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marching right along

March 4, 2016

how many colors can the sky hold at sunrise?

how many sound vibrations can the air possibly contain when saturated with birdsong?

how do the robins and the rabbits, the grasses and the tree buds know when it is safe to make their reappearance?

march has come in so delightfully,

gently shaking my senses awake to the coming of a new season.

every year i experience this change with a newfound sense of wonder.

it never gets old.

but before i tell you about the new things,

can i just tell you how beautiful winter was around here?

i do believe it was the prettiest winter that i can remember.

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we had snow blanketing the ground for two solid months–

deep, serious snow that stayed put thanks to deep, serious cold.

i, the one who is always cold and dislikes getting out in icy conditions,

made up my mind this year to take each day, each season as it comes

and to rejoice in it.

this winter has been a gift to me.

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i start each day with a trip out to feed the horses.

could it be any more beautiful?

And I just think that “Why is the world so beautiful?” is a

question that we all ought to be embracing.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

i have made it a daily practice to walk out to the back of the property

after feeding the horses,

a chance to greet the fresh new day, be in motion,

and take in the early morning air.

it has given me a wealth of photo opportunities that i would

otherwise have missed.

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the teasels are perennial favorites in any season,

but the way they wear snow and frost is delightfully showy

against the dormant landscape.

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there were nights so foggy that drivers pulled off the road to wait for it to lift,

so thick it was that the yard light glowed like a faraway full moon…

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and led to mornings like this dawning on a fairy tale world.

One winter day

something will shine out

from an everyday object

and the darkness will flood with light.

Something we have seen

a thousand times

suddenly becomes

the sentinel of

another world.

Marv and Nancy Hiles

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coming back to the house in the mornings i felt so refreshed,

so eager to start the pot of coffee and settle into the comforts of home.

i made great strides towards the fulfillment of a dream,

that of living a poetic life.

When I speak of poetry I am not thinking of it as a genre.  Poetry is

an awareness of the world, a particular way of relating to reality.

So poetry becomes a philosophy to guide a (wo)man throughout her life.

Andrei Tarkovsky

* * * * * * * *

there was a degree of heaviness present on some of those beautiful winter days.

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“mourning the dove”

perhaps there is beauty in that, as well.

 for three years i have heard great horned owls hooting outside

my bedroom windows.

try as i might, i was never able to catch a glimpse of the elusive birds.

that changed just before dawn on a january morning.

hearing the call so clearly, i grabbed my glasses and camera

and scanned the treetops to find my friend.

up at the topmost branch of the ancient tree outside my west window

i saw it, and just as suddenly as i was able to locate it

a second owl flew in to join in a duet.

before i could capture an image of them first one took flight,

and then the other followed it.

i was elated by the morning’s magic!

the very next morning, as i was preparing to feed the horses,

b. called me from out in the yard and told me to come out quickly.

there was an owl on the ground standing guard over another,

hooting repeatedly and refusing to leave it.

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our presence made the owl nervous and it flew up to the top of a nearby tree,

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but returned to its partner when we backed away.

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b. came in and called animal control while i stayed

with the owls.

when he returned i fed the horses and went in to get my big camera.

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it was too late.  just before the ladies from animal control arrived

this lovely owl perished.

we will never know exactly what happened to it, but the nature

of its injuries suggest that perhaps it was hit by a car.

sadly, i was able to stroke its impossibly soft chest feathers,

hold its pawlike feet with incredibly powerful talons,

and gaze into its golden eyes.

twenty-four hours from sighting to loss.

the ladies were so incredibly sensitive to this magnificent bird,

gently placing it in a crate to take it to wild bird care in the hopes

that they could in some way learn from her.

i posted the close-up of the owl on my flikr account,

and it is the most popular post i have had to date–

almost 4,000 people have seen the photo and read the story.

i say this, not out of pride, but because i always look for meaning

in things that otherwise seem senseless and of no purpose.

this owl touched a lot of lives in her passing.

i don’t know the reason, but i know there is one.

The astonishing reality of things

Is my discovery each day.

Each thing is what it is,

And it’s hard to explain to someone how happy this makes me

and how much this suffices me.

All it takes to be complete is to exist.

Fernando Pessoa

* * * * * * * *

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we formally adopted this golden treasure on christmas morning,

right after finishing brunch.

we thought it would be a special way to celebrate providing a forever home

to our special blind treasure.

this photo is to be a poster for the rescue organization.

* * * * * * * *

the horses are quite well, in case you’re wondering.

the shenanigans here never end.

horses and snow provide endless photographic opportunities,

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many of which involve napping, apparently…

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although this is sometimes combined with rehearsal for tryouts with the rockettes.

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rose wanted to make sure you understood the snow situation here,

just in case her full coat of polar fleece makes her look, you know…

heavy.

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lots of frosty morning muzzle shots this winter.

Let me keep company always with those who say ‘Look!’ and laugh in

astonishment and bow their heads.

Mary Oliver

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to be honest, so far march horse antics are looking remarkably like those of winter…

* * * * * * * *

during the wonderful winter months in my studio i took up weaving.

it’s something i’ve wanted to do for a long time, and finally i found

the wonderful little acorn loom on etsy and am happy to say it’s exactly what i’d hoped for!

i absolutely love the rhythmic repetition of hand weaving–

my hands are busy and my mind can just relax and go with the flow.

to be honest, the first time i warped the loom for a small, narrow weave

was the night before the owl incident and the great anticipation was

somewhat diminished by that event.

i decided to go ahead and weave a commemorative piece for ‘my’ owl,

and this is what i created:

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 i then launched into a series of what i am calling “woven prayer flags”–

small weaves made of 100% natural materials that are completely biodegradable

and can be hung outdoors (or indoors), perfect for decks, trees, gardens, etc.

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actually, the past few weeks have been yarn heaven around here.

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felted dryer balls, a scarflet, a big bump merino throw,

and many, many small weaves…

i finally decided that i needed to attempt a small tapestry,

so i warped up the loom and chose my color palette.

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rather than overthink this project and risk displeasure with the outcome,

i took a gentle approach and decided to do an “intuitive weave”.

using what (very) little knowledge i had about weaving,

i put in some twining to space the warp threads and just did it.

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i took an organic approach and just let colors and shapes choose themselves.

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i finished it late one night and just decided to let it sit until morning…

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and then it was time to see what i had done.

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i’m happy with it.

i haven’t decided whether or not to pull out the twining and tie off the ends

or leave it in.  i also have to finish off all the loose strands on the back so

that it will lay nice and smooth.

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i’ve already finished this small wrapper for the folios in a leather journal.

texture, color, handmade goodness–  i tend toward the ‘more is more’ approach.

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as you can imagine, the yarn collection is growing.

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a lot.

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the studio is a very happy place these days.

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and i’ve already picked out the palette for the next project.

* * * * * * * *

in closing, i’d like to say that i’ve borrowed heavily from the quotes that

shawna lemay selects for her wonderful blog, calm things.

i would encourage you to visit her blog and enjoy the beautiful journey

she takes you on each monday morning with her writing and photography.

as i have wintered i have definitely taken many of these snippets to heart

and certainly used them with my own unique spin.

the natural goodness that has filled my days is a source of great delight,

but sometimes i, too, can get lost in the technological possibilities

associated with my passion for photography.

I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically,

in whom feelings are much stronger than reason.  I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous

has power over me.  Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go.

Reality doesn’t impress me.  I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy,

and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. 

No more walls.

Anais Nin

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i most certainly enjoy playing with images–

in this case, apps on my iPhone.

i use my best girl consistently as my model

because she is a natural beauty.

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she is my snow queen in winter.

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and my blooming rose in the spring.

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she and i both often have the monterey bay on our minds.

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on a more somber note, magic, the llama next door, perished this winter.

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i believe that animals have souls, and i believe that her soul

is still present and watching over her companions.

we are all watched over.

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as winter draws to its close in the coming days,

i wish for you bright and joyous signs of spring,

a celebration of rebirth in the cycle of seasons,

and a childlike sense of wonder at the magnificence of it all.

thanks for being here.

xoxo

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. naturegrl64 permalink
    March 4, 2016 7:26 pm

    I enjoyed this walk through your winter and early spring: your frosted early mornings, afternoon napping horses, the richness of your weavings, the addition of a new doxie to the family. Sadness for the owl and llama, but sun and new expectations beckon. Lots of lovely quotes – thanks for sharing the site of many of them.

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      March 5, 2016 2:10 am

      i’m glad that you walked through it with me, Diana! i haven’t been on the big computer much at all this year, and the longer i put off doing a new blog post the harder it got to keep up with photos and storyline! hopefully i won’t wait as long next time. i haven’t been wishing winter away at all this year, yet the signs of spring showing up here and there are telling me that the change is coming, although March is a big snow month for us! what a beautiful world!

  2. Jennifer permalink
    March 5, 2016 12:40 am

    Oh how I miss your smiling face and your wisdom. I’m so glad you share it here. What a delight to read and see. Enjoy and keep musing away! Take care, Jennifer

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      March 5, 2016 2:18 am

      aww, i miss you, too! can i just say that Addie has had an awesome year this year? i knew she would!
      i’m so glad that you still read this blog and keep in touch. it means a lot to me. you need to come out and meet the herd. they are a riot! with nice weather around the corner we need to plan for it.
      and just so you know– i am ever and always a snow day advocate. i was delighted to see two this year– so far! march can be a biggie… i’ll be rooting for you!

  3. mary kelly permalink
    March 9, 2016 12:28 am

    Jan,

    This is just exquisite. You always make my day!

    Mary

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      March 10, 2016 4:41 am

      and you mine, my friend!! I’m guessing you are well into seed starting and plant propagation right about now. spring, glorious spring is right around the corner!

  4. Carolyn Jolley permalink
    March 14, 2016 7:13 pm

    This was a special journey for me today~ to read about your winter and spring. I loved the story about the loom and your creations are magnificent! I’m sorry about the lama and the owl story was equally sad but held a note of life. We all begin, exist and end. You displayed life beautifully. Well done my friend! Carolyn

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      March 17, 2016 4:26 am

      Carolyn, thank you so much for this lovely comment! I’m so glad you appreciate these things, too. Life has a richness and depth that had both highs and lows, and I do my best to take note and glean from them what I need to learn. Thank you for being here!

  5. March 28, 2016 3:23 am

    Holy great balls of yarn!
    Gotta love that intuitive organic weaving! It looks like the perfect table runner. Is it? When I saw it the first thing I thought of was the gallerys in Taos. 😉
    The winter was long. But, you’re right. It was pretty. I saw loveliness in it too, when I looked for it.
    I knew you were waking up and greeting the horses with joy every morning. That means so much, to walk out there and see eager horse smiles and breaths of fog, waiting just for you. That is the good life.
    Seeing all the horses laying around in the snow like that is a crack up! You know, it actually looks like it would feel nice. I mean, I would never do it, but….Haha.
    The picture of Brandt and the sweet blind baby is touching as heck.
    I love that you have seen this winter as magical and that you just wallowed in it and saw it for what it is. Your surroundings really are a kind of wonderland. I know that for a fact.
    And the owl story hasn’t left my mind or my heart since the day it happened. I still ask why. WHY???? It’s just so sad, I can’t take it…
    Thank you for this lovely writing. For sharing all that is you these past few months.
    x

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      March 29, 2016 4:09 am

      oh, Lynn!!! you always notice and point out the details! it’s always fun to see what interests you and what you have to say about it! it’s been a glorious winter and I’m ready for a bit more spring– we’ve had so much snow in the past couple of weeks. I’m not complaining, because it will keep our hay prices reasonable, but this past week we lost lots of tree branches. I guess I’ll just have to go to the coast to get some sunshine! I look forward to hearing about your trip! FYI, I am having trouble with my computer lately and it’s not letting me leave comments on blogs. I think it had something to do with B. having a google school district email account for subbing, and if he is logged in it won’t let me leave a non-Google reply. so frustrating! I’m not on the computer so much these days and I’m real torn about the flikr/Instagram conundrum so I’ve got some thinking to do! I cannot believe that a wild horse rolled right in front of you!!!! so, so cool! keep having fun with those beasts!

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