There is a tree in the woods where I walk that looks like a woman in a bussel skrit. Her trunk is so heavy, rounded and thick as it goes into the earth. She is a grounded tree. And whenever I pass her I always stop and say hello. Sometimes with a gentle touch, and other times by leaning against her.
I was thinking of her and the apple tree in our yard, outside my studio window, when I made this Yoni Tree for a potholder.
I stitched a few Yoni Trees today. I’ll make them into potholders next week and sell them in my Etsy Shop.
I stitched these and two more Yoni Trees on these linen napkins. I was inspired by the small Yoni flower that someone hand-stitched on the napkins before me.
There’s a spider’s web in my studio window that stretches out, just above the heads of the small stone animals on the sash, like a thick mist.
A part of me wants to wipe it away, I could do it so easily, in just seconds.
But I’m also fascinated by it. It’s an impressive web.
The spider spends most of her time somewhere in the window jam, waiting, I suppose. The web has a tunnel that leads to her hiding place and all the dead insects she’s eaten are just inside the opening.
I keep imagining the spider with a little broom sweeping the entryway to her home clean.
But all those dried up carcasses don’t seem to bother her. And they don’t seem to deter insects from landing in her web either. Although I haven’t seen her do it, I’d guess that after liquifying them with her bite, she wraps them up and brings them to her tunnel to feast on.
I would not let a spider build a web like this one inside the house.
One of the reasons I let her stay in my studio is because I’ve been able to watch her. Like Fate and Bud, she seems to know to keep to her own space. And she does do me a service, catching the annoying insects that wander into my studio.
I rarely see the spider, but a few days ago there was a big beetle-like insect stuck in the web. It wasn’t moving so I thought it was dead, but it’s iridescent body was shimmering in the sunlight and kept catching my eye.
Like a crow attracted to shiny things, I plucked the insect out of the web making it bounce. No doubt the spider felt the vibration because she came to the mouth of the tunnel, to see what was going on.
I held the insect up so the sun caught it’s jewel-like back. I kept thinking of a Flapper’s beaded dress or one of those tiny chainlink purses I sometimes see in antique shops.
As I looked at the beetle, I saw one leg move then stretch out from under its body seeming to shake off a bit of web. One by one each leg emerged and soon the golden beetle was slowly walking off the leaf I had placed it on and into the grass.
Then I felt bad for the spider.
I had stolen a hearty meal from her. She had earned it. Her web is long and strong, dense and tight like a sticky carpet.
But, if we’re going to share my studio, we have to compromise. She can have all the flies, mosquitos, and tiny insects she can catch, but If a moth, dragonfly or beetle lands in her web, and I see it, I’m going to set it free.
And, if that doesn’t work for her, she can find another studio to share.
We emailed Liz Willis, our shearer a few days ago. It’s that time of year again. She’ll come one Satruday in October. Maybe it will work out that last year’s winter wool will be ready at the Vermont Fiber Mill when I drop off this summers wool.
“I can do it slowly, without music, when I’m alone in my studio”, I told my Bellydancing teacher Julz as she showed me for the millionth time how to move my feet for the Turkish Shimmy Half Turn.
“One, two, turn, turn,” I repeat over and over to my feet in a whisper, hoping they’ll hear.
There is so much more to this dancemove, but the feet have to become automatic, then I can work on the rest of it. So I’m practicing, hoping that when I get to class and the music is playing and the dancer I’m following moves smoothly into a Turkish Shimmy Half Turn, my feet will remember.
When I get discouraged, I think of how I keep hearing how healthy it is for our brains to keep learning something new. How learning to move my body in this way, a way I never moved it before or even imagined I could, is sparking nuerons in my brain, carving new pathways, keeping my brain guessing and engaged.
I’m actaully practicing three of the many things I’ll someday be doing when I get the Turkish, I’m practing moving my feet, keeping my posture and spotting (which is turning my head and looking at where I’m going before I get there, to keep from getting dizzy.)
And throught it all, I’m givng my brain, as well as my body, a work-out.
Here’s a video of what the Turkish Shimmy with quarter and half turns looks like:
Bud loves to sleep in high places, maybe it has something to do with being small. This evening he wedged himself between the cushion and back of my favorite chair. (The pink chair that Jon bought me for my Studio Barn in Old Bedlam Farm. When it was there, my dog Frieda and our barn cat Mother used to sleep on it.)
And he reminded me of Gus, who also loved to sleep in that chair, snuggling between the pillow and sheepskin.
We sat in the Principals office at Bishop Maginn High School in Albany NY and Jon asked Melak questions about her life growing up in Iraq and Syria during the wars and her coming to the United States.
She’s one of the many refugee kids who find the school a safe and encouraging place. Jon’s raising money for her to be able to finish her junior and senior years there. (You can read more about Melak’s story here)
After we spoke to Melak we went to Sue Silverstein’s Art Room where many of the kids were eating lunch.
During the summer Blue and her friends, Asher and Issachar were constants in Sue’s Art room. They were back again today and Blue had a painting that she was commissioned to create by poet Veronica Hallissey.
Veronica bought one of Blue’s paintings to give to her granddaughter and when I told Blue about Veronica, describing her as a wise poet who has visions and brings the teaching she learns from them into the world with her writing, Blue matter of factly said, “Oh, she’s a Star Seed”
I had never heard the term before, but when I asked what it meant, Blue said it was someone who has come to earth to bring a certain knowledge.
It took Blue a while to make the painting, and I was planning on letting her know that if she couldn’t do it, it was alright. I know the feeling of someone wanting a piece of art and just not being able to do it. It’s one of the reason’s I stopped taking commissions.
But Blue did a beautiful job painting the Star Seed. She expressed not only the wisdom and beauty of what such a person brings to the world but the pain and difficulty as well. Because, as Veronica has expressed in her writing, people like her are often misunderstood and don’t easily fit in.
I think it quite wonderful how Blue and Veronica, so far apart in culture, geography and age, (Blue is 18 and Veronica is 88) can come together in this way. They will never get to know each other, and yet in some ways, they know each other very well.
“Zelda looks like she’s limping more,” Jon said to me as we were leaving to go for a walk.
This afternoon as I fed Zelda and Griselle their grain, I saw how Zelda kept lifting her head from the grain bucket as if she was having an even harder time chewing than usual. This was different and I noticed it for the first time yesterday.
Griselle never lifted her head for a moment, gobbling down as much grain as she could. For most of the summer, Zelda had done the same thing.
When the grain was gone Zelda leaned against the barn as if she was uncomfortable.
When you have animals, you get used to seeing certain behaviors. And when those behaviors change, as subtle as they may seem to someone who doesn’t know them, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
Zelda spent most of the summer laying down on the south side of the pole barn away from the other sheep who spent their days inside the pole barn. This is unusual behavior for most sheep and definitely for Zelda, who used to jump fences to be with the other sheep when we first got her.
In the past couple of days, when I went out to the barnyard, Zelda would lift her head and look at me. I didn’t hear any voices or see any pictures in my head as I sometimes do with our animals, but I got the feeling that she’d had enough. That she was ready to go.
So when Jon mentioned that he thought Zelda was limping more than usual, I told him about the feeling I had and how Zelda didn’t seem right when I fed her the grain.
We didn’t need to talk about it anymore, Jon got on the phone and called Jack Kittell, our large animal vet. We made an appointment for him to euthanize Zelda next Wednesday afternoon.
A few weeks ago I was having a hard time thinking of actually euthanizing Zelda even though I thought it was the right thing to do. It’s still sad, but now it seems worse to me not to help her die.