Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sea Tree

     It's a sea fan anchored to a rock. More of a summer decoration, I suppose. But I live so far from the sea, and at this time of year I look out my kitchen window on a cold, rainy day and see dozens of shapes just like it anchored to the soil of my back garden, with copper-scaled leaves swimming through currents of wet wind like fish beneath the waves. So I bring it out in the Fall, this barren sea tree. I imagine this is what its dreams are made of:

Friday, September 8, 2017

To Read or Not to Read

     I found this in a catalogue that came in the mail:

     "Cultivating the mood of a well-read household, beautifully crafted faux books provide the rich colors and the gilt leather spines of a treasured collection of antique books. Carefully made to deceive the eye, these facades of hand-tooled leather feature spines of various sizes."

     And the price for a set of 24 of these real leather, fake antique, fake books is less than $600. What a steal. Emphasis on the word steal.

     No doubt the book covers are beautiful, but what happens when one of the friends I am attempting to deceive takes a volume from my shelf to look at and discovers it is sewn shut? The gig is up. My cover is blown. April Fool! I shout gleefully. Then I order a faux friend from the catalogue who doesn't read but will, nevertheless, admire my bookish facade.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


     I notice it has been wet in Scotland this summer. And woefully wet in parts of Texas this week. Here, it has been dry, especially in our village. It is difficult, sometimes, to strike the balance between conservation, the cost of water, and protecting my garden plants. The birch trees are stressed. The front lawn has gone dormant. I've been thinking a lot about dry. It turned into a poem.


Dry as a bone
The limbs of trees dripping yellowed leaves on the ground,
ribs of mountains veined with parched streams
and fists of knuckled stones,
the supine spine of vines panting in the sun
limp with exhaustion

Dry as dust
The pool of dust in the garden where the birds bathe,
thirst in the throat of the drainpipe
and the tongue of shade that laps the crackling grass,
a coil of barren soil curling around a finger of air
blowing smoke

Dry as death
the tinder
the match
the aftermath of ash and sooty bones

                                                            ~ Nib of Nib's End ~

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gray Bed

     After a storm destroyed much of our garden five years ago, we have spent every summer since restoring a portion of it. With my husband so often abroad, we have a short window in which to get projects done. Now that the garden is in order, we have moved inside to tweak a few rooms. The first project on the list was to paint our pine bed and nightstands. My husband wanted to try chalk paint, which turned out to be a mistake. Just breathing on it made the paint chip. Three coats of paint, three coats of finish and three days later, however, we had a lovely gray bed. The only negative was that it was supposed to be taupe. We have a long history of not being able to match the paint swatch in the store with the color in our heads.

     Still, I like my gray bed...

     The natural, yellow pine was a warm look, but the gray feels peaceful to me. I like to lay in bed and think quiet thoughts. It is a lovely way to start and end the day.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fine Day

To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.

                                                                              ~ Jane Austen ~

     We did. It was. More, please.

Monday, July 24, 2017


by artist Tony Staroska

     We spent a portion of our summer holiday in Door County, Wisconsin exploring artist's galleries. Outside the Juddville Clay Contemporary Studio Gallery where artists Tony Staroska and Rebecca Carlton display their creations, we were shown this sculpture. My photo doesn't do it justice. As I examined the sculpture from different angles, it felt like a piece I wouldn't want to keep in either my house or garden. It's sudden impact is too unsettling, too disturbing. 

     But it does provoke a response, doesn't it? The skeletal fetal form, backbone of rebar, clutching hand and iron fist. I wish I could see it at dusk with a candle placed inside its hollow body and light filling the empty spaces. There is hope in the presence of light, and I long to give this man and all of his kind a glimmer of hope.

     Art, in my amateur opinion, is often something one feels first and thinks about later; it is evocative, visceral. It isn't divorced from intellect, it just isn't dependent on it. And art begets art. I already have a short story half-formed in my mind with this figure at the crux. This is the kind of sculpture I would visit over and over again in a museum. Why isn't it in a museum? Who would have thought despair could look so distressingly beautiful?

     Interestingly, next to the man in despair, on the front lawn of the studio gallery was a rock fountain. Placed among the rocks were dozens of small heart-shaped stones. Rebecca, a warm, charming and chatty woman explained to me that when she and her husband, Tony, met they discovered that they had something more in common than their love of art: they both collected heart-shaped stones.

     There is hope in love, too. Whether it was intentional or not, the juxtaposition between the sculpture of despair and fountain of hope was deeply moving.

Friday, July 21, 2017


     I blame it on my husband. He started it all by buying me an iphone and dragging me into the 21st century. I couldn't sleep my first night of ownership, overwhelmed by all of the technology I was going to have to learn to make the purchase worthwhile. I've always quipped that I wasn't smart enough to use a smartphone. Turns out I know more than I realized, and I've left the stress behind as I learn to navigate the apps. Yeah baby. I'm feeling my oats.

     See what I mean? That's not how I talk. It's my husband's fault for buying that iphone.

     I went to get my shoulder-length hair trimmed last Saturday and came home with it all chopped off. With my new iphone in my purse, suddenly, I was feeling like a modern woman. I have never worn short hair before, not even as a child, and now I have a pixie. When I went to change my bitmoji profile there wasn't a hair-length equivalent. I'm not losing sleep as I did with the iphone, but I have mixed emotions over the change, a moment of shock each time I glance in the mirror. The daily wash and dry routine is exceptional, but I've never been adept at styling or the use of mousse, gel and hairspray. Is there an app for that? Needless to say, my new do only remotely resembles Emma Thompson's in the photo that I showed my hairdresser.

     The long and short of it is that I have decided to grow my hair out to look like my bitmoji, rather than the other way round.