I was taking pictures through the hole in the tree when Fate suddenly appeared.
I didn’t feel like following anyone else’s path. So I walked through the woods with Fate following me, not thinking about anything but where to put my feet next.
And that’s how we found the twin trees, growing side by side, their roots covered in soft, bright green moss.
I’d been walking for at least an hour, was it them I was looking for all along. I sat between the tow leaning my back against one, my boots curled against the other, the moss surprisingly dry and warm.
I closed my eyes and let the thoughts and feelings run through me. I let them come and go without indulging them but letting them have their full say. And when I was done, I got up, stepped back and Fate stepped between the trees where I had just been.
I fumbled getting my iPhone out of my coat, silently asking her to stay, which she did, as she always does, as if she knows, which she probably does.
What did I feel when I sat between the trees? I felt safe, like I could have stayed there forever, like they were waiting for me.
I collected some things from around the house and made a still-life to bring to The Mansion today. I set them up on the table in the activities room.
Madeline was sitting on the couch so I asked her if she’d like to do some drawing. She replied as she usually does “Oh I’m not so good at drawing”. But Madeline is usually willing to be a part of whatever is going on.
And by now I know it’s not true that Madeline can’t draw. She can and she likes to.
Claudia was already at the table waiting and then Georgiana and Nancy came into the room wanting to know what was going on.
I gave everyone a piece of paper and without my saying a word, each person took one of the objects I had put on the table and started tracing it’s outline on the paper. Then with a little encouragement from me, every once in a while, they each made a drawing that I would never have anticipated.
Claudia chose the pink vase with the peacock feather in it.
Georgiana helped Nancy add a little more color to her drawing.
The ceramic shoe that Georgiana traced turned into snake people and then she added a drawing of a smiling Nancy at the top.
And once Madeline finished her drawing of the griffin she traced, she added some more drawings that she made up.
I liked that no one drew what I thought they might. And that everyone really did get into drawing after a while and seemed to be doing it, not because I was there, but because they were enjoying it.
The sheep are messy eaters. They plunge their heads into the hay feeder and when they lift them up their heads are covered in hay. Issachar, one of the new twins, insists on having his front feet in the feeder as he eats. And I often see the one sheep eating the hay off another’s back.
Yesterday, for the first time, Jon and I walked in the woods with Zinnia and Fate. Today I went for a walk with Fate and Zinnia. My first walk with Zinnia without Jon.
I had a pocket full of training treats and made sure she knew it. So as soon as we got out of the car I called her to me and gave her one. After that, every time I called her she came. Zinnia followed Fate over the little plank bridge as if she’s done it a million times.
It felt like the three of us have been walking in the woods together for a long time.
She and Fate got along as if there’s never been a problem between them. I did not for a moment worry about her running off. She not only followed Fate but paid attention to me too. And she never ran too far without stopping and looking back or actually running back to me.
As we came back to the road at the end of the walk, I told Fate to “walk with me” which means she walks behind me without running ahead. Zinnia listened as if she knew the command, which she had never heard before, and stayed behind me with Fate. Then she waited with Fate on the path till I walked to the car, and made sure no other cars were coming and called them to me.
Zinnia hopped in the car, covered in mud from the walk as if she did it every day.
It reminded me of the first few times I took Fate for a walk in the woods when she was a puppy. She just knew what to do. I can see the three of us having many good walks together.
I couldn’t help looking for mine. The exhibit is also going on in Miami right now so not all the #tinypricks are at The Foundry, the gallery we saw them at today. It took a while for me to find mine with all the others, but I did see three of the ones I made.
I loved my work being a part of that floor to ceiling mosaic.
One of the things I love about #tinypricks is how, from a distance, the exhibit appears soft and colorful and visually intriguing. It’s only when you get up close and see all the embroidered Donald Trump quotes that you feel the true power of the exhibit.
And when you know that each piece was hand-stitched by different people from all over the world it has an even greater impact.
Although Tiny Pricks is the genius of Diana Weymar, she has brought so many of us together through it. And we all, those of us who participate and those who view it, benefit from it. I dropped off my 9th #tinypricks at The Foundry today.
Tiny Pricks will be at The Foundry through the weekend of the 21st when they will be having a voter registration event. They are also open on Tuesday evenings and provide materials so people can get together at the gallery and create their own Tiny Prick.
“Let me see that again’, Jon said. It was the third time he watched the video I took of the red snail we got at the pet store yesterday.
On Thursday I saw that one of my Mystery Snails had died. He was acting unusual for a few days, staying in his shell, or hanging half out of it for a day then moving around again. But then I saw not only his empty shell but one of the goldfish eating the remains of his body.
With our Snail Party coming up next weekend I decided to get another Mystery Snail for the tank. Then I went to my friend Jackie’s house (Jackie is coming to the Snail party) and saw her new fish tank with guppies, a Mystery Snail, and two red shrimp.
I told Jon about the shrimp and the next day we were at the pet store.
We got two shrimp, one red and one yellow. The yellow one blends into the plants so she’s harder to find in the tank, but the red one is very visible and seems to love having its picture taken.
The video above is the one that Jon watched over and over again, as the tiny shrimp (it’s less than an inch long) busily fed itself while at the same time helping to keep the tank clean.
He named the shrimp Hydra after the Greek Goddess. (those little white dots on the plant below are nerite snail eggs. But they only hatch in saltwater so we won’t be having tons of baby snails.)
But we also got two new Mystery Snails. One with a brown and white shell and the other with an Ivory Shell. Two bottom feeder fish, and a few new plants.
My Snail Party is this Saturday and now our tank is so full of interesting animals, I’m not as concerned that there won’t be enough activity to keep people’s attention.
Here’s a time-lapse video of the new Ivory Mystery Snail.