Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The beauty of trees...

Thoughts again today on serendipity and my ongoing life...

Trees...you know how they have quite been almost obsessive in my thinking lately.  They and the subject of serenity and time.

It's really not difficult to see how all these topics can swim together in the same pond.  

But sometimes I wind up taking a short breath...ahhh...oh my.
An "oh my" breath.  

Reading the Overstory (I am almost done) and The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel and how they Communicate.

And then Julie gifted me with books on Serendipity and Time.  

Maria Popova wrote in her blog today about reflections on her year..."patterns emerge--strong women's voices, the healing power of nature, poetry, kindness, unselfish love, friendship, solitude and" (here's where I link in) "and lots and lots and lots of trees--how they illuminate things that help me, and perhaps you, survive.  Thrive, even."  

There they are again!  Just about everywhere.  Ah. Oh my.  

You may have already read about my stop in Georgia recently when we pulled over for a cup of coffee.  While I stood in line the oriental gentlemen (in his 70s maybe) ahead of me fingered a quarter with obvious interest perhaps checking the date.  "Is it valuable?" I asked him.  He smiled broadly.  "No, not this one."  After a brief pause he turned to me "but you know what IS valuable?  Trees.  We are cutting far too many down and not replanting enough." He paused, "I plant a lot of trees".   I stood speechless. 

Surely some tree paintings are in my future for 2020.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at my sister's church in Charlotte, NC.  What a lovely evening.  It started with a delicious home made chili supper with all the trimmings.  Yum.  Then the service that was filled with magical music including violins, harps, guitars, piano and organ.  
Stars hung from the ceiling over the altar and the candles shone brightly in the dark as we sang Silent Night.  It always make me teary eyed...another Christmas.  They are always in my heart.  
"Take Christmas home with you" said Pastor Nancy.  I promise.

I did this little sketch in about 15 minutes during the message and then added the color later.  

The harps played...

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Blessings

20 minutes sketch at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, GA on Dec 23rd.  It was raining that day (all day).  But inside the cathedral it was ethereal.  This angel caught my eye.  

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Overstory

In her Christmas card, my friend Sharon Feathers included a sprig of northern White Cedar.  The sprig was loose in the card so I decided to give it a little friendly "framing" on this card using  a little Zentangle.  (Hubby will get this card for his birthday next Thursday).  

Incidentally I checked the name of the sprig by taking a photo of it with iNaturalist, an app that another friend, Jim Killian, showed me this fall.  I have fallen in love with this app.  Thank you Jim!!!

About two summers ago I fell in love with a little book called The Hidden Life of Trees.  I know I blogged about that at the time.  And then just this fall I heard Richard Powers being interviewed on PBS about his book The Overstory.  I knew I had to read it.  Trees again.

This is a Pulitzer Prize winning book.  I am about 1/3 of the way through it...and I was reading it this afternoon when Autumn sent me this photo from her hike through a nearby park.  Nice old oak with branches covered with "Resurrection Fern".  

There is some serious serendipity going on around here!  
And I highly recommend the book!

There must be some trees waiting to be sketched out there, don't you think?  

We leave tomorrow for Savannah (in the rain unfortunately) and it appears we'll have rain the whole time we are there.  Headed then to my sister's in SC and she does NOT have rain.  Christmas Day will be around 66 there.  Not too bad.   

We will be back again next weekend.  Just a short trip.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Thoughts on the upcoming Solstice Dec 21

Thoughts on the Solstice this Sat..Dec 21..

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote....It may be an elemental feature of our condition that the more scarce something is, the more precious it becomes. Just as the shortness of life calls....for filling each year with breadths of experience, so the shortness of the day calls for the fulness of each hour, each moment. No day concentrates and consecrates its elementary particles of time more powerfully than the shortest day of the year. With our awareness pointed to its brevity by ancient rites and modern calendars alike...something rapturous happens — a kind of portal into heightened presence opens up as every minute ticks with a supra-consciousness of its passage, pulsates with an extra fulness of being, while at the same time attuning us to the cyclical seasonality of time, reminding us of the cycles of life and death." Maria Popova

One way to slow things down is to meditate...and I do believe that Zentangle is "yoga for the brain".  Remembering to breathe.

Here's another not yet finished.  The emphasis for the Christmas season among the CZTs is tangling on toned paper (gray this time) with blue white and gold.  

Sketching also slows time down.  At this season all art and music slows life into bits that take on beauty and meaning.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Creating Time

"...But if you do want to shed that unsettling feeling on a Sunday evening that the weekend has whizzed by, there is something you can do: constantly seek out new experiences. Take up new activities at weekends and visit new places, rather than heading for the same pub or cinema. All this fun means the time will fly in the moment – but because you will lay down more memories, when you get to Monday morning, the weekend will have felt long."

Continuing with my joint quest for creating more time (with my daughter Julie) I send you a quote from Claudia Hammond.  Author of Time Warped: Unlocking the Secrets of Time Perception.  Julie found this perfect article to share with me.  

She continues...
"Some routine, of course, is unavoidable. But if you can create a life which feels both novel and entertaining in the present, the weeks and years will feel long in retrospect. Even varying your route to work can make a difference. The more memories you can create for yourself in everyday life, the longer your life will feel when you look back."

Time in a Box

So I've switched from an envelope holding "time ideas and thoughts" to a little box.  With a little "time keeper" on the front.  

And below are my "littles" slowly progressing through the fall months into winter.  In January it will a year since I started them.  I slowed down after I left the cabin in October...but hope to get into the routine again.  Because I think this record is a celebration of all those memories I am collecting as well.  

I hope your holidays are going well..we are starting to hear from old friends through emails and cards now and it's such a pleasure...and a way to remember again all the great times.