A mistake I thought as we pulled up in our U-Haul truck to our recently purchased farmhouse in rural Oregon. That was on a cold, dismal rainy day in 1993. The place was overgrown and sad looking. When we entered, the previous owners had not cleaned. The house smelled of their chain-smoking. There was no choice but to get to work.
We froze for the first two winters. Eventually, we got the place cleaned up, insulated and a new heating system installed. Only then could we start thinking about cosmetic improvements. Our son started first grade at the small school across the road.
My husband had been in a depression and said he would be happy if he could live in the country. As for me, I had lost track of how many moves I’d experienced since leaving home at 19. After university, I was like a tumbleweed in search of Nirvana, working seasonally in far-flung places of Alaska for the better part of 10 years. Now, with a young son in tow, I was ready to put down roots, even if the house and the town weren’t perfect.
My now ex-husband moved on after a few years. He was wrong. Living in the country did not make him happy. Happiness is an inside job. I realized that though and I married myself to this place determined to build a life for myself and my son.
That was 26 years ago this May 31st. The house is now cute, cozy, with a big garden & lots of roses. The generic rural area has now become “The Wine Country.” I am interwoven into the fabric of the community and have great friends. I know the names of the UPS guy, the mail lady, the receptionist at the pool, many business owners, and the birds that frequent the feeder. Another, more suitable man, shares my life as well as my old dog, Bandit. Then there are the sweet memories of the dogs and cats that have passed before him. My son grew up but lives relatively close by and thinks of this as home. In this place, my hair has grayed. In this place, I grew to be at home in my own skin.
I finally found Nirvana.
Was built on the dreams of the Kalapuia Indians
Looking for game and camas root to feed their families
Of weary pioneers ready to cease their westbound journey
It’s the growing season and my garden is being planted in stages. I marvel at the magic of seeds- how something so small can germinate to become a huge sunflower or a plant that offers juicy red tomatoes.
With the exceptions of weeds, seeds cannot manage successfully on their own in a garden. The soil must be tilled and enriched. Then once the seeds have been planted they must be nurtured with proper watering and attention lest they be eaten by some pest or choked by weeds. It’s work to bring seeds to their full potential of flower or food.
Ideas are so much like seeds. The soil of the mind must be fallow and fertile. To have a fallow mind, one must be open and ready to receive the seeds of ideas. Fertile means paying attention and being open. Ideas often come when the mind is relaxed like when you’re taking a shower, on a walk or doing something innocuous like washing the dishes. Having a head is full of earbuds and social media is not conducive to collecting seeds the muse has to offer.
When they come, catch them by writing or sketching them in a notebook less they blow away into someone else’s “garden”. Then give them the attention they need to germinate.
Like seeds, not all ideas will manifest. Some are not viable. Then others are past their shelf life. Don’t be afraid to throw them out and get new ones.
I’ve had ideas like these artichoke plants that surprised me and grew into something much more than I expected. I started these plants last year from tiny seeds and now they are 6-foot record-setting monsters!
You don’t have to plant a garden. Just get a pot with healthy soil, some seeds, water them, and enjoy the magic of germination.
Recently I met for coffee with a friend that needed help starting a blog on WordPress. After building the “infrastructure” of the site we talked about content and posting.
This got me to thinking about the intent of my blog and how I go about finding ideas for my posts. Originally I was motivated my blog was to promote my artwork but blogs tend to evolve on their own (see I Was Supposed to be Blogging about My Artwork). After 2 1/2 years of blogging my posts range anywhere from the creative process to what is going on in my personal life.
When I was a young woman embarking on my life’s journeys I wrote pages of heartfelt letters to friends miles away (see Letters to the Universe). That process gave me so much perspective on my life and the world at large. Letter writing in our busy digital age seems to have become a tradition of the past. I miss them. Unconsciously, I think my blog has become a series of letters written to the universe. I have no idea who might read my posts. The important thing is that I write them and send them off. It makes me pay attention to my life- a sort of a writing meditation. I’ve been a bit inconsistent as of late. We’ve had some health challenges in our house making blogging more difficult to fit in. Life happens. You do what you can do. Continue reading “A Conversation with the Universe”→
The town of Astoria, Oregon is located where the mighty Columbia River meets the sea. Lewis and Clark ended their famous journey near there and it has been for many decades since a center of trade and a fishing town. Today huge freighters from China and Japan navigate up the river to ports in Oregon and Washington. In recent years it has also become a haven for artists of all types, microbreweries, good eating, and great coffee.
On our recent three day prime number anniversary trip (19 years is a way more interesting number than 20), my husband and I celebrated right ON the river at the Cannery Pier Hotel, built on the site of an old salmon cannery when the fishery was in its heyday. Rather than do the usual touristy things like the museums and historical points, we were happy to sit and watch the boats go by our room,
watch the sea birds, walk or ride a cruiser bike (provided by the hotel) along the Astoria Riverwalk, a 6-mile path which was formerly an old railroad bed and explore some of the quirky shops in town.
A highlight was Vintage Hardware. I love old junk and was very happy exploring the many nooks and crannies of this shop.
I-phone out, I am always looking for interesting patterns to document….
Then don’t forget the great beer and the Buoy Brewery where you can get your favorite brew canned on the spot and watch sea lions through a plexiglass floor.
If you ever get to Oregon or live here as I do, don’t miss Astoria. It’s a gem.