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Archive for December, 2008

I wrote this free-write prose poem while at the ocean the other day. Again, it was sixty degrees and December and a glorious gift to seek, search and make meaning of some of my own personal challenges in 2008. This isn’t about any one person, but more about major relationships that change as I age. While the changes below are rough and rocky there have been incredible and wonderful changes too in my personal relationships.

 

What Gets Lost

Buried under sand and rock,

pieces too sharp

to pocket or polish

edges cutting

at my heart

 

I’ve left behind loved ones in 2008

their shapes

invisible

as angels in the snow

once distinct and defined

now washed up 

beyond recalling.

 

I tried to push the pieces deep

in granules

to hasten

smoothing

but only Mother Nature

has such power.

 

There are pieces and people

I could not carry 

I too

have been dropped

from hands.

Loved ones

rolled me

towards the sea,

a bowling ball

too big

for the opening

of a crystal vase.

 

I broke edges,

cracked corners

threatened

to crumble

glass

under the weight of me.

I misunderstood

my size, how disguised

to some

is my identity.

 

I leaped, a fish on sand,

smothering in air.

“Let me back into the water,”

I plead,

where oxygen

is not deadening.

Who can argue with the sea?

Not  I with

a palm

this outstretched

and tiny.

 

It is said sea glass

is three quarters soft

I found the rough edges

of me and everyone this year

and emerged.

 

I discoveried ridges and bumps,

letters and patterns

unknown

worth treasure.

Other times, it seemed

the ocean turned

on me.

Her floor,

once the rug of water

pulled back

revealed grimy shells,

lobster legs and scars,

and left me

wondering

if 10,000 rocks

of kindness,

heart-shaped even

coult be reclaimed 

by one stormy tide.

 

Ripped,

and sideways

on jagged rocks.

Losing footing

on the rocks

once

my familiar paths.

 

My beach

but not my beach.

My heart

but not my heart.

Can trust change hue

the way a white piece of sea glass

seems white on the sand and

but is pink

once homed?

The glass

bare on my counter

warmed by a towel

looks different

than at the ocean

where I reached

into icy water

and placed it in my hand.

Can some things

only be seen

in contrast?

 

Tears flow more often in my forties.

I  close eyes,

think of words and letters,

images and memories.

I wipe water, find sea weed

sticking to my face

and the fishy odor

distracts me from

the enormity

of a breathless landscape.

 

Sentences,

tossed like rocks,

skipping once or twice

fall, erect barriers

bigger than good-bye.

Love is not gone,

but pummeled

beyond recognition.

 

The storm is not cruel

it drags up new gems

bright purple and L-shaped.

I found the piece of a milk bottle

a sliver of a shard

once holding nutrients

and the compassion of the ocean

who holds brown pieces

which may have carried

whiskey to a drunk

with the same tender

rocking.

She does not call out

naming recklessness or purity,

saying “you are goodness and you beyond forgiveness.”

 

But I am not the ocean

or Mother Nature

but a boat

without oars,

eager for 2009

but weary,

not knowing

what will be harbored

in this new year.

 

Will I fail

to navigate?

Or worse,

be caught

greedy,

missing the bounty

of my own

shimmering

ocean floor?

 

Catch of the Day:Unrelated to above, except as in contrast, a wonderful day with my aunt and mother, shopping, talking, eating and walking. I am grateful for mendings that have happened over time as well as rifs that the heart can’t guard against. I watched the Bucket List this week. I won’t give away anything but it reminds one how brave and painful it is to live with an open heart AND how muand how much sadder it is to live with a closed one.

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Hi All,

I have two sea glass related writings in the work that I just have to move from my at the ocean journal to here. But, for now, I post this link to the success (even in this economy) of the Hingham Farmers Market which I have to admit I feel a supreme fondness for as it is the first place I started selling my sea glass jewelry.

They have a clear mission and focus on food (and it’s fresh and delicious) and I’m lucky to be a part.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/12/28/mark_cullings_is_bullish_on_the_market/

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Here are some details about the The Coop in Hingham Center which opened this month. I have sea glass jewelry for sale here and, if there are any left, sea glass ornaments too. img_00595

There are lots of photos below showing the types of products in the store (I had permission to get the photos) but I didn’t capture everything so go on in and check it out for yourself.  

LOCATION

South Street, Hingham, MA (across the street from Brewed Awakenings and diagonally across from the Hingham Community Ctr.)

 

HOURS

10-5 Tues through Friday. 10-3pm on Saturday and random hours on Sundays and Mondays in December.

FOUR FOUNDING PARNTERS: 

Bonnie Hertberg of Winter Street Design, Bedding for Hip Kids
Kathy Mischik, Lollipop Bags
Katie Norton, Let’s Play Chef
Jackie Nolan, FlipSide Kids, handmade children’s reversible clothing and bags
 

The other vendors (like me) rent space and supplement the four main partners. There will always be the same core products as well as new products by businesses and artists. 

coop-alime-green-pendantcoop-f

 

coop-p

coop-ccoop-tcoop-ecoop-i

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

coop-langel-ornamentfunky-greencornflower-blue

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Reflections through the Window

ornament

My daughter and I walked yesterday. She brought a sand pail even thoughh it was about twenty degrees. It was decorated to look like Rudolph and a gift from her dear friend given last Christmas. She was collecting pine cones and leaves and things that reminded her of the seasons. We were delivering a few Christmas cards and an ornament to a neighbor. I don’t know “M” all that well in the sense that we don’t spend time together but very well in the way I look forward to walking and talking with her once a week. 

 I like the way she thinks and is and feel at ease being myself with her. She’s a mother and a grandmother and a teacher and an activist and an artist. I wanted to leave her an ornament because I thought she’s appreciate it. It’s not traditional. It’s all brown and filled with real sea glass. The slivers of glass are tiny and from our own beach. I didn’t think she’d mind the lack of pink or blue or pastel colors. I knew she’d like knowing it came from our very own neighborhood beach – the one we sometimes walk on.

My daughter and I left the box with a note, “Fragile and local” and then walked some more. The air starting to hold snow flakes, tiny ones so small you had to squint to make sure it was really snowing. At home, we mixed water and lemon juice with powdered sugar for “sweet glue” to hold together the gingerbread house. By the time we were done decorating the snow was really falling. “It’s snowing,” she screamed and ran to each window to get a new view. “This is the best day of my life,” she said.  

Today, I was tired, feeling a little closed in by the snow even though we have been fortunate to keep our power and I have family who have been without for about a week. I was disappointed in the plans that fell through and the difficulty navigating the roads safely, wondering if the plans for tomorrow and maybe even the next day would shift. I was looking at my tiny cottage, filled with what doesn’t feel like Christmas cheer today but clutter, unable to find enough mittens to change in and out of fast enough to keep this cutting wind at bay.

The fresh air felt good and I was eager to be outside. We shoveed  our driveway and porch, and then my husband cleared our neighbors across the street, the friend neighbor with the bad asthma that is made worse by shoveling and cold air.

I asked another neighbor, the one my daughter calls Nana C f I could help her but she said she didn’t need it. Later, she called to thank me for the offer of help and wanted to know if we wanted corn chowder and a visit for dinner. “Yes,” I said. The neighbor we shoveled for left a message, “I left something on your door,” and it was a loaf of fresh baked bread and soup.” I called my other neighbor and said, “I’ll bring fresh bread.”

The picture at the top of this blog is from my neighbor. She loved the ornament, hung it in her window, took a picture and sent it back to me.  We touch each others lives in ways we don’t know. We eat each others soup, share bread, lift snow, shovel out a path so it easier to travel. We open our homes and we leave parts of ourselves at the doors of others or hanging in windows. We are enriched by the love and the ingredients and the sharing. It wasgood to get out tonight, to be out of the house without having to drive, to feel the cold air and know the warmth was foosteps away.

I noticed my neighbor’s house and driveway, the one who is gone now and I get cranky when I’m sad. But life is short. That’s the most important part of grief, remembering that life is short. I still can’t quite believe she doesn’t live in that house anymore, that I won’t see her checking her mail, getting her garbage barrels or walking to and from her car. We are in each others lives and we all live our own individual lives, having no idea what goes on behind the windows and in the homes we do not see, or behind the faces that do not show what is in the heart. But we care. We do care about each other. I miss her. She’s not been around for a while now so her absence feels more real.

I am grateful for the full circle and connectedness our family has in this little community neighborhood. I do miss my family of origin at times, and wish they were part of the daily flow of bread and card sharing, of walkie talkies and last-minute meals. But I’m grateful for this neighborhood, for the solid ground beneath the snow, the place we’ve called home for almost a decade.

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wind-chiime-kerrie

Karrie, the woman who made these two pieces, is new to sea glass. She has been bitten though and now thinks sea glass. She wonders about the colors, the rarity, the difference between real and tumbled. She’s thinking of the beaches she can go to where she can collect more. But, she’s also MAKING ART and she’s brand new.

Isn’t it amazing what can be done with enthusiasm and sea glass. In this wind chime, Karrie used sea glass, shells, a few pottery shards, a rock and the invisible super glue and fishing-line type wire. It is a time-consuming process to wrap thin wire around each and every piece of sea glass, apply glue, move on.

Karrie said that over the last week the chime has held up nicely, is hung in her house where it makes a nice and all natural sound. I have to say I am THRILLED for her. Being in a clinic, hands on, where it’s not clear what will be made is wonderful. I can be a control freak but after a one-week tutorial on pendants, Karrie knew she could play and practice on her own at home. She wanted to learn new and different skills and so, a stunning chime, her first, is the result.

But, Karrie has generously allowed me to show off her work and I’m so happy to do so.

Karrie has the love and the bug for sea glass which thrills me as well! She’s a mom, a partner, an employee and an incredible woman with talent and resilience in her personal life. But, when we get together in the clinic we just two “sea glass girls” loving the glass and the craft and making art and having a blast!

The So. Shore YMCA at Mill Pond in Hanover will be offering another 3-week sea glass clinic. Depending on what the students want to make we’ll work on jewelry, mosaics, sea glass sculptures or chimes. Or, if people want to wire wrap jewelry all three weeks, that’s o.k. too.  I’ll post the info. here as to when the class will run going forward. If you want to be on the waiting list, please call me at 617-962-0036.

 

 

 

 

chair-class-kerrie

This piece is a work in progress. The chair is actually tiny, and the space one used to hold a small photo (3 by 5) and she’s making two chairs with totally different color glass and wire and different styles.

We started on wire sculpturing as fill in to existing structures. If one wanted to use a thick wire (say 16 guage) and create a shape, such as a star or heart or cicle or mermaid that would work. You could wrap one piece and add on another, or wrap several pieces all together and insert them in specific spaces and adhere the wired glass at the end.

Catch of the Day: the enthusiasm and contagion of someone with passion, skill, talent and joy in the creation process. Thanks Karrie!!!  

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Want to Write?

If you have something to say, are a writer (or want to be) and need a prompt, let me be that prompt.

Nancy Slonim-Aronie has a website www.writingfromtheheart.wordpress.com and a belief that EVERYONE has a story to tell. She believes people thrive and grow when encouraged and will, with continued practice, hone the craft of writing.

Whether you believe a little constructive criticism helps as well is up to you. I know I felt safe with her approach when a fragile and scared new writer with heavy content to share.

 She gave me courage to speak my truth, with honesty and urgency, and told me to trust that it would product quality writing if not right away, in time.

Anyhow, her new prompt is, “The Ball Is In Your Court” and you can write, in free-write style without too much concentration and worry about plot and narrative arc. Write from your heart about what comes up and out when you think, “The Ball Is In Your Court” and then, if you want, send your piece in to: writingfromtheheart@gmail.com

It can be serious, playful or anything! It’s best if it 500 words or less. Happy Writing.

Catch of the Day: The people I have met and experiences I have had sharing the creative life with others and being guided by great teachers.

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I don’t understand why life ends so abruptly, why shocks hit like heat lightning seeming to threaten others but not us until we are zapped, or why, at the beach, I am so happy.

I walked the sea wall for a while first because the stairs near the end of my street were submerged. There was one foot of dry area between the tide and the sea wall but I was hungry to search, to listen to the pounding waves and be on sand. The waves were forceful, vigorous, seeming to need to cover all dry land rather than ebbing and flowing. I might have said they were angry on a different day but on this one they just seemed alive.

If I had read the tidal chart I would have skipped the beach. Instead, I went, fearless of getting wet, into the sand. The waves threatened to get me up to my ankles. Like a child dodging waves I ran down the sand, plucked sea glass while the water receded and raced back to rocky dry land before another returned.

I found a yellow piece and turned to the ocean to whisper, “Thank You.” My friend does a “Yippee Yay” dance but I felt shy.

A man came out of his work truck and walked to the sea wall.

“Rough waters today,” I  said.

“For small boats,” he said, holding binoculars and looking out into the distance. “I love this weather,” he said.

“Me too,” I said as though it were a secret, a confession. The wet air frizzed my hair, drizzling down slowly. It was over sixty degrees on a December day and the ocean was generous.

I collected a piece of drift wood as thick as my thigh, a few oyster shells and a blue plastic cover. The drain section looked as though it said, “peace” and opposite it said, “press here.” I wished I had an internal “press here for peace” space in my heart.

Many pieces were green with algae and I wondered how deep the depths where they had been. I found a cloudy white intactbottle top and neck with nothing attached as though it were a quadriplegic with a phantom body below the collar bone.  Another piece was slender in width but thick and bumpy. It was white and reminded me of a mermaid’s tail.

I poked a cloudy white object not sure if it was a jelly fish or a large clear bottle base.  The stick didn’t give so I picked up the large round piece, rubbed off the sand and put it in my sweatshirt pocket. I thought of my neighbor, who I saw two nights before, her hair perfect, her cheeks and lips in the soft coral tones she often wears. Only the casket and flowers looked out of place. I pretended to pray as I kneel ed but I wanted her to sit and ask me about my daughter, tell me about her grand-daughter as she had done the last time we talked only two weeks ago when she stopped her car and rolled her window down to say hello as I walked.

I know her the way one knows a neighbor, well enough.  She was the widow of a firefighter had many children, all grown, and down-sized eight years ago and moved across the street a year after we moved here. She  brought wine coolers and her own folding chair to neighborhood barbecues at sunset. She let us use her lush lawn on kid’s day in the summer of 2007 so the kids would have a safe place to fall when doing three-legged, sack and spoon egg races. She let us set up big tables under her tree to set out water and juice to keep the kids hydrated on the ninety-plus degree day.

“At least she’ll have a neighbor in heaven,” my daughter (six) said when I told her speaking of the man who died last year two doors down.

“Why didn’t he have a wake?” my girl wanted to know and I didn’t know how to explain how the sudden death of a beloved mother and grandmother is different than the slow decline of a young man consumed by addiction who dies alone, as a reckless and hopeless alcoholic.

For the past eight years she has brought over cranberry bread in a foil tin, warm and fresh from the oven on Christmas morning. We toast, butter and devour it as we open presents. About this time each year she asks, “Where’s the Christmas card?” and I always get her a picture of my daughter’s smiling face for her refrigerator but always late, only a day or two before the 25th.

This year she’ll miss the card and we’ll miss the bread. The difference between life and death, inanimate and breathing is minuscule.

What haunts me now is the light blue piece of pottery, the shard I could not reach. It was in the water and I could see it floating towards me. As the wave flipped it I over and revealed the white underbelly I lost it, could no longer track it with my eyes. The water rose up and I had to hop on a rock so I didn’t get my feet wet.

I circled many times not sure I should have fought harder or let it go sooner. With more determination could I have found it. Or, was I meant to get out of the way and let it finish traveling? Had I failed to pick it out of the cold water in time or was I foolish to spend so much time longing and looking for that one piece. Every other piece I have stumbled upon, never hunting for a particular piece and when I did, I could not find it.

When I was twenty, I hung a Zora Neale Hurston quote on a door in my bedroom that read, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer them.” In the twenty-two years since then I have never known, at the time, the year I am in.

Catch of the Day: The gift of this neighborhood and knowing the neighbors who are still here and those that are gone and the lessons and comfort I get from the sand and salt water.

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