It’s spring here in the Pacific Northwest, or at least the calendar says it’s so. In reality, winter seems to be dragging on, with overcast, drippy days. But the days are longer, which is most welcome, and the boldest of trees and plants are pushing out into the world. Every day I look out at the birches in our back yard. They are still in tight bud, as they’ve been in weeks. No green yet. But soon, I’m sure, soon…
It will be a special spring, with us all coming out of covid restrictions—and fervently hoping they won’t be back. Some of us have negotiated these past two years better than others. Some, I know, have been remarkably productive. Unfortunately for me, my creativity seems to have taken a hiatus, but I’m feeling good energy start to return. Bring on the people! I am so tired of Zoom meetings and classes, but they were a life line in the last two years.
In the middle of Covid, when no one was going anywhere, I ordered a pair of sparkly shoes online. They are unrelentingly cheerful. I have no place to wear them—yet—but they remind me that there WILL be dinners and parties and celebrations of friends in the future. There WILL be times we can all come together in relaxed company again. Please, soon!
Now, with the tentative arrival of spring, I am trying to write. Raven, the main character of my novel-in-progress, is a masseuse at a remote wilderness spa in Alaska. For months, she’s been two-dimensional to me. I haven’t been able to see her clearly. Now, suddenly, I realize that she has a special gift: Her massages awaken hidden emotions and memories in her clients, sometimes welcome, sometimes not. There could be some magical realism just around the corner. That might be fun.
And I’m finding some inspiration from a new exhibition at the Bainbridge Art Museum: “Unbound” It’s an extensive display of artists’ books, an art form I’ve just discovered. I’ve read a number of definitions of “artists’ books,” and I like the Smithsonian Libraries definition: “An artist’s book is a medium of artistic expression that uses the structure or function of “book” as inspiration—a work of art in book form. Although artists have illustrated the words of others for centuries, the book as art object is relatively recent…” The books in the exhibit are wonderful. Some clearly manipulate the traditional book form; others are a bit more obscure—but they are all thought-provoking and quite lovely. I was part of the team of volunteer writers who assembled the catalog for the exhibit. It was a delightful exercise, and now I’m experimenting with the creation of my own artist book, based on tiny tidbits of nature and the simple words of Sylvia Boorstein, a Buddhist teacher: “Life is difficult, so why not be kind?”
But now, excuse me, I have to go outside and stare at the buds on the birch trees.