Coming Home

I ached for home so badly I could practically taste it in the back of my throat. My summer at the Festival was not good. There were some beautiful people and some incredible work, but ultimately I was not sorry to put my back to the place. One of the things that made it difficult was the knowledge of what was existing here, in Syracuse, while I was away. My man, my cat, a landscape that was alive and drenched in summer after a winter that sliced it to the bones. Now I am here, in that landscape, with my man (and my cat) and I could not be more grateful. There is so much here to fill my days. True I have gone back to working at the Stage, but in comparison to the hell storm that my life was the last few weeks, the hours I keep at the Stage seem almost lazy. Handsome and I have been going on adventures every weekend since my return and my mind and behavior have been equalizing slowly. This past weekend we went driving through Madison County for Open Farm Day. Myself, Handsome, and another couple who were kind enough to join us spent the day driving through gorgeous countryside full of lush hills, patchwork grasses, and many a family-owned farm with every kind of animal and farm-raised food imaginable. What a luxury to be able to drive anywhere we desire and to have that desire fulfilled with home places so lovely that they encompass one with music and other delicious sensations. I am so viciously glad to be home.

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Winter Love

Is anyone else tired of hearing about the weather? Seems like every time I look at social media, there is another status about the cold, or the snow, or the wind chill….

That complaining done, I too am going to talk about the weather. My not-so-secret secret is that I  actually enjoy the cold. I understand that part of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I have a warm home to retreat to in times of bitter weather, but I recognize that and count it as a blessing. That understanding aside, I love walking out bundled in all my knits. The moment I open the outer door I feel an instant and overwhelming urgency to live. Cold infuses a deep passion in me to walk further, open my eyes wider, and breathe more deeply. Extreme cold shocks my nerves into remembrance that I am made of fire, light, and bright things. In comparison, extreme heat just makes me feel like a gelatinous blob of water that should probably just stay still and continue to melt (and be horrendously miserable). 

Winter is a time of precision. The branches of the trees tracing ink lines in the sky drawing the eye upward to the crisp motion of birds and, when the sky is not a sheet of slate gray dullness, the early moonrise. Snow falling is the most holy of silences, with flakes falling in delicate spirals of delicious force. The world feels so vulnerable and the bitterness biting my face sings of my own vulnerability. Nature can still level and stun me. I am barely capable of surviving it outside of the comfort of my own home, but this does not cause me fear. This knowledge causes me to grit my teeth and remember my brightness. For stars still gleam on frozen nights and the tiny sparks of Spring are just waiting for the moment when they can come forth and dance. Winter is for patience and dancing in one’s  vulnerability in the midst of the vast forces of this beautiful place.

Outakes (Romping through the Vineyards)

Yesterday was the last full day off for the rest of our time here at the Camp. Considering we have only a few days left, we decided to make it a most worthwhile day. Thus Helena, BearGirl, the Thinker, and myself a piled into my Silver Steed/Prius of Adventure and set off for an afternoon of wine and wondrous fun We had decided to hit three wineries along M22. The first was Good Harbor Vineyards. We all picked 5 wines to sample from the extensive list and a souvenir glass came with the tasting. I sampled a most glorious Cherry Wine that made dark chocolate sing in my mouth (the gentleman gave us dark chocolate kisses with the instructions, “sip the wine, take a bite of chocolate, then sip.”). Twas so good a bottle may have followed me out of the place ;). Next, on to Gills Pier Winery. Handsome and I had visited this winery on our previous excursion on M22, I had gone back again on my own, and I simply had to bring my friends with me. I truly like this sweet little place.

Overlooking the vineyard

Overlooking the vineyard

The whole gang

The whole gang

From Gills, we went on to our best find of the day. BearGirl had recently been on a plane trip and she mentioned that she had sat next to a most interesting person. The woman spoke of an organic winery in Northport Michigan…which turned out to be right where we were headed. Thus, we found ourselves at Good Neighbor Organic. Not only does this place have wine, but they also make incredible ciders that absolutely blew the socks and shoes straight off my feet. Stan, the owner, also bid us go play in the vineyard/orchard and pick some lavender.  We happily complied 🙂

Wine fun 8 Wine fun 9 Wine fun 17 Wine fun 14 Wine fun 19

Twas a very good day indeed :).

 

Outakes (simple joys)

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The way the colors are striping in the heel of this sock makes my mouth water. All I can think of is daytime sky meets twilight water.

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I know it’s just lotion, but this stuff seriously allows me to feel luxurious. Not only is it made in an environmentally conscious manner, but it also manages to be a heavenly product. My skin sings when I use it, and it smells ever-so-gently of vanilla cake. Not the vanilla cake smell that slams you with a craving, but rather the gentle scent that comes from a cake that has been cooling. Marvelous stuff, couldn’t recommend it more.

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If those colors do not make your mouth water then go and eat something feisty and delicious and view it again.

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This is copy of The Wind In the Willows dated 1966. Fully illustrated and utterly charming, I am happily pursing this delightful world in just the type of volume it should be viewed.

Outakes (Christening a new lens with some avian subjects)

Recall a post where I displayed a beautiful new telephoto lens for my glorious camera Clara? I am not a brilliant photographer, but documenting my work for my portfolio is very important. Thus, one very good Christmas, my parents gifted me with a Canon Rebel, and I have never wanted for a better camera. Not only does she do a smashing job with portfolio pictures, she also provides a great way for me to enjoy memories from my various excursions, particularly of the natural variety. I have been aching for a lens that allows me more variety in my close-up shots, and the rents came through yet again. I took the little beauty for a test drive at Lettuce Lake, and let’s just say many a bird gave me quite the money shot 🙂

One of my favorite marshland birds, I find them extremely graceful and elegant.

One of my favorite marshland birds, I find them extremely graceful and elegant.

Extremely common down here, but this loveling posed so nicely I just had to capture.

Extremely common down here, but this loveling posed so nicely I just had to capture.

These guys are super- neat. They create shade with their wings so that fish will gather there to escape the sun. Then WAM!! Fishy delicious.

These guys are super- neat. They create shade with their wings so that fish will gather there to escape the sun. Then WAM!! Fishy delicious.

Not sure of the name, but would never have gotten such a little one before this lens :)

Not sure of the name, but would never have gotten such a little one before this lens 🙂

Again, not sure of the bird's name, but I see them only occasionally hidden in the vegetation. It's always the eyes that catch me.

Again, not sure of the bird’s name, but I see them only occasionally hidden in the vegetation. It’s always the eyes that catch me.

Sweet little fellow, and they don't get much bigger than the length of my forearm.

Sweet little fellow, and they don’t get much bigger than the length of my forearm.

I cannot begin to describe how hard I fought for this shot. This little snot insisted on ducking in and out of various vegetation for twenty minutes. Becoming frustrated, I left for a half hour. As I came back, the beauteous snark had moved into a perfectly open area and looked at me innocently as he posed. Not. Fooled.

I cannot begin to describe how hard I fought for this shot. This little snot insisted on ducking in and out of various vegetation for twenty minutes. Becoming frustrated, I left for a half hour. As I came back, the beauteous snark had moved into a perfectly open area and looked at me innocently as he posed. Not. Fooled.

See, I can fly too!!

See, I can fly too!!

Outakes (the rest of those moments/ Lettuce Lake)

On Tuesday, I found myself in my own good company at a most magical spot just down the street from my home. ZeldaStark turned me on to the location, and thus I found myself spending a good portion of that day at Lettuce Lake National Park.

The park does have some trails for jogging and biking, but I spent my time exploring a portion of the extensive boardwalks that wound through the riverlands.

The trees were dense in that strange way that marsh growth can seem so slender, and yet you can’t make out what’s beyond. However, then there is an opening.

I am horrible about looking up the names of things, because I enjoy making them up in the private recesses of my brain. I also feel a certain pretension giving a thing a name that has known itself far longer than I have been alive. Thus, I admire and am content to just love the appearance of these trees.

"Just eat the blossoms, that's the good stuff."

These were scattered all through the beds of the swamp leaves, and I was utterly charmed.

I found an observation deck, and this was a view off of one side.

A most lovely gator

This pretty came swimming up to join me. She was not large, maybe four to six feet, but I was mesmerized by her for a goodly while.

She circled around for a while…

…then she swam right up to the platform. I promise anyone who is concerned, I was actually completely out of reach, and I did not close that distance for the sake of the picture.

Though I wished to stay indefinitely, the sun began to descend, and I had another engagement.

And so, reluctantly, I took my leave with every intention of returning soon.

Making Sense

I find that I am perfectly content with being left alone to just bury myself  in yarn, paint, and the written word. I mean, I certainly go outside to  take in the sunlight and the natural world, but otherwise I would just rather be left to the seemingly endless endeavors these few activities provide me. People are awesome, but I have never found myself in want of company from the individuals that I know, even with my pursuits.  There is simply a child in me who just can’t understand why she ever has to put her books down, or give up in the middle of a row. In terms of knitting and spinning, they just make sense to me. Sounds silly, but I mean that in the deepest sense of the term. These crafts make sense to me in an innate way that I don’t feel even with paint. I don’t know if I can adequately describe it, but it’s like that ability to pick up the instrument and play. Stitches are a form of solace, projects are a release from anxiety. There is no mistake that is beyond repair, there is no end to the variation of appearance of even the most basic patterns. All projects have a rhythm, and your hands can find it without your eyes watching every move. When I make a mistake while knitting, I know even without looking. My hands just stop of their own accord, because the understanding is in them.  Spinning is much the same. The rhythm sits in your hands, all the tension is within your grasp to distribute through the raw material how you choose. Crafting just never seemed complicated to me. Follow the directions, manipulate the yarn this way, and then you get this beautiful product. Simple. No paperwork, no bills, no misunderstandings so large they will threaten your reality. Knitting makes sense to me in the midst of so much silliness that we as humans have thrust upon each other. Tis the way I can physically create order and beauty amidst the less than orderly and beautiful things in my existence. I am, quite literally, making sense (or nonsense if you mean it in the Wonderland definition of the word). I think we all need that, something we do consistently that just, simply put, makes sense.