Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Peace of Wild Things

I am the lone soul who loves all this snow.  I love walking to pick up my son from school and then crunching home in our heavy boots.  I love how all noise is muffled.  How in the first couple of hours after the snow falls, you go outside and it's so silent.  No birds, no cars, no planes.  Just the sound of the wind, and your own breath.

A couple of years ago, my sister gave me a bulky package for my birthday.  Inside were a pair of funny looking red snowshoes - vintage.  She squealed: "Don't you love them! They're used! I got 'em off ebay!" I thought she was crazy, but every time I use them, I am glad she had vision.

A few days ago, I had things on my mind.  Nothing new, really, but the kinds of stupid little things that we all worry about.  Small things on their own but they add up to a full brain.  I needed a little air.  I tucked a snowshoe under each arm and trudged up to Greenway Meadows.

There wasn't a soul there.  The sun was bright; the parking lot unplowed; not a footprint anywhere in sight. I strapped on my fancy red shoes, my gloves, my sassy furry hat and marched up the hill.  I went the long way round the fields, through the rough grass that refuses to be pressed down by even a foot of snow.  So quiet, except for my crunching of the snow. I felt myself breathe easier, the cold air stinging in my lungs, in a good way.

I found myself on Greenway's poetry path and stopped at nearly every one.  I walked with familiar friends: Dickinson, Flaubert, and Wendell Berry, who wrote the one below, entitled: "The Peace of Wild Things". (Forgive the photo quality - Blackberry...)

Berry's words reminded me that peace sometimes lies in wait, like the stars behind the day.  And sometimes, it lies up a hill, on a path, made by funny looking red shoes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Have NOTHING on Proust: Winter Day in the Life

6:16 a.m. alarm radio whipped up blowhard rightwing wonder every morning why am i tuned to this station hit snooze 6:23 a.m. brush teeth put coffee on elixir of life set table breakfast turkey bacon and waffles for kids i hate breakfast strips for kid1 squares for kid 2 check email make bed new underwear same work clothes as yesterday wake kid 1 round 1 wake kid 2 wake kid 1 round 2 lots of whining coffee coffee make lunch snack sign papers pack backpacks hustle vitamins brush teeth socks shoes hurry hurry bus kid 1 sad about heavy backpack looks like burdens of world on kid 1 kid 2 walk to school call husband on way home sky is hard winter blue pick up cold NY Times watch neighbor jog by in 28 degree weather and am for once glad i'm not the athletic type refill coffee throw load of laundry in apron on down to basement lights sigh at the number of projects in states of undress blueberry acai yoplait and plastic spoon i like eating with plastic spoons pick glazes delphinium bluebonnet ruby red chocolate sun yellow clover green see photo of felt pillow wall and figure out glaze pattern for aorta vase old suzanne vega on real live cd number 7 is some journey finish bud vases now votives now chocolates distressed at early drying time for four lamps half finished one giant one big two small curse efficient furnace only two hands only small windows of time wish there were windows in studio then just grateful for studio at all leave question re adhesive on chalkboard make date for coffee with friend re marketing ideas i suck at self-promotion half leftover vito's veg sandwich and 1 oreo no wonder they're america's favorite cookie seltzer with a red straw 38 special on ipod random finish a new blog archive some stuff throw wash in dryer new load throw potatoes in oven to cook for frittata tonight phonecall phonecall phonecall grateful for friends who get it write thank you note stop at post office then library then school to pick up kid 2 grab mail kid 1 bus cookies and milk for kids green tea for me potatoes out field homework questions can't remember high school math or spanish ill-spent fortune on private school make pile of unread catalogs two mandarins and stringcheese and gingersnaps cmon change clothes sneaks throw wash in dryer load kid 2 makes me laugh for three minutes straight water bottles grab racquets cmon cure on radio sky dark already tennis lesson sign in sink into chair flip through catalogs full of nothing i want draw two fast pencil sketches of stripey vessels inspired by socks in catalog chat with photographer mom at next table watch kid 2 give thumbs up through window zoom home set table frittata speeddemon cleanup honey home throw wash in dryer kids pjs brush teeth reading aah they're in bed and quiet falls over the land episode of fringe with husband he says i identify with clinically insane but lovable scientist b/c i am crazy but lovable and i say hey! but he says hits too close to the bone eh and i realize he's right hot tea more gingersnaps jealous of husband's apple pie he eats with abandon head to bed and double sigh at the mountain of laundry on bed needed to be folded before sleep is possible wash face brush teeth pjs read two pages of book club book before cuddling up in spoon and passing out

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

RIP 2010 Reading List

Minimum Space, Maximum Living by Barty Phillips
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Boundaries by Maya Lin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Family At Home by Anita Kaushal
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Solar by Ian McEwan
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin
Generation A by Douglas Coupland
Miles From Nowhere by Nami Mun
The Poems of Emily Dickinson
Poems 1923-1954 e.e. cummings
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
The Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
World Without End by Ken Follett
My Life in France by Julia Child
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year, A Full Kiln

Lusterware goblet by Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood was a genius.  A freaking genius.  Look at this goblet.  Only the Holy Grail would do right by it.

I remember seeing a documentary about Wood some time ago. She lived to be over a hundred, and was making pottery even into her last year.  What is it about those lady potters and longevity?  Takaezu, Zeisel, Wood.  All making pottery as 80, 90, 100 year olds.  Maybe it's some sort of alchemy in the clay, or maybe they've been "cooked" by those kilns - made 'em tougher.

I spent today in the studio for the first time since before the holidays, and the time away gave me some perspective.  I swear my blood pressure is lower than yesterday.  I am tired in the best possible way.  Body tired.  But I am still excited at the promise of what tomorrow will bring downstairs.  It reminded me of what Wood said in her documentary.  She said she was still excited, after all these years, at the promise of what the morning would bring when she'd check the kiln.  She said it wouldn't be ready to open, but she'd just HAVE to peek.  "Just a little peek!" she'd said delightedly, like a little girl.

A new year is such an exciting thing, filled with such expectation and possibility.  It's a full kiln, not cooled down enough to get a whole look.  There could be any kind of result in there.  We have the whole year to uncover what's in store for us.  And every day is:  "Just a little peek!"

Happy New Year, Y'All!!! xo Rae