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Archive for May, 2008

trying too hard

“Mom, I know it’s not my fault but I’m sorry you cut yourself,” my five-year old daughter said.simple

 

“Thanks,” I said wrapping the third band-aid on my wire-punctured finger. The wire is gold. The blood is red. Perhaps I’ll start packing Neosporin and a first-aid kit in with my beading supplies super kit.

 

Trying too hard. Using force. These are the things I do. This is what I have been doing making necklaces lately. I use my finger to press wire. I have tools but I want to wrap, fold and bend by hand.

 

The bleeding does cause a momentary stopping as blood-stained beads are not particularly attractive and I’m guessing not a great selling point either.

 

I hate wasting wire. In an effort not to waste it I make the wire go through the Olympics of twisting and curling. I can’t commit to a playful or “hug” the sea glass look. I’m stuck. I’m trying too hard – thinking too much. The knot in my back is a hint. The pain in my head a clue and the angst in my aura from over-exertion a sign that I have stopped having fun.

 

I have willfulness. I have drive. But a car without breaks is a car out of control and heading for a collision. Breaking is not optional but mandatory. I’m learning breaks aren’t just what the weary and wimpy do. I’m trying hard not to try so hard. I’m riding the brakes.

 

How often do I ask myself to “hurry up,” but “take it easy.” How often do I say to my daughter, “Come on!” and “Be careful!” in the same sentence? How often do I ask my spouse, without words, “Do you love me?” and then give an “I don’t need your empathy, sympathy or help” look? I say, “Can’t you see me?” and when seen, “What the *$!@ are you staring at?”

 

 

Cheri Huber the Buddhist, and lots of other people say, “How you do one thing is how you do everything,” so I pay attention, even to how I collect sea glass, how I play with it and how I make jewelry.

 

I rush in to fix things not broken. With an excess of anxiety I turn into a strand of wire uncoiling and loosening, possibly useless and who can imagine a fate worse than useless? I want to be compact, functional and without obvious excess. So look at this piece on the left and how I couldn’t stop wrapping wire and then wouldn’t cut the excess off? I took the pliers and squeezed and pushed, shoved and hid rough edges until by the time I’m done the piece looks like something delicate but maimed, something once gorgeous before it fell in the garbage disposal.

 

See the contrast in this other piece (on the right) where I was not trying so hard, where I let the sea glass be seen and worried less about the necklace. I was having fun. Brown, the color many disdain because it is old beer bottles but for me has a scrappy tough feel, can be made stunning with copper wire. I love the browns and the whites, the pieces considered common, for when they are worn they show they’ve survived the sea. It does not matter to me that they are less rare than a red or brilliant than a blue. I love those colors too but not more or less but in different ways.

 

So, the discovering is fun. Trying too hard, in any area of life, rarely works. I’m getting it, piece by peace.

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O.k., so here’s the deal. This blog will be a sea glass mostly blog from now on. Much of my creative writing is on the www.writingfromtheheart.wordpress.com site and I’m pleased to have it there. As for the adoption-related, trauma-related and just my own growth stuff, I may start another blog entirely. If that one interests you, let me know by leaving a message with your email on this blog and I’ll be happy to let you know if that gets going.

For now, as it is spring turning summer, and the hunt for gems is on and I’m making jewelry there’s plenty sea glass (and ceramic pottery) writing here. And, though I have a digital camera and am no photographer will share some photos as well. Finally, a friend and I did a “What I Learned from this Piece of Sea Glass” free-write or a “What I learned making this necklace” free-write and so we’ll have a “blog-a-logue” on that topic. 

For now, I’m going to see if I can figure out how to load up a few images either on the blog or within a post. If I can, this text will have some photography with it. Sea Glass Girl.

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Spectacle Island

 

 

You know you’re a sea glass addict when you are out on a rainy day, crawling on rocks and sand on all fours, so you can see all of the glass beneath below your fogged-up glasses face.

 

 

“Only the crazy’s are out,” one of the people at the café said.  

 

 

“It’s opening day for us,” I said, giddy with the discovery my friend shared with me. She, had been last season but it was my first time. The rain and cold kept most others away. “They don’t really love sea glass,” I reasoned. “Or we’re crazy,” one of the woman said.

 

 

It could we worse we all reasoned. We could be drunks. Or chasing tornadoes. Not that digging through glass on islands which used to be dumps and have signs warning about asbestos is exactly without hazard.

 

 

Upon seeing more sea glass on one beach than I’ve seen in one year of regular collecting I did what any mature and responsible adult did – I was that over-sized ten-year old under a piñata knocking over the toddlers and making them cry so I can get all the candy, prizes and even stick my hand into that cardboard cactus to be sure there isn’t a piece I might havemissed. I wasn’t paying attention to anyone left crying by my drive and uninhibited desire. I might have actually made oinking sounds as I rolled around in the mud.

 

 

I’m talking red and aqua blue and marbles. I’m talking thick, heavy and substantial shards.

 

 

Poetry Shard

Two tiny white

whole bottles

still whole.

Purple patterns on pink pieces,

seaweed slipping past fingers

lifting glass still moist with the ocean’s spit.

I carried home a still wet load

Of the ocean’s laundry.

 

 

Guilt mixed with pleasure. A bounty. Gems. Greedy and grabby. Green pieces tumbled so long they return almost to stone. I imagine wearing this stunning color, art, a dot, a blot of color marking my neck and celebrating the sea, scarred with the ocean by nature’s tattoo turned ornamental.

 

 

And yet, my focus was at the feet. I didn’t breathe in the ocean air, look up and scan the landscape. The pleasure was all in the gathering. But there were almost too many pieces to grab. Instead of the treasure, the long-awaited “find” after seeking there was too much. Discretion was needed and I couldn’t leave anything alone.

 

 

Tactile. Touchstones. Simple. Strong. I’m full. I’m buoyed. Devoured. Later I will sort and sift the pieces, lift and stare and linger. Too easy to skip the devotion and the seeing when in a hurried rush to gather only. Even with a passion, with sea glass, the appetite of the eyes can be bigger than the belly’s need.

 

 

I love the return of grazing and nibbling all day and walking the local coast where the hot rocks are beneath my hand and every now and then a gem. It’s almost too hard to go to a place so filled with bounty. I’m sure I’ll get used to it as I’ll return.

 

I confess that I hesitated to post about this place. What if it is ravaged by others? But I am one who seeks and is also a scavenger. This island, this passion, this obsession is not mine to give away or to take.  

 

 Spectacle Island is one of several Boston Harbor Islands. For more information, go to:

http://www.bostonislands.org/isle_spectacle.asp

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