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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Being Out and Returning In

Being Out
I needed to get out the city today, to breath in the crisp air of autumn swirling down from the mountains and feel the fullness of my stride covering un-humanized land, rich with bear scat and elk prints and a plethora of woodpeckers flashing white rumps in the sun.
There is something about miles of land that causes all the little shutters in my chest to fly open and the wild wind whistles through like the rustle of aspens on the riverbanks.
I need that.  Truly I do.
* * *

I should mention I'm home!  The weekend was exactly what it needed to be: laughter until my cheeks ached, phenomenal dining, authentic sharing of heart, two women whom I'm honored to count as dear friends, one babe with a grin the size of Texas, and plenty of whiskey all around.
It's such an interesting life, such an interesting dichotomy:
True community deepens my heart, refocuses my purpose, brings me laughter and a sense of "I am not alone in this crazy thing called life."
Wild solitude broadens my heart, clears my head, brings me bliss and a sense of "I belong here with my feet on this earth."

I suppose I just want the best of both worlds.
I suppose that's not a bad thing to want.
* * *

It's a rambling sort of afternoon, easy and thoughtful.  I'm grateful.  I'm thirsty.  I'm in the middle of painting a gray fox and two quails.  I have piles of sketches littering the metal bench: necklaces, earrings, odonata wings abound, more than I'll be able to make this week.  I've been trying to grab a photo of the cheekiest squirrel who scrambles up and down the juniper, boldly spying in on me (BC keeps faux threatening to buy a pellet gun, I keep faux threatening to buy a squirrel feeder.  Either way, we've got money on Freyja catching one before the year runs out, little huntress that she is).

It's good out there people.  It's good in here too.

I'd love to hear what you're up to today!  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Airport Edition

Flyin' on a Jet Plane

One of these days I'll learn to wear less jewelry when going through security screenings.

That's probably not true.

But what is true is that Seattle knows how to do airports right:
(one) The coffee shops are spaced approximately every 200 feet, offer rice milk, and every single one has a line out the door.
(two) Approximately every 400 feet, there are signs reading "cocktails!" that point to the nearest bar establishment along with the estimated time it will take one to walk there (apparently there are some serious cocktail emergencies here and WHY I ask you does the DMV not follow this model?).

All of this to say I'm heading down to California for a long weekend to meet up with a couple ladies who are just my types.  See you soon birds!
 ~ Umber ~

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Small but Mighty Forest

A Small but Mighty Forest
ReWild-ing Rings
(sterling silver and - left to right - malachite, Kingman turquoise (reserved), chrysocolla with malachite(reserved), and lastly, more malachite (reserved)!)

Birthed during a beautiful talk with a friend about the need to rewild our hearts and souls, how to share a deep love for the earth and her flora and fauna in a way that feels accesible and freeing.  Afterwards, I couldn't help but bring a whole forest into the studio.

I'll be listing these babies in the shop sometime tomorrow; until then inquiries and reserves are welcome!
* * *

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On the subject of Migratory Patterns

Migratory Patterns
On the long, 14 hour drive from the wild Northern California coast to the [glorious but unseasonable] golden warmth of Seattle, I had plenty of time for deep thoughts.  There were also a few rousing and crass rounds of "dead or alive" via walkie talkies with BC, but today I'm here to share the physical fruits of those silent and solo thoughts.

I feel as though I've flow north, both literally and figuratively, for a season of life-summer.  The last few years in California felt like a winter of body and soul, a time to pull back, to heal, to rest in the solitude of my little cave, to gestate on thoughts and goals and divine ideas.  
But now?  It's time to gather, time for action, time to rejoin community, time for growing sleek and examining all those ideas in the light of day.
This brings me to think about soul seasons.  Naturally, we all shift through seasons with the earth, but I think the soul runs on a time all its own.  A winter may last three years, skip spring entirely and dive straight into high summer.  We may harvest every good fruit we've produced only to wake the next morning to find the tree of our heart laden and full for the picking again.  Likewise, times may be lean and it's all we can do to wrap up tighter and just stay warm.  This makes a period of hibernation almost mandatory!  How freeing is that!
As I pierced and hand-sawed every single little hoof print, I felt myself migrating.  With every track, striding a bit farther north, into a depth of sun I just now realize I've been missing, hearing the calls and chatter of my tribe.  Of course summer will not last forever, but for right now, I'm ready to embrace it.
Migratory Patterns
earrings ~ sterling silver and copper
rings ~ 100% sterling silver

(heading to the shop momentarily...)

If you feel so bold, I'd love to hear where you are.  Spring?  Autumn?  In a week that had contained them all?  Wherever you are, know that you are exactly where you need to be at this very moment, not too late, not too long, but exactly right.
It's good to be back with you!  
~ Umber ~

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Things Friday (A Warm Welcome)
Have a gorgeous weekend birds!  May your days be full of brunch dates and soul-fire and spicy autumnal leg wear!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some come here to fiddle and dance, some come here to tarry...
It should be noted that the grass here is relatively spider free.
This is a really huge deal.
Living in the wilds in Northern California we had no shortage of land-space, tangled and native and ungroomed as it were.  With this, apparently, comes gobs and gobs of spiders.  There is a chapter from Annie Dillard in Pilgrim wherein she muses on the numerical breakdown of living organisms in a single square foot of earth below her toes.  I often wryly contemplated this as I stood [still a bit uncomfortably] on a safe thickness of shoe sole and noted the sheer number and variety of the arachnids scurrying about on whatever business a spider happens to have on a Wednesday afternoon at three p.m.  I tell you what, it's not boot shopping.  Which is what I'd be doing if I had eight feet to shod.  And a fresh hole in my favorite pair (promise, this is the last of my boot woes you'll hear about).
Now, here at home in Seattle the turf is a dry, autumnal blend of grasses and deep spongy moss.  I never want to wear shoes again.
Has any one else dressed for work on a late summer day, gathered their lunch and water, popped in the car, drove across town and JUST before stepping out onto the molten pavement realized YOU HAD FORGOTTEN TO WEAR SHOES?   This has happened to me.  Twice.
~ Back to the real thoughts ~
I took the dogs for their run this afternoon, and upon arriving home, couldn't help but lay myself out on that thick pad of greenery below the apple tree.  I thought about that square foot, and I was so flipping proud of Nature.  That the earth, even here surrounded by children in double strollers wielding soggy crackers , construction workers in dirty white shirts, herds of teenagers looking mall-ishly rasta, and even my own mailman Pat*, even here is thick with life.  The land is RICH.  It nearly vibrates with the thunder of my footsteps and the sweet fermentation of rotting apples.  I know if I but dug my fingers into the soil I would find a host of beating, climbing, crunching, rolling little beings.  And while they may be no beauties, just knowing they are there brings a comfort.
It's not enough for me to see pictures of trees, or even to paint them.  It's not enough to say "yes, nature is over there, I'm sure of it." I need it to stain my skin, tangle my hair, co-mingle in my pores, because my own nature is too wild for anything else.
I suppose this is my mission and my wish for this next chapter; to be a little unruly, to flick my tail at the neighbors, to wear lichen and stretch my wings ever wider.
Make a Wish, You Celestial Supernovas!
* * *
*  Pat just filled out the "who can receive mail at this address" tag inside our box to say "Clark / Dove"  Can I tell you how much I love this?)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Seattlite

Only wear the finest moss for this hand...
This morning I took a turn about the property while the skies still dripped and the squirrels tormented the dogs.  I can not even express my gratitude to the powers that be that this odd patch of city-proper property is large enough to warent a turn!  Truly it feels like a mini forest, green and deep, that just happens to be exactly one block from a sweet little coffee shop and a pretty major grocery.  I had only hoped for a compromise this gentle, for a place to live that would feel easy on this wildish soul.
Durring my turn, I also discovered a rather tragic hole in the side of my boots which resulted in a squishy wet sock, but truly just means I need to go boot shopping pronto (I know, serious first world problems... poor me and my boot collection.  p.s. don't judge me).
At night I lay in bed listening to the pull of wind and the slosh of rain for hours.  We've had the bedroom window open, which means the breeze blows in and travels approximately ten inches to my nose, and smells like Jesus on toast.  I don't even know what that means, but it's spicy and damp and green and crisp and I love it.
Color Study
* * *
Last Saturday when we held a little "come help us unload the moving truck and we'll treat you to lunch and day drinking," a dear friend stood in the center of the living room amid towering piles of boxes, bags, barely enough room to wind a path, and announced that our things already seemed to fit this house.  I have to agree.  It's all coming together surprisingly easily.  A few days ago I repainted the living room from a mustard-ketchup combination (not terrible, but crimson walls just don't feel like me) to a luscious "Retro Avocado" and a color found in the Home Depot "oops" department that looks like the pale greenie-yellow heart center of a white dalhia. 
* * *
I know Seattle has a rap for grey skies and daily drizzles.  I'm here to tell you that while this is true, summers in the Pacific Northwest are a glory to behold.  Right now as I type the sunlight is pouring in the windows, illuminating every nook and cranny.  I don't believe I'll even need to turn on a light when I set to work in the studio today for the first time; have I mentioned that room is more windows than walls?  Big, wide, triple paned original 1920's windows?  It's swoonable.  I think some good work will come out of that space.  
* * *
(from my sketchbook writings, early September 2012)
The light is slanting through the front door windows in a full spectrum on morning chroma.  Dust particles, microscopic detritus, even the inevitable dog hair floating in those beams, they all cause me to stop in my tracks and take in the rising sun.  East.  This is a new beginning, a new turn, a new day, a new chapter and that prismacolored light sums up my feelings about this new house.
Last night in those same beveled panes I studied a magnificent moth illuminated by the porch light.  She caused me to remember BC's words in my moments of angst over the urban life: "It doesn't matter where you are, you'll still find nature, you'll still call it to you."  I can rest easier at night in those words. This plot, this patch of land, a venerable oasis in the city, feels magical.  Like old magic.  The wizened apple tree at the western base of the property, the cedar out front,  the pine to the south; I have no doubt these trees remember when the ridge was a thick expanse of rolling green.  They were young when the foundations of this house were laid, they watched as decades past, homes and families coming and going.  When I put my hands on them, they feel ancient and warm.
I've decided I will love this place.
The Light Seeker and I
* * *
I've missed you my friends.
It feels good to be back.