Monday, November 23, 2009

light intoxication

In these winter months on the North Shore, the sun never climbs very high in the sky. We watch it rise out of the big lake (later each day). In these pictures above, it has just risent. By the winter solstice in December, it rises just to the right of the big tree.

It moves across the sky, pouring into our windows, hitting the lake and bouncing in. We have to turn the heat off first thing in the morning because of the sheer solar energy.

This picture (right) shows the sun near noon. Notice how low it is since we are so far north.

The light seems so present, bouncing off the lake and pouring into the house, I found myself last week feeling "drunk" on the light--overwhelmed by all of it.

The first Christians were accused of being drunk on the Spirit. Maybe this is something of how they felt!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Twig Table!

Last weekend, I had some unexpected free time
and so I decided to take a class at the North House Folk School.
I'd been wanting to learn how to make Twig Furniture,
also called Rustic Furniture. This kind of furniture making
has a long history--since it uses materials that are
all around us, and prunes instead of cutting down trees.

First you make the twig base by hammering
wood pieces together.

Then you make the top, something like making a mosaic. On my top I used mainly different colored willows and some red osier dogwood. I also used some beach rocks that blended in to the colors.

Igot a real kick out of making this, watching the design emerge, using the subtle tones of nature. Since this first project I've made a picture frame as well.
The satisfaction of working with wood, with nails, with color--it's very meditative. I think of my father who often did woodworking for relaxation and creativity. I've decided to keep doing this kind of folk craft as part of my life--to connect with the tangible, to create from nature, and also to sell.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Superior goes wild

I awaken to a roar: like a freight train going by the window. And then I realize--Lake Superior is at it again! The beach that held us sitting on the edge, the quiet lapping of the little waves--taken over by fury!

On Friday, November 6th, there was no wind to speak of, and yet huge waves crashed onto the beach, over the breakwaters in town, over the second layer of breakwaters. We sat in the sun stuffing envelopes at the Folk School as the waves lept like geysers.

Someone told me there must be a storm somewhere else on Superior, and because
she has a smaller surface area than an ocean, those waves will be felt up here on the northern edge.
Just as the poet and essayist John Donne wrote that "no man is an island unto himself," Superior reminds us that a storm somewhere on this lake makes waves on other parts.
May that be true for us: may we be aware of the fact of our connectedness--in matters like health care reform, hunger, global climate change--so that the waves that crash are reminders of our oneness.