june

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This month of June got off to a slow start, with day after day of cool damp rain. But now it has begun to show its true self and I couldn’t be happier. 🙂 The skies are blue, the air fragrant with peonies and roses, and the temperatures have reached summer-hot. We have worked hard to finish much of the vegetable planting, and today I have started on the strawberry jam making. Our feeders have been busy with young fledglings, led there by parents likely ready for them to soon leave the nest, as well as the arrival this week of our favorite hummingbirds. Plans have been made for a trip to our local ice cream shop, too. The extra hours of sunlight, the fireflies signaling the end of day, the young deer stretching their new legs, the anticipation of summer festivals and trips to the beach all add to my love of this time of year and fill me with gratitude, for a beautiful June day is such a gift to savor. Here’s hoping you too can get outside today and enjoy the season wherever you are!

ends and beginnings

Last week I had my last final critiques and portfolio review, and this week is graduation and the beginning of the next chapter. It has been an interesting and thrilling experience, this mid-life career shift that has changed the way I spend my days and see the world. And I am so grateful that this opportunity presented itself to me. It will remain a constant reminder throughout my life that beautiful gifts emerge from what at first seems a great loss.

And so I will miss many of my young classmates, too. I am old enough to be most of their mothers, but age often didn’t factor into our relationships — our common interests in and dedication to color and line and form and mastering the Adobe Creative Suite prevailed.

But I am also so, so ready to start that next chapter, with freelance work already lined up and an online store to launch for fall. To have found the work that to me seems like play is such an unexpected joy to savor. And to be able to create and share more beauty with the world is a purpose I am more than thrilled to jump out of bed for each morning.

Here is the link for my online portfolio (rachelmakingart.com), which I’ll be updating often. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

transformation

Around these parts, it’s hard not to witness the seasonal transformation as it’s all around us — blossoms popping out of the ground, the sky bigger and brighter, asparagus and dandelion on the table. And the songbirds! Though the sun set more than an hour ago, the mockingbird carries on singing outside my open window, and will likely do so all night long.

I too am undergoing transformation as the last two weeks of art classes are before me, graduation in just a little over a month, and then I find myself staring a wide, at times daunting, blank canvas where a career, vocation, lifework should be. Sure, I have plans, ideas, some freelance work and craft shows lined up. But there is still so much uncertain that I at times secretly long for the more predictable transformation that a change of season brings. Where the snowdrops bloom before the crocuses, which appear before the daffodils that arrive just before the lilac flowers, and the tulips, peonies, and hydrangea….

At the same time, I itch to be done with my final projects. It’s difficult to find them engaging when there’s so much more on my mind. Because as uncertain the future, I also know that it’s time for me to move on, that my work at the school is (almost) finished, and that, like the young birds pecking their ways out of the pale blue and speckled shells, also to enter an unknown world, I must go. Despite whatever doubt arises in the moment, I am ready.

With a major life change on the horizon and a birthday celebrated this past week, the time is right for contemplation. I am grateful these days have coincided with Easter and its themes of loves and miracles and rebirth. They’ve helped to fill in the pauses, the negative spaces of my thoughts, as has the singing mockingbird — our sentinel of spring and warm, bright days ahead.

 

june musings

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This is our fifth spring on Baldy Hill, and we find ourselves delighting in more of nature’s beauty with each passing day. And I am grateful to those who came before us, those who planted the irises, the peonies, the Sweet William. I wonder about those people, how they came to select the blooms they did, and their places in the garden. And I’m happy to see our own marks being left now, the lavender, the gooseberry and blueberry bushes, my grandmother’s lily. Although we have no plans to leave Baldy Hill anytime soon, I hope that whoever inherits our space appreciates what we leave behind. For I believe that one of the most important things we can do in this world is leave a positive mark on our land, no matter how short or long our stay. Enjoy this beautiful month!

memorial day remembrances

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I love this image of an American Red Cross nurse knitting during World War I — amazing to think this photo is almost one hundred years old! For the past year and a bit, we have been listening to the BBC Radio 4 drama Home Front, which follows the lives of many characters in real time through the first world war. Although fictionalized, the story lines were adapted from actual accounts and newspaper articles. Many of us today are fortunate to not have lived through such times; this program relates how war seeps into every crevice of life, even for those at home, “safe.” Worth a listen, especially today as we take time to remember those men and women who sacrificed so much for us and their countries.

this week

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Thanks to abundant rain followed by daily doses of sunshine and superwarm temperatures, this week our surroundings transformed into a lush green paradise virtually overnight. The garden is thriving as well, and as I plant I daydream of that first tomato sandwich, the fresh peas straight from the pod, corn on the cob, ahhhhh! Summer may not be here yet officially, but it’s what we’re thinking about this week. 🙂

 

weeding

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When the weather cooperates these days, we are busy outside planting but also weeding. This season of spring is one of rebirth, but thinning out and removing what is no longer beneficial to us is also necessary to ensure growth — both literally and metaphorically. Of course, what constitutes a weed may not always be easily agreed upon. Indeed, I have a friend who is an expert forager who enjoys many a plant that I would pull up and discard. And where James sees a weed, I often see a pretty blossom.

While I pass spring hours in the garden removing unwanted plants that are robbing nutrients from the earth and space in our garden plots, I have much time for contemplation. And often I find myself thinking about what also needs to be pruned from my own inner garden and life. Recently James and I were reminiscing about life before mobile devices and how we peacefully spent our weekend days, nostalgic for coffee shops with actual books and newspapers and no wifi.

So when I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s post this past week about implementing a digital sabbath, I was intrigued — and game to join in. And so as the sun sets this Saturday evening, I will switch off the devices, the social media, and enjoy the quiet disconnect from the digital world for 24 hours. Like Elizabeth, I am grateful in many ways for living in this technical age. But I also understand the need to sometimes switch off and prune away some time without the impossible to avoid distractions that mobile devices have become.

And so, I sign off for now, with a steaming mug and a pile of neglected books by my side, already satisfied by all the weeding I’ve done today — outside and indoors equally. 🙂