need to be strong enough to do what had to be done, even if they didn’t know what that was beforehand.

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

Another circle

round the sun yes indeed. There and back again.

Finally today the internet guy came and fixed my pitiful internet connection. And then he called my cell phone from my home phone number – probably from the outside box… ah the wizardry of internet phone guys.

So here’s to another year.

Tonight Mom and I had dinner:

Also the world needs more serene cat photos:

An unexpected bonus of trying to paint the geranium is that it’s still in surprisingly good condition, as are my other two, because frankly I paid more attention to them over the summer. Most of the time that involved dumping out the extra water left by torrential rain but for the hanging one it still involved watering.

I had penciled some thoughts onto my pochade box but need to find a way to make them readible and permanent:

INTENT • CONFIDENCE • RISK • PATIENCE*

(Standard caveat applies here, Persistence>Patience although in watercolor you do need patience to let things dry or dry some before continuing.)

And then I need to get out and paint more. But I did survive another August Postcard Poetry Fest – thirty-one plus poems written and sent out to people all over the USA and world. It’s a fun group.

I became a member of the Berkshire Botanical Garden (formerly the Berkshire Garden Center) so I can drop in to paint over the course of the year. That’s the plan – add more places to paint.

Mini Stay-Cation

I was definitely due for a little time off. I started out Thursday night by seeing the National Theater Live performance of Julius Caesar in the mall movie theater. Two hours fifteen minutes or so, straight through without intermission. They’d set up their theater so that when you got your ticket you could either be in tiered seating above the performance space or you’d be standing on the same level as the actors, being part of the action as the crowd. Modern setting, Julius was wearing a red baseball style cap, no kidding. And in good Shakespearean fashion it ended with noble speeches over piles of bodies.

Great way to start a vacation.

Saturday I got up pretty early and went to the March for Our Lives in Albany. Very well attended, very inspiring and uplifting speeches from students and old pols alike. I also popped into the Book House to say hi to my NaNoWriMo friends who were doing a meet the author/reading afternoon event for their new publishing company.

I did a lot of little things, I killed a lot of orcs. I found some things like, my calligraphic stash! In a metal lunchbox I’d collaged… maybe in high school or college?

I took this framed piece off the wall thinking to take it out of the little frame it was in and giving it a better home.

But there was a surprise when I turned it over and found this:

I spent quality time with my big cup o’nope this past week and added this to my available avatar/profile photos.

I went out one day and did this (should have tried to get out more to do more of this)

and I practiced my handwriting while trying to learn the gettysburg address.

Tuesday This and That and the Other and Words

Today was my day off and I’m sure I could have found a lot of useful things to do, but oh well. I got some coffee and then I found a place to sit and sat and wrote for a long time. I piled up a lot of words. I was pooped at the end but I got a lot of story told.

Then I came home, and having gotten a new postcard, I sat down to add it to my little pile of postcards and to put a tick by the senders name. I’m not all weepy about getting or not getting cards but it’s always nice to get one and being that I check off my own cards as I send them out I just do the same for the incoming cards. Anyway here are the cards in the pile at the moment:

Monday at work, while waiting for someone to show up for a class, my coworker handed me an iPad Pro and said here, draw something. So I did.

This was the sky I saw tonight.

And finally (see what happens when you spend too much time stringing words together?) awhile ago I bought two of these fine Palamino Blackwing pencil sharpeners. They’re designed to put a looooong point on the working bit of the pencil. The bit that’s known as “the lead”. The second one I bought the nice young woman at the art supply store told me, very excitedly, about how the inside held two more blades. Now I don’t really know where I’d easily get more blades but I’ll worry about that when the time comes and I have to start replacing blades.

However, when emptying the trimmings of my fine pencils (I sharpened all my drawing pencils from HB to 6B the other night) tonight I noticed this message inside. I don’t think it wants me to stop sharpening my pencils… but now I might have to do a little more research.

Today I Rise

Today I Rise from The Flourish Initiative on Vimeo.