Thursday, May 30, 2013

I can see clearly now...

On Tuesday I had cataract surgery on my right eye.  As surgeries go, and thankfully I haven't had many, this one is pretty much a 'piece of cake'.  Day surgery where you're not even full zonked out - that's the best kind.

Of course I had to ponder eyes and the wonders that they bring every day.  And also be ever so thankful that mine are still going strong, that there is surgery such as this that can keep me seeing well and remind myself not to take something so important for granted.

I'm thankful today not only for the beauty I see around me, the ability to read the words on this screen and the wonders I have yet to see -- but for the fact I can see them a bit clearer than I could before.

"And now, this is the sweetest and most glorious day that ever my eyes did see."  - Donald Cargill

Monday, May 27, 2013

Stand Still

We took a walk up one of the trails in the Pisgah Forest the other day.  It was early morning and dew was still on some of the leaves.  We were literally surrounded on all sides - above and below - with green.

We walked across streams.

We wandered through and beside and past all manner of ferns, mosses, grasses, shrubs and trees.  Except for little slices of blue sky that sometimes appeared above - we were in a green world.

At the end of the trail we were greeted by this waterfall -- pouring down with a rushing noise. 

Stand still.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.

An old Native American elder story rendered into modern English by David Wagoner, in The Heart Aroused - Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte, Currency Doubleday, New York, 1996.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


This morning I walked into my studio to this sight.  The sun coming in through the trees, casting shadows upon my play area and the needlework waiting for me.  What better way to start the day.
I'm currently working this bird design.  Although its pretty laborious because of the small spots on his body, its working up well and I'm having so much fun plying my needle in and out. 

Because of the design I realized almost as soon as I began, that it would look much better as a 'reverse' punchneedle design.  The loops on the other side would not show the delineation of the design at all -- but the flat reverse punchneedle works quite well.

Stitchery and creativity bring me such peace and joy - and I'm especially thankful for this little spot in the world where I'm allowed to spend my days.

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." - Lou Holtz

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's Next?

While visiting New Mexico it was a joy to be able to see Native American art.  We were dazzled with silver jewelry, weavings, sand paintings and pottery to name a few offerings.  All of it was lovely, but I was especially entranced by the black and white pottery on display.  There are several Native American societies that create black and white pottery.  Two forms that I became familiar with are from the Zuni and Acoma Pueblos.  I loved the designs and the juxtaposition of the black and white. 

Once home I couldn't get the images of this form of pottery out of my mind.  While in New Mexico I had picked up a book called "Indian Designs".  This book is created for the artist - be it jewelry or weaving or pottery.  The book contains simple and basic designs which very much appealed to me.

So in the coming weeks I will be attempting to portray my own version of these ancient and mystical designs via Punchneedle.  In my mind's eye I see animals in their stylistic best, needlepunched and framed in simple black frames.  I've picked out the first set - three bird designs plus ecru and black embroidery floss.  Let's see what my thoughts become.
"If we wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come." - Arapaho

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dupont Forest

Once upon a time there was a chemical facility run by Dupont in the middle of the forest.  Dupont closed its facility and the State took over the forest.  It is now a beautiful place in which to walk.  There are many trails and at the end of the main trail a lovely waterfall that breaks over huge, ancient rocks.

We went for a walk there last week.  In all the times that we have visited the area and the falls we have never seen as much water as we did this year.

It was standing in places where it had never been - run off from the surging stream.

It was flowing off of rocks and making beautiful white water.

There have been times, in years past, that we hiked up to the top of the falls.  Not this year!  The water has taken over its whole space.

Over this past spring we often wondered if it would ever stop raining but seeing all that water made those soggy days well worth it.

"In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time." - Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Desert Trees

If you've been a long-time visitor to my blog you know that I have a fascination with trees - or at least the trunks of trees.  I'm always looking for patterns in them and marveling at their shapes, forms and textures.

Our recent trip to the southwest desert allowed me many 'tree events'.  Desert trees are always very inspiring to me.  They are constantly subjected to the forces of nature.  Sun, rain, snow and especially wind can shape these beauties into 'twisty' forms that leave me in awe.

We found this lovely winter white tree in Nevada.  When we asked its name we were told it was the "Snowball" tree.  Its blooms, as they fall from the tree, leave the sidewalks and yards covered with white petals.  Doesn't the trunk look like its advertising winter all year long?  Although it might look like someone has carved into this tree to make the designs it has formed these markings in its bark all by itself.

This pine tree was found on the plains that surround the drop into the Rio Grande River.  Very blustery there and as you can see the wind has been playing games by twisting its trunk into lovely, intricate shapes.

"To touch the earth is to have harmony with nature." - Oglala Sioux

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bandelier National Monument


One of the most wonderful aspects of our trip to the New Mexico desert was its rich history and the fact that it is being carefully preserved.  Bandelier National Monument recognizes and honors the ancient people who lived in this area.  Evidence of human activity dates back 10,000 years.  I can't even begin to tell you how I feel when I am in the presence of a civilization that is so ancient. 

The rock formations here were originally formed by two violent volcano eruptions  more than one million years ago. The pink rock of the canyon wall looks like sandstone but is actually volcanic ash that compacted over time.  The Ancestral Pueblo people used tools to enlarge some of the natural openings in the cliff face.  Stone dwellings were constructed in front of these enlarged openings.

These ruins are the plaza of Tyuonyi.  The walls surrounding this plaza would have been smooth-plastered with mud.  I can only imagine the sights, sounds and smells of the daily activity within and around this village.

This painted design, or pictograph, was part of the back wall of a second story dwelling.

I thank those who have worked to preserve and pass along the teachings of thisoh so long ago period of time in our history.  Walking here on a lovely spring afternoon took me back into time in a wonderful way.

"Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountain in its azure hue." - Thomas Campbell

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Thoughts

As I stood taking pictures of the 'big' country that surrounded me last week I realized that never, ever would I be able to convey to anyone, through photography, the grandeur of the land on which I was standing.

When the deep blue sky goes from horizon to horizon and huge mountains surround me - how can that be captured in my small lens? 

My thoughts were that I am so very small, especially when standing in the middle of this enchanted open land, and my insignificance is enhanced in my mind.  That's not a bad feeling for me - it puts my everyday thoughts, worries, even joys into a perspective that becomes crystal clear in the high desert light.

At the same time I get a feeling of being a part of something so huge and unimaginable - so beautiful and wild and rugged - that to be a small cog in its existence is the greatest of blessings.  I am thankful that I can stand in my smallness and feel that I'm contributing to its history.  If I am to value a small rock found along the side of the road why wouldn't I also value my own being and try to live up to the great challenges that a lifetime brings?

This past week has only brought the wonders and gifts that our world presents us to the forefront of my mind and I am both humbled and honored.

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~


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