initiation

Yogi, Nora, and I are finally back in the woods.

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The paths are a little soggy, but the crampons have been put away, pants have been sprayed with permethrin in anticipation of warmth and ticks, and it feels like clear sailing ahead. Yesterday we covered three glorious miles of deep woods walking. We emerged in a new place behind my neighbors property, a place that gave me a view of my homestead in a way I’d never seen quite this way before. After two and a half years, it still takes my breath away.

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Aside from an occasional call out to the dogs to come, our walks are otherwise a quiet communion with a spirit of something that feels solid enough to hold all the inspiring thoughts that float through my mind. I have this huge story beginning to grow in me, and I can’t stop it from coming. Amidst the circling ideas about developing characters and scenes I had a persistent thought. When did the woods introduce themselves to me for the first time? How old was I when the initiation of this sacred feeling took place? I searched and searched my memory, considered all the years of skiing on snow covered slopes cut into the woods on the side of a mountain. My love of being in the wildness of this kind of context captured my heart immediately. But no, there was something earlier, something more visceral and intimate than swooshing in and out of woods in the cold with speed that had been triggered at an early age. It took a while, but the memory finally came. My one and only time attending summer camp in the heart of the Adirondacks for two whole weeks. I was ten years old. It all came flooding back then. The feeling of communion with companions in the wildness of where we were. The thrill of jumping into the deep black lake, the excitement of hiking and portaging with bags of homemade gorp in our pockets, the overnight trip deep into the woods, sleeping on the ground in the open, flashlight on all night in my sleeping bag, terrified of the thought of a bear finding me. The whole time, the woods were there with me too.

I’ve been in transition these past few months. As I move into production of my first book that has been in the making for three years, I simultaneously move into my job as a creative who also writes. It has become a serious thing, this business of writing, every bit as much an obsession now as my quilt-making. I fought it for awhile. All the shoulds and should nots that could prevent me from following this path have presented themselves and I’ve had to work through every aspect of what it means to live a life not devoted to one occupation, but to many. There is the worry about not being enough of a specialist to command a price for my work. There is wondering about providing for retirement. Retirement? What is retirement? There is fear about being alone. But I started down this path of crafting a life as I go along, a long time ago. There’s no looking back now. The woods and the brook give me the strength to hold onto this vision and keep flowing with it at the same time.

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Today, it is a new quilt occupies the landscape of my mind. So much of my work begins with making ‘fabric’ first by assembling random pieces and scraps in a spontaneous and unpatterned way. These pieces of ‘fabric’ get transformed in some way. The agent of transformation is hovering.

Here are the pieces that I’ve made so far. What will they become?

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