Monday, May 24, 2021

the joy of ordinary days.

"A quiet moment in the University Woods conservancy at the Settling Pond on a May morning near the Lady Slipper"

Madison, WI

"A quiet afternoon beside Tippecanoe Lake in Lac du Flambeau"

The United Church of Christ devotional comes to my inbox each morning.  About 3 paragraphs of "thoughts on a scripture passage" and in true UCC fashion always a little bit of a push to think on the message a little outside the box.  

The message today had to do with "ordinary time" within the church setting, but more than that... in our lives period.  The the difficulty of keeping "the wonder" in our lives present and glowing when the tasks of ordinary time flow back in.  Even post pandemic when we should be more than sensitive than ever to the absolute amazing wonder of doing ordinary things.... again we forget.  

Written by Talitha Arnold this short "reminder" got me to thinking hard about my last two sketches above.   Both of them are dear to me in different ways.  One done in my new "home setting" in Madison and then in the home in my "get away setting" at the north woods cabin 4 hours north of Madison in the forest by the lake.  But both are celebrating ordinary time.  

To be fair, my journals ARE and have always been my way of celebrating ordinary time.  The absolute wonder of it.  The absolute joy of it.  Both sketches are out of doors but sometimes I wonder about things inside too. 

So have a wonderful ordinary day.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Spring Garden

 Not too "wordy" today blog followers.  More just "the picture tells the story."  We met at Julie's cute little home on Gately Terrace this week to celebrate our grandson Ben's 23rd birthday and for Greg to get his seeds into the plot that Julie is gifting us.  I did a little helping in the garden...(I am the seed sprinkler).  

Then while other things were happening I snuck out back to do a sketch of some of the purple flowers out in her garden.  I was drawn to that color.  Then decided that it might be fun to put Julie's home there too.  Afterwards we joined together with the neighbors for an outdoor pizza picnic followed by a large pan of my Blueberry Buckle...Ben's favorite cake.  (I think you can find the recipe on Google if you type in Ginny Stiles Blueberry Buckle.). I'm famous.  Hahaha.  

We are off to the cabin for the seasonal opening next week...about 5 days.  I'll take some sketchbooks with me. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Be Like the Bird

Woke up at the unGodly hour of 4:30 a.m. this morning and made myself a cup of “sleepy time” tea.  Which really does work by the way.  I finished reading a classic book (written in 1991...which is NOT in the olden days) called A Life in Hand by a wonderful journaler/sketcher named Hannah Hinchman.  I am always inspired when I read through this which I have several times.  Her powers of observation are joyful. 

Anyway.  Then I saw on my art table the teensy little feather that my friend Sharon had recently mailed me...An honest to God real envelope and stamp full of poetry, hand made book marks and then this little feather.  (I seem to be in a mood for feathers right now) as I had just sketched in my journal the enormous turkey feather that we found on a recent walk in the woods.  It is so hollow at the stem you can almost see right through it.  

So then this tiny little feather falls out of the envelope only a day or so after I find the turkey feather.  From a woman whose last name is Feathers.  Julie would call this serendipity.  The universe is sending me a message about birds, feathers, the lightness of birds, OR the freedom to fly is maybe calling to me.  I tend to want to think it's about the “freedom to fly” now (or the courage to do so.)  I feel like my move to Madison is a kind of leap of faith and in doing so had so many endings and beginnings I am slightly overwhelmed.   Victor Hugo’s words came to me right away: 

Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.

Then I remember that my dear English friend, Mary Sollars, would always stick her found feathers upright into the ground when she found one on a walk promptly saying this will improve the weather!  That memory makes me smile. 
So in the wee hours this morning the tiny feather itself (not a drawing of it) got glued into the illuminated journal and the bits of the story behind it, just enough to remind me of the serendipity, written around it with a Zentangle® aura around it.  AND a wee drawing of the book about “noticing” and “recording”.  (Sharon says it is a chickadee feather, by the way.  And Julie says there is a book I should read called When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams.)

I did fall asleep then until almost 8 am!  And now this all brought me round to the new day with a wonderful sunshine just glowing into our eastern windows. Everyone gets messages from the universe it’s just that not everyone hears them.  

Notes from Sycamore Tree House in May.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

April and May Memories Begin to Pile Up.

What a lovely day the Madison Urban Sketchers got for the first seasonal outing at the UW Arboretum on Sunday afternoon.  We had 11 people show for it. the lilacs were blooming and all the crabapple trees were a riot of color.   
    See me at the far left in the first photo and my daughter Julie kneeling front right in the second photo.  We got a historically warm day...84 degrees...which is pretty amazing for May 2 in Wisconsin!  

This is Pat Wafer's sketch of the tree that I was sitting under...see me in the shade to the left! How fun.  Thanks Pat!!!

Here is are my "smallies" so far (since April 11).  Note in the second row to the left is the trip to the arboretum and at the bottom left a remembrance of my granddaughter's college graduation that same morning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa which we watched streamed!  It is the Coe College "seal" and the big bell that each senior rings as they leave the campus for the last time. Abby graduated as a nurse and is off to TX to begin a new life!!!
    The big glass pitcher memorializes our first garage sale of the season on Friday.