Sunday, April 30, 2017

watching myself walk

and this is the second poem from the gallery interactive experience.  this time the starter poem was "the healing time" by pesha gertler and i chose the prompt line, "finally on my way to yes..." it is about learning from past mistakes in order to create and choose new pathways in life...

watching myself walk

finally on my way to yes
i bypass the same old streets
that are neither wrong nor right
just over-familiar and no longer needed

recode me--please!--opening a new and
fruit-lined way where, even though i see
memories mixed in dreams, i wake to find it is
i who have changed

now walking at a pace i can sustain
saying with thankfulness a goodbye
to former signs and comfortable sidewalks
along automatic but thin paths

to instead keep cadence with myself
today:  happy, well, and filled with the
kindness and peace that dares to rename streets
entirely and invite others to the walk

ls 4.30.17

poetry prompts

as part of waterstone gallery's interactive series of art and writing, my friend anne facilitated a session this morning that i was privileged to attend.  the theme was looking at beauty from loss and she read poems to start with and then gave us prompts to choose from as we wrote for 10 minutes.  for more information about anne and her workshops, please see nurture your journey.

the poem anne read for this one was "the pond" by mary oliver and the prompt i chose was a line, "i will sing..." my verses are about the beauty of lilacs and how every year they remind me of a dear friend.

the burning bush

i will sing of lilacs
their frilled throats
fringed with may
and sweet-bee promise

i will trill of friendship
that carries beyond death
for love is stronger,
always stronger

and of how they blossomed
either in her yard or mine
despite any number of moves
(this too is miracle)

with more than enough to share, bundled
as if God were speaking
through a bush on fire with
lavender flames for twenty years

that is how i would sing
even now they startle me
pricking at my eye corners
as i notice my heart has filled in

like the heart-shaped foilage of time
upon her leaving...

ls 4.30.17

Sunday, April 23, 2017

lucy and lincoln's bridge

we who presume to teach children know that so many times, we are the ones who learn from them.  this happened yet again most recently when i was visiting with friends and playing with their children (ages 4 and 6).  i was astounded at the maturity of conflict resolution that played out in front of me and humbled by their ability to work together.  i know i can only start with myself, but at the same time can't help wishing that the world at large could take a lesson from what i will call here "lucy & lincoln's bridge".

it began with a train set and all of us on the floor immersed in the play of building.  then there was a squawk, followed by crying and lincoln (the younger) telling his sister in no uncertain terms, "lucy, i have feelings of sadness".  (pause.  already, i noticed he did not blame lucy nor did he lash out, he merely owned and identified his own feelings).  as if that were not amazing enough, here's what happened next...

lucy:  why do you have feelings of sadness? (non-defensive regard for the other)
lincoln:  because you took my train piece and wouldn't listen to my idea about how to build (vulnerability)
lucy:  how can i help? (inquiry of care)
lincoln (sniffing):  you could give me back my piece and listen to my idea (sharing of needs)
lucy:  ok, here you go (relenquishing of rights)
lincoln:  thanks (demonstration of gratitude)
lucy:  what is your idea? (curiosity and outward-focus)
lincoln:  to put this part over here and then make the suspension bridge for the trains over here (collaboration)

that was that.  they proceeded to build a fairly complex structure together and i was left, dumbfounded, holding a train piece, my mouth agape and eyes wide at the scene before me.  and, knowing their parents, knew that this was no accident, but has been intentionally modeled for them by the adults in their community.  but still!  i have worked with kids and youth for over 25 years and never seen that kind of conflict resolution at such a young age. in fact, i don't know that i have seen adults do this well over less.

neither am i editing their dialogue, it really happened just like that.  yes, they're still kids and yes there was taking of pieces and crying.  but how they were able to slow the process down enough to own their own feelings, ask for what they needed, and offer to make it right was, well, like i said, nothing short of astounding (i told their parents as much, it can only be encouraging when you are in the thick of raising young kids).

i only hope i can take a lesson from them and contribute to positive bridge-building experiences in life with those i am privileged to know and care about...don richard riso writes, "if we were able to be present to ourselves, we would find the solution to our suffering.  we would see that healing happens when we give names to the sources of our pain and let them go.  when this takes place, we discover that a moment of opening up and letting go cures years of closing off and holding on." 

a collaboration of strangers

this is the finished collage of my sketches of gerard manley hopkins' poem "pied beauty".  i looked high and low for the right background until i found this stretched photo canvas at a second-hand store.

it truly looked like "landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough" so i bought it for a mere $6.

i couldn't help but wonder what the story was behind it.  the back says "logan yliniemi, dec. 14, 2015 catlins, new zealand"...who did he give it to?  how did it end up at resale?

perhaps i will never know the history behind this unlikely collaboration of a stranger's photography, my sketching, and the words of a long-departed poet.  but i offer it for your enjoyment, just the same.  fitting, as it is as pied and varied as the poem itself.

Friday, April 21, 2017

for the love of books

can't make it to trinity college to see the book of kells?  don't happen to be swinging by oxford to peruse their illuminated manuscripts?  no problem!  i was transported through the history of the western book (14th century-present day) without even leaving my home town.

a friend of mine has a passion for collecting rare and historic books and i learned so much from his workshop at george fox!  for example, i didn't know that vellum is exclusively from lamb or that books used to be chained to the library and pulpit so people couldn't take them.  to own a book during the early formation of its rich history was to own a treasure.

while i had some idea as to craftsmanship, i had no idea how much went into the process or that printers did not do the binding.  i knew about gutenberg and the revolutionary invention of movable type, but i didn't know who invented italics or anything about the nuremberg chronicle history of the world (1493). 

william morris is most noted for reviving craftmanship in later centuries, and howard pyle is an illustrator of note.  better yet, we got to carefully touch and handle ancient manuscripts and books that have stood the test of time as contrasted with some that did not (due mostly to poor craftsmanship, lack of care, or acids mixing with paper).  i even saw the hole made by a real bookworm before getting to head to the library archives!  the fox library also has the st. john's bible project on display, the modern-day labor of love led by donald jackson, calligrapher to the queen of england.

finally, we learned how to notice a truly valuable book or manuscript.  often, people won't realize their own treasure and will take it to goodwill where a trained eye and hand can pick it up for as little as ten dollars. oh, for the love of books...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

christmas in april

take it from me, posing with three chickens is harder than it seems!  these are some of the photos that didn't make the cut (however, my head and clothes were unsullied during the photo shoot, which is saying something!)

stay tuned for holiday greetings from the three french hens...

Sunday, April 2, 2017


perusing this lovely northwest cookbook over french press coffee, as is my sunday morning custom, i was further inspired not only to cook with local fare, but by the name as well.

(i have named my art passion & blog "studio lark" because the meadowlark is the only bird who sings in flight. the seattle based restaurant and cookbook authors have used the name for the same reason.)

i will definitely be heading north to sample their fare, which looks delicious in every season!

bucket list or bust

given a little mad money, rest, and time, watch out bucket i come!  since, as quoted in "the best exotic marigold hotel" movie, "there's no better present than the time", i've decided to check off not one but two big ticket items.

sailing lessons aboard the "mahalo":

and a trip to the grand canyon:

camellia festival

i've always found camellias beautiful.  they look to me to be a cross between a rose and a peony.

a big bush grew outside of our dorm room and once in college a friend and i made ourselves camellia necklaces out of fallen blossoms, only to find ourselves covered in ants!  but it was worth it and we got a photo before dancing around, flinging them off, and falling to the ground convulsing in laughter.

so what better way to celebrate this flower than with an annual event?  i'm excited to do the 10k and finishers receive a potted camellia at the end of the race.  there's still time to register.  for more information, go to:  camellia festival