When a bird, takes flight Wings, sail on air Silhouettes of time Upon clouds, inspire No height, inconceivable Nor dream, unreachable Fear, no longer, an obstacle Hunger, no more, high I soar Tears retreat, from, the earths floor The sky, stretches out, its arms and opens its door from A Bird Takes Flight by Bernard E. Harris
After months of contemplation, I awoke this morning and knew it was time to move. Although I haven’t settled on the exact location for my new home, I am ready to take flight!
It‘s a children’s book…It’s mostly about very small animals; the hero is a moss beetle. – Noël Coward.
For several months I have been utterly enchanted with the animal world and now insects, in particular, are capturing my attention. Previously, I associated insects with mostly the stinging kind; yes, occasionally a monarch butterfly or ladybug would land on me, but mostly I was a target for anything that would bite, be it mosquitoes, bees, wasps, deer flies, fleas, spiders, fire ants, etc. So my relationship with bugs has not been the best over the years.
But last October that all changed when I attended an exhibition called Crawly Creatures at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and became fascinated with the images of bugs on the pages of illuminated manuscripts, oil paintings, and ornaments. Since then I have discovered the beauty of these small creatures – be it their colors, textures, and/or intricate body parts- especially the wings!
Last week, as I walked around my neighborhood, I starting noticing insects everywhere- lurking on the edges of branches, flower greenery, and flying through the air. They have transmuted in my mind from being creatures of nuisance, to be cast off (or squashed!) to being fellow creatures to adore and to behold for their sheer beauty!
The starling is my darling, although I don’t much approve of its Habits. Proletarian bird, Nesting in holes and corners, making a mess, And sometimes dropping its eggs Just any old where – on the front lawn, for instance.
It thinks it can sing too. In springtime They are on every rooftop, or high bough, Or telegraph pole, blithering away Discords, with cliches picked up From the other melodists…
From The Starling by John Heath-Stubbs
Despite the snap of cold weather, the starlings were out in full force today perched on the branches of crabapple trees – mostly hidden by the burgeoning pink blossoms. It seemed as if they were rehearsing a mixture of musical numbers and squeaky songs for a springtime premiere. They put a smile on my face!
Horns are found on members of the Bovidae family, which includes species such as cows, sheep and goats. They differ from antlers because generally, both males and females have horns and they will continue to grow throughout the animal’s life…
Since horns stay with the animal its entire life, you can age an animal by the number of growth rings on its horns, just like you can age a tree in the same way! Edmonton & Area Land Trust
The young children in my family have ignited in me an interest in the animal kingdom. Other than dogs, I really have never taken the time to learn about animals, but now I am completely besotted by “all creatures great and small!”
How fresh the air, the birds how busy now! In every walk if I peep I find Nests newly made or finished all and lined With hair and thistledown, and in the bough Of little hawthorn, huddled up in green, The leaves still thickening as the springs gets age, The pink’s, quite round and snug and closely laid, And linnet’s of materials loose and rough; And still hedge-sparrow, moping in the shade Near the hedge-bottom, weaves of homely stuff, Dead grass and mosses green, an hermitage, For secrecy and shelter rightly made; And beautiful it is to walk beside The lands and hedges where their homes abide.
When doing my yard work today, I discovered two enchanting nests in the garden and hedge. I love that the very inner layers are filled with small down feathers and soft grasses, and, surprisingly, small pieces of cording that I recognize as coming from my clothesline!
It’s not about the size of the boat, it’s about the motion of the ocean.
For years I have been convinced that a larger art studio would lead to a significant increase in my art work productivity. I wanted a room for a big easel or two, to be able to work on several mediums and projects at once, and have storage for all my art supplies. I couldn’t help comparing my space to all the amazing studios featured on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and in art magazines.
But then I saw wonderful greeting cards by the talented and prolific Canadian artist, Janet Hill, who works in a space “between her washer and her dryer.” Her works, be it art prints, stationery, cards, paper decorations, books, oil paintings, etc., are absolutely delightful and highly sought-after.
I have since come across many other artists who work in small spaces and are also very productive. It seems that a passion for, and commitment to, the creative effort trumps the size of the studio. I know I can always go outdoors or work at my dining room table, but I am truly grateful for having a dedicated space where I feel creative.
By the first dawn of the new year, all the stars shine in the squeegeed sky over the range and the morning is pale blue and golden, and pronghorn run in wet wilted grass. – Anna Badkhen
The pronghorn is the fastest land animal in North America – second fastest in the world next to the African cheetah. The pronghorn’s speed, grace, and agility are my inspiration for moving through the challenges of this coming year.
There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life. Lin Yutang
Taking a few minutes to have a cup of tea in my favorite teacup. I need to reevaluate my list of resolutions for 2023 since I breached several of them from the get-go on the first day of the new year. Oops! I think my plans were too ambitious and I need to break them down into more manageable, attainable goals – items I can check off my list with relative ease, and engender a sense of accomplishment. So, here goes…
I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to be anywhere. – Keith Richards
In the last few days I have been thinking about the many things in 2022 for which I am grateful. The year started off quietly but the latter half was filled with a certain sweetness and gentleness of family connection, some exciting adventures, followed by succumbing to Covid infections.
From the first of the year I made an effort to connect with my loved ones on a daily basis. The compilation of photos on my phone always brought tears to my eyes! New ones popped up every day and my family loved to receive them. I made sure to download the photos they shared with me, and added them to my photo library.
One of my 2022 resolutions was to make time for a daily art practice – even just 20 minutes some days. I discovered new techniques and painting supplies, particularly watercolor. I framed a number of my landscape and animal works for my living room gallery-wall and changed out the pieces frequently. I was able to carve out some space in my back studio-shed to begin oil painting this last year. It was very satisfying to embrace the medium of my favorite Masters.
I was very grateful to have made two trips (Reykjavik and Amsterdam) with my youngest daughter. Both places were our ancestral homes and we connected with the people and the landscape in a special way. I loved the coarse texture of the Icelandic wool and brought some skeins and fleece home with me for my knitting and rug hooking projects.
Despite getting vaccinated, several family members and I got Covid this year, but I am glad we got through the course of it, including rebounds, without any longterm effects (so far, so good!).
I remembered the introduction to a soap opera my mother watched years ago called “Days of our Lives.” I revisited the show’s promo, “like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives,” and noticed the sand seemed to be flowing through the glass bulb at an alarming rate! It reinforced how precious time is and looking back this year, I am thankful and fortunate to have spent so much time with people who were loving, kind, curious, and supportive.
We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, And a Happy New Year! Good tidings we bring to you and your kin; Good tidings for Christmas And a Happy New Year!
My best Christmas wishes to you and your loved ones!