Recently in solstice Category

#4 winter solstice 2016

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In December I grow accustomed to feeding the dog early and taking our walk before 5pm. I trust that doing my writing practice and my bits of yoga will get me through the short daylight hours. I talk to friends who struggle with the lack of light and others who are grieving for lost friends and parents or the election. I have learned to see the sliver of the moon as a sign of hope. But there are still cloudy evenings when I don't get out the door soon enough and I walk in the dark without moon or stars. Meeting my well worn paths with a sure step I feel a larger darkness looming at the edge of my brain. And those are the nights when I lose the trail and walk smack dab into a tree. My forehead throbs, my brain aches, my mood lands in the gutter. I refocus and grope and look to the edges of my night vision for direction. I wonder does the darkness shift? My eyes adjust, I slow my breath and set my sight on the warm light of the studio and home which has become my true north.

04 winter 2016.jpgWe grow accustomed to the Dark -

When Light is put away -

As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp

To witness her Good bye -

A Moment - We Uncertain step

For newness of the night -

Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -

And meet the Road -erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses-
Those Evenings of the Brain -

When not a Moon disclose a sign -

Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -

And sometimes hit a Tree

Directly in the Forehead -

But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -

Or something in the sight

Adjusts itself to Midnight -

And Life steps almost straight.

--Emily Dickinson, "We Grow Accustomed to the Dark"

#2 winter solstice 2016

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When I have been out walking the dog in the dark and I come home hungry with no idea of what to make for dinner I start by slicing an onion and sautéing some garlic and then the rest of the dinner comes together. This series of images starts with some cotton fabric that had the residue of iron slip on wet clay from making nothingness plates for Omen-Azen in New York. These marks were the beginning of the story.

02 winter2016.jpgYou may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.
--Jane Hirshfield, from De Capo, in The Lives of the Heart

#1 winter solstice 2016

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Here is the first image in my solstice project. The usual sequence is 21 images with thoughts leading towards December 21, the shortest day of the year.

_WAF5514.jpgSpring passes and one remembers one's innocence.

Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.

Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.

Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.

-Yoko Ono

#21 summer solstice 2012

When I started this solstice project writing and posting through short winter days allowed me to see beauty in the dark and focus my busy heart on the glint, glimmer and shadow. I love the summer sensations so much I found it harder to roost my words in the moments of lingering light. The songs of my childhood heart beat loudest in June. Now that the longest day has passed I find a sinking sadness that the days of 2012 are shorter from here on out. I will have to recommit to making the effort to find the image, see the word, and hear the light in all of its variations.

_MG_1626-2.jpgTake your busy heart to the art museum and the
chamber of commerce
but take it also to the forest.
The song you heard singing in the leaf when you
were a child
is singing still.

-- Mary Oliver, from What Can I Say

#20 summer solstice 2012

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Due to the fact that 2012 is a leap year today is really the longest day of the year, but in my mind this is a 21 day project so there is still one day left.... Yesterday the heat kicked in and today it built into that incredible oppressive wave of humidity that is summer in Virginia. I was not in the swing of summer mode. I turned on the ac and we hosted a luncheon for the members of the Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club who came to see my pots and studio. They brought the food. We provided the plates and the place and I think they ate it up in every sense of the term. When it came time to water the garden in the fading light I realized I forgot to take a photo for today. So I reached back in our archive to a tulip poplar moment before June began.

tulip poplar flower.jpg

"I wanted to stay as I was
still as the world is never still,
not in midsummer but the moment before
the first flower forms, the moment
nothing is as yet past--"
-- Louise Glück, opening lines to "The Doorway", in The Wild Iris

#19 summer solstice 2012

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Last night  friends came to visit bringing gifts from an Asian farm in Delaware. They brought Chinese cucumbers, Japanese eggplants and Kabosu  a small  green citrus that is related to the yuzu. I had to write down the name so I would not forget. We discussed friends and acquaintances and a painter's name dropped from our memories like a rock through a hole in Swiss cheese. In the morning I came up with the artist's name but forgot the dancer I was trying to recall.


The name of the author is the first to go

followed obediently by the title, the plot,

the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel

which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never

even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor

decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses good-bye

and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,

and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away,
a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember

it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,

not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river

whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those

who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night

to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

-- Billy Collins

June 18 2012

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This evening on my dog walk around the pond, it was the kind of grey where every shade of leaf, memory and minnow speaks vividly. I found the first blackberries of the season at the edge of the path. I ate a few just as a test  then carefully carried a few more home to photograph. I protected the precious fruit as the dog pulled the leash to chase a groundhog. I let her off when she was on the scent of another animal. When I got home I set the berries to the side of Warren's photo shoot so I could compose my shot when he was finished. When he quit I went to set up my shot but the berries were gone.  I asked about the three black berries he said "Oh I thought they were a gift."
I guess they were.

Night covers the pond with its wing.
Under the ringed moon I can make out
your face swimming among minnows and the small
echoing stars. In the night air
the surface of the pond is metal.

Within, your eyes are open. They contain
a memory I recognize, as though
we had been children together.

The pond by Louise Gluck

#17 summer solstice 2012

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During dinner on the porch tonight with cool breezes and friends we discuss bird sounds. What do we notice and when and what do our dogs notice and how do they respond. One dog barks at the early morning cardinal. One man wakes with the predawn mockingbird, I notice them all smile rollover and drift back to sleep with their celebration as a lullaby.

Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, the world is to be celebrated.
-Terry Tempest Williams, When Woman Were Birds, p 205

#16 summer solstice 2012

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'My own hand, with pen in place, bushwhacks through my psyche, cutting through the dense understory of random thoughts."
-Terry Tempest Williams, When Woman Were Birds, p 165

#15 summer solstice 2012

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Searching for packing materials and examples of glaze and clay combinations I found layers of pots I had forgotten. The plate above was fired last week. The one below is circa 1995.

"Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep." - Carl Sandberg


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This page is an archive of recent entries in the solstice category.

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