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. 🙂

Spring, we love you!

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One of my favorite times of year has arrived and I couldn’t be happier! The change in light, the smell of earth in the air, the birdsong all make it impossible not to start the day with a smile. I also, like many, find myself with the desire to clean house, and this afternoon set to straightening and prettying up our porch. I can’t pick up a broom anymore without thinking of our neighbor in Spain, Almudena, who began each and every day with a broom in hand, sweeping down our pedestrianized calle. At this time of year, she and the other women neighbors busied themselves with touching up their home’s whitewash, as all must be in perfect order before Semana Santa and Easter.

The rebirth, the Circle of Life, the light inspire and make all seem possible again after the dark of winter. I feel it — hope you all do too! 🙂

in the garden

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This past week the weather has been warm and humid, with a bit of rain — exactly what the garden ordered. As a result, just about everything has been shooting up in leaps and bounds: the sunflowers grew more than a foot, pea pods began to fill up quickly, and wee zucchini seemingly burst out of nowhere. Tat soi, salad greens, radishes, and host of fresh herbs — cilantro, oregano, and basil — made their way from the garden to our plates this week, too. And the garlic scapes are almost ready to cut and grill up this weekend — can’t wait! The rest of the garden is looking a bit of a wilderness, to be frank. The late afternoon rains and lingering dampness have meant there’s been little mowing this week, but I confess there is a part of me that adores the overgrown look. 🙂