I was just visited by the Post Of Christmas Past: At this time last year, I was snarkily commenting about my annual job evaluation. And two years ago at this time, it was so cold our pipes froze and burst. I am often shocked at how quickly time passes when I look back at the events and experiences of my life. Holidays, simply because of their annual recurrence, are reminders of time ticking away, of people (and pets) who are no longer with us, of things we didn’t do… and of choices we’ve made. And, because they provide opportunities to gather and celebrate with friends and families, holidays are conveniently loaded with the very people who are more than happy to remind us of those choices. Luckily for me though, I’ve never spent Christmas in the hospital emergency room for getting a Lego stuck up my nose like our little friend Josh did this year. (No Lincoln Logs for him!) Every Christmas from now on that poor kid will have to endure a hilariously humiliating ritual of Lego jokes from his family. Such is the nature of holidays… and families. For me, the holidays are kind of neutral… It’s as if the hype and the decorating and the celebrating and the really bad music and the frantic drivers are happening all around me, but I am not in it. I am more of a “Festivus for the rest of us” kind of gal.
This holiday we got two feet of snow. It came swirling down in fluttery flurries for two days, which kept me busy shoveling for the two days after that. It’s been cold, below 0º at night, so the snow is squeaky underfoot. I am out in the wild weather everyday when I hike our dogs. And I see the darnedest things! Elements of nature, whether small and detailed or grand and general, inspire my work. I never tire of the cyclic, understated, natural beauty that surrounds me. One of my favorite sights in winter is that of birds’ nests. There is something about them: A symbol of aspiration, hope and security, now completely empty and vulnerable on this exposed, bare tree branch (especially in moonlight)… It is a visually beautiful contradiction. Despite all of the stark, wintery forces that would suggest the contrary, the fact that they are still there, tenuously clinging to their barren branches, commands a feeling of hope. When I see birds’ nests in winter, I feel two contrasting emotions at the same time. As a result, I have been inspired to make feathery-inspired things. And I feel compelled to share them with you here!
Don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers in 2012! This will be a year of creativity and transformation… I can feel it! Here’s one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite feather rufflers of all time:
“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am, a reluctant enthusiast, a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this… You will outlive the bastards.”― Edward Abbey
Happy New Year!