Words and Wisdom

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Certain words or phrases collect and layer. Inspirational bits of wisdom for those less than confident moments when I forget to fly and instead, trip and  fall. Which is literally what happened. Rushing up the stairs, I caught my foot on the edge of a safety gate and flew. For a brief second in time. Walls shook. The crash was not gentle.

To distract my brain from an aching body, advil and creative pursuits were necessary. That’s how it works for me- find comfort in a project.

For this project I used only what I had “at hand.” The wooden board is from Michael’s.

http://www.michaels.com/artminds-beveled-wood-parenthesis-plaque/10265841.html#q=wooden+plaques&pmpt=qualifying&sz=24&start=31

I painted the board with trusted Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint.

“Print” a quote and slip it (right side up) over a sheet of graphite paper. Pencil the letters of the quote through the graphite. Once transferred to the painted board, you’re ready to outline the quote’s letters with paint. Use a fine tipped brush and a graphite or black shade of craft paint. When dry, lightly sand.

And yes, I fall. This sign is a gentle reminder to get back up and try again.

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Annie

Dear Readers and Followers (Do I have any?)~ It’s been awhile since I have posted any “serious” writing. Yet, I  rewrite and rewrite… In between frustrating moments, times when I can’t find the right words, I step away from the story and focus on my mindless, joyful pursuits – painting and distressing furniture or spending precious time in the company of those I hold dear.

Here is the beginning to a chapter I have just completed. Thank you to my scribblers; you know who you are.

x

Annie

Roy steered his car onto the driveway. He’d hardly shut off the engine when he noticed a hand waving and fluttering beside the rosebush. A smiling face peeked out from behind a cluster of blooms. He recognized the lady as their next- door neighbor. What the hell was her name? He opened the car door and stepped into the summer’s sunlight.

“Just smelling the roses. Mind if I snip a few?”

Roy found her demeanor slightly bold. “Go ahead,” he said. She pulled a pair of scissors from her apron pocket and began to cut the choicest blooms.

“How’s Jacquie?” she asked in between snips.

“Fine. Thanks.” Roy slammed the car door and turned the key in the lock. “She had a girl.” Perhaps he appeared abrupt. He looked directly at the neighbour and smiled. The least he could do was appear gracious. This woman knew their family business.

“Oh I knew it. I called it.” She joined her hands together as if in prayer. From behind blooms benevolent eyes met his gaze. “I’m just so excited, so happy for you all.”

Roy felt himself pulled under by this woman’s tidal wave of joy. What the hell is her name?

“Such a surprise,” she said as she fingered her strand of pearls. The other hand held the freshly cut bouquet. “Your father in law was out back hammering on a fence post when Jacquie hollered at him, ‘Go get Dorothy.’ That’s what he said, like it was an everyday mention.”

Roy thought, Dorothy. That’s her name.

“I heard this knocking on the front door and thought to myself, who’s come to visit?”

She lowered her voice, looked in both directions, and checked to see who was within earshot. Seeing no one else, she spoke. “There was Jock, hammer in hand, standing on my doorstep. Hair uncombed, worn overalls, dentures out.”

Dorothy lowered her voice and continued, “He’d be such a handsome man if he…”

She paused and raised both hands above her head as if under arrest.

“Not my business,” she said and continued, “He casually mentioned Jacqueline had sent for me.” She laughed at this offhand remark.

“I was half-joking when I said, ‘She’s not having the baby is she’?”

Dorothy sniffed a rose. “The look on his face told me more than enough.”

Roy nodded. He had already heard a version of this story. When Jacquie woke from her drug induced birth, she had filled him in along with a “Where the hell were you?”

“Well thanks for helping out this morning,” he said.

Dorothy wasn’t quite finished.

“I flew across the lawn and up the front stairs of your place.” She raised a hand to her forehead, feigned exhaustion. “You know that I’m a retired nurse?”

Before Roy could answer she spoke.

“ I saw Jacqueline leaning into the wall, her fists pressed against the gyprock. I knew this wasn’t routine.” She shook her head.

“ I told Jock: ‘That baby’s coming early; she needs to get to the hospital.’ “And then I prayed.” She pulled a petal from a rose and dropped it to the lawn.

Roy watched the petal fall. He wondered if now was the time to say, “I must leave” and politely exit the conversation.

There was more.

“In the rush to find his car keys, Jock forgot his false teeth, left them on a fencepost out back.” She chuckled and shook her head. “Somehow she made it to the hospital on time. Praise the Lord.”

Roy nodded out of polite respect for this saintly woman.

Dorothy narrowed her eyes. “Honestly. That father in law of yours is a grumpy old man.”

Roy grinned. Grumpy was an understatement. Heaven knew. Jock’s surly disposition had probably preceded his future arrival at the Almighty Gates. Dorothy’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“What’s the child’s name?”

“Annie,” he replied.

“Annie. A lovely Celtic name.”

“Thank you, Dorothy. I should be heading inside, check on…” Roy lowered his voice and winked, “the grumpy old man.” He nodded toward the front door.

“Oh my.” One hand patted her up do. “I almost forgot. I baked a tuna casserole. I’ll bring it right over.”

“No rush,” Roy said. He raised the grease stained paper bag. The smell of fried fish hadn’t fazed her. Dorothy had one more good deed to carry out before sunset. Her full skirt swished and her teased hair appeared as if lifted higher. The closer she got to the cooling casserole, the higher her place in heaven.

TBC …

Simple Spaces

Sunshine, simple moments, coffee. What more could one wish for?

Sunday sharing of simple spaces.

A fresh coat of Benjamin Moore, Winter White in the entrance way. This is my new go to white. Marshmallow with a soft mouse grey undertone. Just envision a snowy day. The random leaning of a word print and the snip of an errant branch from a rambling shrub rose, grace the refreshed space.

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The simple life. Sunday, sunshine, and dahlias. Freshly picked and left at the backdoor. A  gesture of friendship.

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Simple Sundays.

 

Spin

Spin. Surrounded by a multitude of angel’s wings. Each feathered beat, a gentle two-step. Hugged by the softest touch.  A dance between beauty and mystery, ….

~ "Earth" as photographed from the Hubble Space Station
~ “Earth” as photographed from the Hubble Space Station

 

The Door-Part 2

 

About A Door

 

“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.”~ Eugene O’Neil

Salvaged from a shed, the door is a simple piece of architecture. That’s probably the reason it caught my fancy, once upon a time. Years later, I’m still bewitched by the simple lines and the Art Deco glass. Even the cracked ceramic “push” plates lend charm and whimsy to the vintage door.

Neglected, it weathered. Watermarks left discolouration on the grain that sanding couldn’t remove. I painted it. Lightly. Forgive me.

Two thin slips of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Pure White took the door from dull to bright. A light touch from the sanding block, distressed and smoothed the surface.  After a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax, the polishing cloth skated over the grain.

The broken panes of glass were removed using needle nose pliers (Safety Tip- wear gloves). One cracked pane remains. This glass is known as “leadlight” and is associated with architecture that is geometric in detail. Small sections of glass are supported in lead cames. Unfortunately, leadlight glass is expensive to replace and today, there are few people trained in the art of repair.

I stand before the door and close both eyes. My hand pushes upon the ceramic plate. The door leaning against the wall opens to show a wooded path. In the distance is a cottage. Rays of sunlight sparkle between the evergreen boughs. I remember.

Water tumbles beyond the cottage grounds. Hummingbirds whir. Closer still, I see wild roses in bloom and ivy inching up the crumbling brick chimney. And there you are. Seated beside the window, warmed by the stove, you lift a cup of tea to your lips. Our eyes meet.  Do you remember? 

I stand upon the threshold and wait for what seems an eternity. You smile and beckon me to enter. “I’ve been waiting,” you say. “Sit down and talk awhile.”

 

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.”
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

 

 

About A Door

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Years ago I discovered this door at an auction. The auction site was far from the city and “Junking” wasn’t the swishy chic business that it is today. I can not explain the allure to vintage. It is a portal to the past. Perhaps “old”appears truer, faithful, stronger. Or do certain pieces conjure an emotional response? Mirrored moments of love lost, coveted memories, and poignant sorrow from regret. That which we toss or lose, from people to things.

All of the above musings ring true. I also appreciate the dedication to craft, whether it be writing, painting, music or woodworking. The rewrites, brushstrokes, the sound bites, the turn of a leg or the dove tailed edges of a drawer, all suggest old world quality and showcase the artisan’s passion. Maybe it’s the passion piece that grabs, an ageless love that forever shines.

Yet what is it about a door? Throw open the door to reunion. Boot through the door in the heat of crime. Lock the door. Unlock it. Shut the door.

There is an old soul that lives in me. She flows through my eyes to show the house where the door once stood. “Open the door,” she whispers and my hand reaches forth to push upon the cracked ceramic plate. We stand in the kitchen, voyeurs of a life. She gestures to the heart of the room. A wooden table graces the centre. Flour is scattered on top,  a rolling-pin waits. We’ve come home.

***

I recall that day in the valley. The auction house was empty of people. Cast off pieces from lives lived dumped along hallways and atop sideboards. Did anyone care? The door leaned against a wall. Solid oak, it waited. Tall amidst a short pile of old metal watering cans, wooden handled rakes and a box of battered licence plates, it stood out-of-place. There was something bespoke about its simple yet majestic presence. Was it the art deco glass that elevated the door from humble to proud?

I paused, fell in love, tossed in a bid and left with a door.

Sadly, I left the door in an aging shed. For thirty years it lay on a wooden floor.  Forgotten, it languished in darkness, gathering dust. Spider egg sacs clung to the edges and nestled in the crooks and crannies. Moisture weathered the finish. It waited for someone to remember.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I wrestled it into the light. Gently, I cleaned and polished the glass, dusted off the egg sacs and sanded the oak.

Magic flowed and imagination sparked. We entered into a dance of sorts. My hands held the sandpaper block as fingers pressed and moved in step with the oak grain. I stepped away and judged. Far too lovely to lay dismissed in a shed.

An architectural piece, it will serve as a symbol of hope, “One door closes, another opens.” Its quiet presence states, grace others that stand on the threshold.

What is this door’s story?

I envision a rambling estate in the English countryside. Laughter rings from the cutting garden. Wee children flit as fairies do amongst the hollyhocks and sunflowers. A man walks the  long gravel path to the once well appointed home. He lifts his hat and knocks upon the door. It opens…

A feather drifted to the ground…

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Through an open window she heard notes. At first the soft pitter- patter of sound that quickly gathered to pounding momentum. Outside, a staccato rhythm clipped the walkway. From the heavens came the boom clap of thunder and then a whisper in the pause: I love you. I am by your side.

Slowly she rose to standing. Broken memories glittered about her feet.

A current hummed within the stillness. Fireflies flitted through the open window to hover above a wooden desk. The glow from a hundred glimmers of light lit upon the blank pages of a waiting notebook.

The story was hers to write in all of its beautiful form. Piece by piece, the memories altered, mended, whole. The largest piece, the foundation, evidence of a fierce strength and an enduring love, shone brightest.

***

 

Her fingers reach to lift the fallen pen from the ground. One hand shields her eyes to the sun. She gazes up to the place he waits. The clouds have thinned. The air is silent. The storm has ended.

Bare feet stand in a small pool of freshly fallen rainwater. Sunshine warms the asphalt. She takes a breath and lets the steamy heat rise up through her lovely bones. A hot breeze playfully slaps her cheek.

From the pecan tree comes birdsong so lilting, notes mirror a symphony.
Electric, she has risen. A tingling races down her backbone. She envisions the feathers that flow from her spine. Wings. Arms lift in unison.

Truth and love are resilient. She casts one last look back before soaring on.