Friday, May 30, 2014

my flowering world

flow.er

noun
1. the blossom of a plant
2. a plant, considered with reference to its blossom or cultivated
   for its floral beauty

verb
1. to produce flowers; blossom; come to full bloom
2. be in or reach the an optimum stage of development; develop fully
   and richly






My flowering world is under one roof. 
Tucked safely in bed, 
kissed and prayed for.

My flowering world runs around on six feet and thirty toes, 
the sound of those feet like magic making on the floor.  

Thirty fingers grab for my love and attention, 
flowering as they grow.

My flowering world has given me a home.


With gratitude,

Joanna

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


It All Comes Together
 
To.geth.er
1. into or in union, proximity, contact or collision, as two or more things
2. taken or considered collectively or conjointly
3. into or in a condition of unity
 

 


At least since college I have struggled with the divergence of things.  Every thought, action, choice seemed to be juxtaposed against something else.  I believed that for life to make sense, for it to mean the most, it had to be strictly defined.  The meaning in one’s purpose was encapsulated in the clarity of their direction and the potential for overall good that it carried.  The problem was my interests did not seem to fit into a tidy box. I was a deeply passionate artist in my early 20s, but I struggled deeply with the meaning of it, the definition of it, the purpose of it, the purpose that I would have if I gave my life to it, and I could not reconcile these questions; so I gave it up. 

I thought that choosing something else would make things clear, provide a clear purpose with a clear meaning.  No.  I continually found myself in the same situation, drawn to artistic endeavors and a variety of interests, questioning the validity of them, and wondering why I could not settle on what I was. 

Of course as a passionate artist I wasn’t sure I would ever be a wife and mother, not sure I desired them.  Over time I did and I was blessed to find them.  And as a mother the pattern repeated, and took this form; to be done right it must be done right all the time.  If I was a mother, I was a mother and I would do it with single purpose and correctly.  Organic food.  Breast milk.  Wear my baby.  You know the rest.  I was able to maintain my idealism almost perfectly with my first daughter, although it was not without its own struggle, for idealism is not self-satisfying, but self-perpetuating.  AND THEN…quite surprisingly, I became pregnant with twins when my daughter was not quite one and a half, and the idealism was ripe.  And reality was ripe. 

The next two years were a fight with my own quest for perfection, my ideal of what this ideal mother was.  And I had to face…Bed rest.  Early delivery.  Hospital stay.  And the dreaded FORMULA. 

I was a failure. 

I was faced with my own judgments, my preconceptions about how things were supposed to be done; I had to pull myself through them kicking and screaming with eyes wide open and look at my healthy boys who made it well into the final trimester, had good birth weights a minimal hospital stay and were never sick.  I had to look at my happy daughter so alive, even though she was not eating vegetables for breakfast anymore, no longer wearing organic diapers.  I had to look at all that was good and healthy, the breast milk I could produce, the times I could wear them and ACCEPT that it was all good enough.  And what did that actually mean…I was good enough, not perfect, but good enough. 

I was in the trenches of what I had tried to avoid for years; life meaning different things, being a person who was comprised of different parts, whose idealism was not always actualized in what I could produce in my everyday life.  And I had to accept that there was meaning here too, in this non-perfect place.  The places I could not reconcile, the parts of myself I could not reconcile.  And I began to find meaning in the parts of me where I had believed it did not exist.  I started to think that if I believed there was meaning in art, there had to be meaning in me as an artist.  That as a mother I believed one of the most powerful things for a child to learn is the value of their passions; and so I had to engage in mine.  That passion and meaning do not fit into tiny well-articulated boxes, but exist in the wilds of our imagination and the courage we have to pursue them.

So here I find myself fifteen years after my college idealism was at its peak; rehabbing furniture in my garage, writing about meaning, while my children are inside with a babysitter.  They don’t really fit together and yet they come together in the passion of my heart, in the function of my day, in the privilege of my life, in the meaning that I have come to believe in.

The struggle has not been vanquished, but the lesson has been learned.  And I can appreciate the divergences in my life, the places where the different parts don’t always seem to come together and believe that there is beauty and meaning in how we choose to navigate these trenches. 
 
With gratitude,
Joanna

Sunday, May 25, 2014

sunday





I open the front door and a flutter of birds rush up from the feeder.  

The sun has risen, but sits, still low, behind the house.  

In the front, long crisp shadows reach out across the yard. 

The plants, in their youth after winter, ring bright green; and I breathe in wholeness as my eyes capture this scene in just a brief moment.  

I don’t linger, but I don’t rush away.  

I am just opening the door to let the morning light in.


With gratitude,
Joanna

Friday, May 23, 2014

Home

noun
1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence
   of a person, family or household
2. the place in which one's domestic affections are centered
3. the place or region where something is native or most common





Home, always going home
across the space of time
and the distance of the land

Home is the eternity we long for
and the quite resting place of a well used pillow
the place we are from
and the place we are always hoping to create

Home is the place we are always moving toward
in the longing of our hearts
or the movement of our feet
always safe in the imagination

Home, always, always going home
Home is the safe walls
the picture of walls
the idea of walls
and no walls

Home is where I go to be with you

and where I must go alone
across the space of time and the distance of the land
eternally going Home
 
 
 
With gratitude,
Joanna

Thursday, May 15, 2014

dirt


Dirt: 1. loose earth or soil

      2. a substance (such as mud or dust) that makes things unclean





I relish the smell of the earth in the early spring, when the freeze looses its grip, when the ground is finally soggy again; absorbing the moisture that has rested on its surface, frozen for so many months. 





The fresh smell of the earth emerging after such a long absence is something new to me.  I was raised in a place that was often moist from rainfall and not often frozen, with smells of the lands and its growth always in the air -- a landscape always awake.  But that is not the case here.  After five years in a rural community in the upper Midwest I have come to think of the landscape as in hibernation for the winter months.  The land becomes a monochromatic tan, often covered with snow and illuminated by a grey-white sky; the trees barren, the shrubs barren, undergrowth and overgrowth, barren. 




It did not occur to me until after the final thaw that here the earth has no smell in winter.  It did not occur to me until I smelled something again.  Until I smelled dirt.  The dirt, oh the dirt; for the soil to be usable again, for it to be lush and alive with potential, cradling growth. 




I love dirt, even when it is out of place; when it is tracked across my floor and under my finger nails.  Both are an indication of activity, both represent life beyond the walls.  Dirt is one of those unattractive things that is beautiful in its function.  Its beauty is its potential, in what emerges from it.  The whole of the natural world relies on its foundation and nutrients.  Our souls rely on the beauty that grows from it for nourishment; our bones rely on what grows from it for nourishment.  Our world springs forth from dirt and regenerates into it.




And yet it also makes things dirty.  To love it you have to love its mess and forgive its mess.  There is no beauty without mess, the raw mess of dirty hands and what they will create, where they have been and what they have tried to do.  There is no beauty without dirty feet, the piles and remnants they have walked through to reach a cleaner place.  This is the potential of the mess, the beauty of the dirt; that which will grow from it.



With gratitude,
Joanna

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Beginning

art

noun
 
The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
 
dis.cov.er.y

noun

The action or process of discovering or being discovered
      

                        
I relish daily discovery.  Not the big things, but the 'my eyes are open' things, the I 'see' where I am things.  The noticing of things that captivate me. 


The things that I love are not always beautiful.  Often they are old, and it is the record of that life showing raw and exposed that I find captivating. 

Discovery has always been the fodder for my artwork.  But I have recently found that discovery is a kind of artwork itself.  It is a process oriented activity.  It is often a spontaneous activity.  It can not be predetermined.  It is of the manmade world and the natural world.


The thing about discovery is that it must be recorded or it is lost.  When I can, I collect items of discovery, I love to rummage, I love the find of something that was once more viable that it is now, and I love the possibility of giving it new life. 

 
And then there are the discoveries of experience, the places we find ourselves in, the spaces and structures that we travel through and past.  They are collected in the recording of them, in images and words, in the inspirational material they provide for future creations.  And they are recorded in the mind, helping us discover ourselves through the experience of our surroundings. 
 


It is under the umbrella of discovery that I see the convergence of divergent interests that I have long pondered over bringing together; art, history, the written word. 
This space is to be a studio for discovery. For recording the encounters and the things that are born from them.  For recording the journey, the planned and unplanned.  For recognizing the tidbits and bringing them together.


If you choose to peek into this process here is a little bit of what you may discover...

a maker...an artist; craftswoman; scavenger, I love the hunt and the find; a writer, a designer of words; a mess maker and a re-maker

a historian, I love history and my work in art and craft is informed by it

a genealogist, I believe our lives are informed by who and who we came from whether we knew them or not 

a curator, I design exhibits for a small rural transportation museum and through this process I love how art and history come together

a closet academic, whereby I am the United State's only expert on the history of Interstate Safety Rest areas, and I maintain a website on the subject

a lover of nature, I am a Midwest transplant who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I miss the wilds of the mountains, the profound beauty of the Oregon coast and air so crisp you feel it as an embrace; but I am learning to find beauty in the fields and plains of this new land, the dramatic changes of season that pattern your life; in a landscape that envelopes you

a mother and a wife, I am proud and humbled to be both, they were not my duty, but my choice.  They bring love and frustration, tears of joy and pain. 

Someone who can be serious and quirky, so watch out for both!

With gratitude,
Joanna