imperfection, the soul’s journey and Crone Vessels

In some ways, I see the entirety of my life thus far as one of spiritual engagement with imperfection.  As a child confronted with fearful circumstances, I took refuge in trying hard to be as perfect as possible.  As a young adult, I continued in that mode and extended it to being the very best mother i could be.  I knew I couldn’t do that perfectly, but I expected myself to be as good a mother as was humanly possible.  In particular, I took my childhood sense of an unsafe world, and looked to heighten my awareness of dangers that could befall these children that I loved so very much, and redoubled my efforts to protect them.  However, I learned, through a brutal accident, that I am impossibly imperfect, that I had no choice but to be so very human, so very imperfect, in a world that could meet out danger in horrific ways.  My young son learned that lesson with me, and I always felt, suffered the great burden of my humanity.  He was scalded in  a kitchen accident, a week after his third birthday.  I had been careful.  I had been vigilant.  Still, the unthinkable happened.  He lost over half his skin and was burned over 75 per cent of his body.  Our lives were never the same.

It is now 22 years later.  I have no interest in perfection or flawless beauty.  I study the astounding beauty in the human, the imperfect, the flawed.  I create with clay because I find it to be the most intimate of art forms.  My fingers, the red georgia clay, and together we find something of grace.  My current work is in creating vessels, using the basic pinch pot and other hand forming techniques.  The work is intuitive, ungainly, imperfect, and, to my eyes, graceful.  I call my latest work “Crone Vessels.”  They, along with my Goddess sculptures ( called The Ancients), represent my reflections on what it means to be a woman in these later years, after childrearing, after menopause, after the “beauty” of youth.  I hope in the lumps and bumps and dents and wobbles that you find some of that Grace that I feel I’ve held in my hands.

Joy in Georgia

Clay in my hands makes me happy.  Specifically, red georgia clay, dug straight up from the earth, right here in my state.  This clay has body, has substance, has something to teach me.  keeping my hands in this clay, forming, shaping, co-creating, keeps me close to the earth.  Those of you who know me will remember that I love the ocean, love the Maine coast, love swimming, hiking, kayaking.  When I lived in Maine, when I was younger and healthy, the land was my true companion and my joy.  Now I lead a quieter life, a city life, a southern life, a life with health challenges.  Balancing my fond memories of other years, other joys in other places, is my discovery of art, of making things and of the great joy of Georgia clay in my hands.

Memorial Day Week end: First thing, Thank you to our vets

This week end I am especially thankful to our vets.  Our daughter, Emily, is dating a wonderful man, Joe, who will be going on his 8th tour of duty this fall.  He was in college during the time when 9/11 occurred.  Like so many brave young people, he enlisted within a couple of years of graduation.  He now serves as an Army Ranger.  We think the world of him.  I can’t imagine how his parents have endured these many deployments.  I pray that all of the troops come home soon and that we, as a country, stand by our vets and make sure they get all of the services they need.  

Yesterday I listened to Vice President Biden’s courageous words to our Gold Star Families.  He spoke from the heart to these families, first  recounting his despair after his wife and brother were killed in an automobile accident.  Vice President Biden was a young man, newly elected to the senate.  He had young children.  As you can imagine, he was devastated.  He told the families that he knew what it was like to want to commit suicide.  He acknowledged that some in the audience may struggle daily with such feelings.  He talked about the black hole of pain.  And he promised that if they were able to endure, that one day, when these families thought of their loved one, they would smile at a memory before the tears came.  And that would be a beginning.  Vice President Biden may well have saved some lives with this “straight talk.”  I am so proud of him.  The last thing these families need is platitudes.  They are in the trenches of grief and loss.  Vice President Biden essentially lit a lamp, held it high, and perhaps offered a path through the darkness for these families.  I will be praying hard for our vets and for the families of our vets this week end.  

Lighter matters:

Today I went to the Kennebunk plant and pie sale at the local hardware store.  I came home with some lemon basil and some chives.  I learned that the chive flowers (supposedly) can be used as an edible garnish to add taste and color.  I will be adding both the chive and the lemon basil to this week’s rice salad.  So, the base will be brown rice and lemon juice.  Add-ins are fresh herbs, red sweet peppers, aduki beans, scallions, corn, sweet peas, zest of lemon and orange.  I will put the rice dish on a bed of Arugula or I will sprinkle watercress on top.  Both of these greens are loaded with vitamins A and C.  Watercress has as much vitamin C as an apple.  In fact, it  has so many nutrients that it is known as nature’s multi-vitamin.  Check these greens out if you like the bitter greens of the early growing season.

Late night snack.  Oh, I have missed having milk and cereal before bed.  At last I have found low salt replacements.  Try Mom’s Best Sweetened Wheat-fuls.  An entire cup has only 10 mg sodium.  Wow!  And they taste great.  Really.  For a milk-like substitute, I am using Westsoy’s organic unsweetened soy milk that has only 30 mg sodium per cup.  It  isn’t quite as tasty as milk or other milk subs, but the salt content is far less.  Oh, both of these products pack a great protein punch.  5 and 9 grams, respectively.  I actually fell asleep before the sun rose this morning and I think this snack helped.  In addition, I tried some melatonin.  That seemed to help as well.  i’m hoping I can get my sleep cycle back in order.  I had forgotten how beautiful the morning is!!!  Ah, but I have already gone through a lot of my water supply for the day.  It is amazing how fast that 2 liters can go.

That’s all for now.  Gus is asleep on the couch.  Marc and his Dad are out having coffee.  Phyllis is relaxing and enjoying the day.  I hope you all have a great week end.