By day, my porch-based co-worker Poppy and I work on some sketches and picture post-cards to send along to my trusty pen-pals. We also sketch. Crows caw in the trees above, but Poppy pays them no mind.
Technically I am on vacation, but art-making is not merely work for me, but play. This line being quite blurred in the day to day back home, vacation reminds me the importance of the ‘play’ side of the equation.
I begin with pencil, moving on from there to a little traditional sketch with watercolor and a bit of ink. All good, and a great way to warm up.
After a bit, I want to paint but I am too lazy to move off the porch to retrieve the gouache set up. So I ask the watercolors if they might like to play, just for fun.
And these two little paintings happened. I am pleased with them and will treat them as studies for larger works. We shall see. Tomorrow they will be on the wing, stamped for traveling.
Either way, it is fun to feel like I have tapped into something – a bit. We have, after all, been mired in fear and grief, anxieties and longing of late. It can be taxing to a soul. This journey to our Maine homeland has been a pleasant escape, though signs of the state of all things are readily apparent anywhere we go. So few tourists -to drive through Freeport is nigh on creepy. Any ‘outing’ we do has strict protocols for safety and distancing. But we carry on. Occasionally managing an oyster (like on our anniversary) or a beer or two, like last night.
By night, all the household co-workers come together for a bevvie and a catching up on the day, grateful to be together in these strange times. Tonight it’s dinner in, which is good. One can only handle so much town-centered anxiety.
It is nearly 3 pm here and I have yet to get my swim in for the day, but I am keen to try. We shall see…….
Meantime, here is another version of a selkie song I shared yesterday:
With all this ocean swimming of late, here’s a reminder of the wee filim (that’s Irish speak for film) I did a couple months ago (doesn’t it seem like an AGE!!!) with my pal Nuala and her musical mates from the Snowflake Trio:
There are quiet gifts arriving daily here at our lowly little acre. A baby oak seedling I have been stewarding in the last year or so made it through the winter and has wee buds of life bursting forth. My good musical friend Emmanuel found this little tree in a setting that mightn’t have let it grow and asked if he might dig it up for me. I said yes and so the little seedling arrived and I have crafted for it a home here and the rest has been up to it. It seems happy. I am grateful for friends who see the world like I do.
Ferns are coming up. They are a bit like big-footed teenagers romping through the house. Taking up too much space, yet gorgeous in their unfurling. We have some to share if you would like them. They love shade, and spreading out. Much like human teenagers actually. Just send me a message if you would like some. we can have a socially distant digging party of sorts.
A number of weeks ago, eager for spring, I took a few cuttings from the willow tree we planted last year, which is thriving (don’t worry, I humbly asked permission first).
These spindly little cuttings quickly made roots and are now forming proper trees in various places in the yard. Getting trees to grow is a big goal of mine here, having lost so many in recent years. I look forward to helping these little trees become big trees in the coming years.
In the veggie garden, plans are afoot to attempt what’s called a “Hugelkultur” which is basically a little mounded garden space which increases ground space as well as makes way for the organic matter necessary to feed hungry plants.
My beloved hawthorn tree, which is thriving, has spring buds upon it. She seems really happy to be the mother hen of this new protected garden space and is relieved of the old armor we kept on her trunk to keep the destructive deer at bay. We are all breathing a bit easier now, in spite of a pandemic.
a few bits and bobs have gone into the ground and I visit a few times daily to see how we are faring.
But garden gifts aren’t the only ones quietly arriving day to day here at Chez Bogard. The post has been a blessing as well. Some of my more trusty penpals have taken to the postal waves to comfort one another in these strange times and thankfully, this has included me.
I’ve received belated birthday gifts, hand painted seed collections, long missives with the hopes and dreams of a pandemic age. I’ve sipped the gifts of exotic tea bags and read articles from far flung periodicals lovingly snipped and sent along. And just yesterday, party flags arrived to welcome the new deer boundary.
Firstly, my artist friend Michelle who is hunkering in Sheboygan WI sent me 50 snapshots of her view of Lake Michigan near her home. 50 snaps for 50 years of my own life. She is a talented gift giver. For my 40th, it was pebbles in a hand crocheted bag. I still treasure them. I’ll admit, these in their beautiful blueness took my breath away and made me a little weepy.
Gifts such as these make my heart soar.
Letters come, big and small, sometimes bearing other gifts beyond words within, like tea and seeds. But often the words are enough. The two above are from two separate pen friends. Both know I adore the natural world.
Other gifts will keep on giving long after arrival. These pumpkins will be tested on the Hugelkultur this year. I love the little drawing on their seed pack. One of a kind.
And the flags, well the flags were a request actually. I have had them in my living room and now I have a few sets for my garden – the new living-room as it were. They are part prayer-flag, part party-flag.
Joyfulness is a form of prayer. I adore them.
Joy in a time of sadness.
They are crafted by my soul-sister in Vermont, @complimentcoins who makes little bits of love and kindness to sow into the world like seeds.
Some of her little coins are on order to send to my beloved pen friends around the world. We could all use a bit of love and kindness just now, don’t you think?
There is much news that needs attention paying to it just now. But a big one for me is the notion that the federal postal service is in question here in our country right now. This is a long time coming as the service has been saddled with rules and restrictions that have caused their budget to be out of balance in recent decades. It’s a long and complicated thing which I don’t truly fully understand. But one thing I do understand is that the timing is crucial.
As we face this pandemic, we also stare down what is likely the most vital election our country has ever faced. Voting by mail simply must be an option this fall in the face of uncertainty at best, and a second wave of the virus at worst. And sure enough, those in power would like to defund the post office by October. Just in time for the election.
We must be diligent. And let our representatives know how we feel about this. Via post, ideally.
I for one, plan to vote by mail at the earliest opportunity. That was my original plan before all of this madness arrived as I hope to be in Ireland for October and a chunk of November this autumn. Time will tell if I get my residency after all, and honestly that is the least of my worries in a world of so many worries just now.
If this idea resonates with you, write a letter to your senators, write a letter to your loved ones far away, and even one to those just up the road. A hand written note or packaged gift can brighten these dark days in ways few other things can.
We small creatures must take to the postal waves and make our voices heard. It is the only way.
Go. Be the gift.
Ps: you are not alone in feeling a lack of concentration in these strange times. I really enjoyed this article about the Allostatic Load. We will get through this. (Charlie, this is for you.)