Cutting through the fog – small stone 23

I made a quick sketch of an essential item of equipment before rushing out to my monthly sewing class this morning.  These little scissors may be small but they can cut through to points other scissors can’t, important when working on fiddly pieces of work. 


These month we were cutting out intricate snowflake designs, creating and embroidering beautiful ice crystal shapes. But the only ice around in real life today has been black, on the roads. Together with heavy fog it caused several road closures and accidents in our area.  We packed up class early so we could drive home safely, as the freezing clouds descended again this evening. 

Brave flower – small stone 22

I had to wrap myself in a scarf and crunch across the frosty lawn to find my subject for today’s sketch. Although the mist was lifting and the sun breaking through, it was cold in the garden this morning. And yet the camellia bush was covered with flowers, some just buds, others fully open. Delicate frothy pale pink tutus might seem inappropriate for the freezing temperatures, but this flower is obviously stronger than it appears. 

Not unlike the hundreds of thousands of women (men too) who yesterday showed up in cities around the world; marching, whatever the weather, to express themselves in a chilling political climate. 

Not much to look at – small stone 21

I rarely look at my glasses, because I am usually looking though them. Taking them off, and trying to draw them (while wearing an old pair) I found myself wishing I hadn’t tried. Apart from the the arms which hold them to my head there is not much substance to draw. Just transparent glass, which creates slight distortions and throws subtle shadows. Not a sketch I feel particularly pleased with. And yet these apparently boring lenses are essential to my life these days. I can’t do a lot of the things I enjoy without them. Not designed to be looked at, but looked through, they receive the light from my surroundings and refract it to create an image I can understand with my aging eyes.

The lenses in my glasses may appear nothing, insubstantial and transparent, (and not much to look at) but their refractive magic transforms my world.

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For me poetry can have often have this refracting effect. This morning Mindful Balance – a blog I follow everyday- posted a few lines by the poet Mary Oliver.

The dream of my life

is to lie down by a slow river

and stare at the light in the trees –

To learn something by being nothing

a little while but the rich

lens of attention.

Mary Oliver, Entering the Kingdom


Not finished – small stone 20

Recently a friend who was recovering from some surgery sent me a message to tell me that she was “fine-ish”. The predictive spelling decided she meant “finished”, and that’s how it was sent. She hastened to send another message assuring me she certainly wasn’t finished!

This knitting which sits beside my chair is definitely not finished. I have been working on it from time to time for many months, probably more than a year. I frequently forget where I am on the pattern. But it grows slowly on the needles. And as I’ve been drawing it today I wondered if I actually want it to be finished. I am not sure it will still fit the purpose for which it was originally intended. But in the meantime it provides me with the satisfying feeling of soft wool between my fingers, and the rhythmic click of the needles moving as I work along another row. Perhaps it will always remain “unfinished” but it still has a function, providing me with moments of relaxation and calm (and something to draw in my journal!)  Not finished, but fine-ish…

In touch – small stone 19

Writing group this morning and we were writing about friends and friendship. Making contact, keeping in touch, connecting, all phrases we use about friendship. My smart phone is relatively new in my history of friendships but has become a vital part of keeping in touch in the 21st Century. 

However we stay in touch – smart phone, text, email, Facebook, Skype, or a good old chat over a cup of coffee – friends are precious. 

Sweet treat – small stone 18

A bright frosty morning here, and I allow myself an extra treat at breakfast. A slice of granary toast with homemade (by my husband) tangy orange marmalade. 

And then I decide to draw it for my journal, to celebrate the delight. Mistake! It proves very difficult to draw and paint. Why? Well mainly because I can’t eat it till I’ve finished painting it!  😄

Delayed gratification? 

Slipper strength – small stone 17

At this time of year I wear my slippers more than any other of my shoes. And I especially love this one, (one of a pair of course). Made of a thick wool felt which is warm and cushioning, but with strong waterproof soles just right for a quick trip to the garage or the bin.

Not the cheapest slippers I have ever bought, but they are so comfortable. And I do need comfort. Sometimes perhaps I have viewed comfort as rather self indulgent, a cozy luxury, and not a necessity. But the origin of the word provides the clue to what it is I need. Fort – from forte – is about strength, and “comfort” in archaic use meant to strengthen.

When things get chilly, or conditions are tough, we need strength and comfort. The warmth and protection provided by my slippers remind me of that. Comfort is not a luxury, and not found only in slippers!  Where else do you find comfort?