still adrift

if i had the words to frame this state of confusion

ungroundedness

grief

(and what are these in this chaotic current world, where climate crisis rules?)

i would use them and feel very much a spoiled brat: no need to justify these feelings.

but feel them i do.

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so i take on organization, or small tasks, when i can’t face a box and despair i’ll never be settled. or i clean the floors.

or

i take apart old cotton twill gramicci shorts. they make good paper and i’ve retired a bunch this year.

i get rid of all the not cotton bits, thread, elastic, the belt, pocket linings.

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i’ve made some paper at zone 4 (school), cotton off cuts recycled to get my rhythm back and made purple sheets! and then on to my beloved flax. some i’ve played with but i’ve made several, 50-ish large heavy sheets. this paper is workhorse strong, heavy horse beautiful. i love making and using it. but it’s not easy. it takes some haptic understanding and if i can’t be present and breathing slowly as i begin it all goes to hell. sheet after sheet are kissed off, until i remember how to behave.

i often make a few small sheets, this is a great way to play around with ideas and is an antidote to making big sheets. in them i can mess around with ideas and i know they will be nifty, whatever i do. there were a half dozen, maybe, of these little flax papers that i added a little delicious mustardy linen frayed scraps to. they dried with only some restraint, resulting in delightfully wrinkly/dimpled flaxy papers that feel like tickets for annie dillard’s prayer wheel, rattly tiny flags.

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up close you can see the plain weave pattern as it frays into the flax, embedded in the page. these are sitting on my michelle moode sketchbook.

up close you can see the plain weave pattern as it frays into the flax, embedded in the page. these are sitting on my michelle moode sketchbook.

chicory from my roadside

chicory from my roadside

this color. chicory has been in bloom for a week or two. what amazing color! currently claiming roadside attention along with daylilies, milkweed coming on and staghorn sumac, also coming on. and all those other less flamboyant flowers like butter and eggs.

baby porcupine

baby porcupine

hidey head in the roadside greens

hidey head in the roadside greens

wee porcupine was on the right side of the road. i checked in with it and off it scootled to the left, stopping to show me that defensive club of a tail and the neck ruff, all stiff and fierce. it wouldn’t let me see its face, though, and i didn’t hear one cuss word coming my way. just defense mode and practicing duck and cover of a sort. such a silly wee one, but why did i write silly? not at all, because it worked. i left it alone. her. him.

i’m thinking of the next few things coming up the road—going out to colfax to study with the amazing tim ely, home and then to maine to visit hannah and tyler and then to haystack for the last week in august. i’ll be christine mauersburger’s TA in her stitch class…it should be wonderful. and then my semester begins, teaching beginning papermaking in the sustainability program at st lawrence university.

new tabletops on all three tables

new tabletops on all three tables

it’s really difficult to not have a wet studio here, and i’m working on ways to make that happen. but no more papermaking or botanical contact printing or dyepots or pulp cooks in the kitchen. because this kitchen is shared with a real cook, who wants no involvement with alchemy other than cooking magic. can’t blame him and he feeds me.

rain

another raining day.

somehow this rain this year seems a bit too much. flooding here at home means that roads are washed out, and that the turtles seem to work overtime. i notice how each day i’m more immersed in these woods, this meadow out front, the voices of insectsfrogsbirdsmammals. a coyote calls once. minutes later the same call, closer. plus a little footnote. and that’s done for the night. seeing bobcat was very exciting, also a very large grandfather great blue heron. more orioles. this place!

covered pile of cedar siding

covered pile of cedar siding

finding the day has begun to soften, rain stopped, and birds back in the song business.

we call it the bridge, it’s a raised walkway to the side door.  above the door:

we call it the bridge, it’s a raised walkway to the side door.

above the door:

this little one is working on a family

this little one is working on a family

architectural tails

architectural tails

at my oldfarmhouse there were many many birds. here, too, and there are more songs to learn, more of the less “tame” birds around.

this one i helped across the pavement yesterday but this one

this one i helped across the pavement yesterday but this one

died before i could. i did move it over, off the road.

died before i could. i did move it over, off the road.

yesterday our little group of book and papermakers, i call it bookish, met at regan’s studio. we made bluejean and cedar paper. our cedar, eastern white or arbor vitae, is abundant in the north country.

judith and regan marvel at the small blue jean papers, while todd rinses his mould. their faces tell the story of happy hands, learning and practicing the skills of making a good sheet of paper.

judith and regan marvel at the small blue jean papers, while todd rinses his mould. their faces tell the story of happy hands, learning and practicing the skills of making a good sheet of paper.

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the two drying boards propped against the porch hold our explorations.

the two drying boards propped against the porch hold our explorations.

the sun is shining now, and i hav eother work to do. these three folks have helped me through the horrible chaos of moving by working with me, and the others who have helped, well you know who you are. i thank you all from young anouk to m. family and friends have sustained me.

the new studio table has a small space for me to work on. better than a week ago, when it was piled three stories high with liquor boxes.

the new studio table has a small space for me to work on. better than a week ago, when it was piled three stories high with liquor boxes.

i wait for some things now to return to me, as i continue to excavate (14 boxes of books to the library sale, half my clothing to the thrift store) and more to go. but i can, now, breath. and i have taken up the pencil to draw. feels good.