November 2014

the attic dress















A few weeks ago, my father-in-law called and wondered if I would stop by to have a look at some old curtains. He and my dear mother-in-law are downsizing, and he was making forays into a small attic. The curtains are a story for another day, but while I was in the attic looking at them, I noticed a satiny petticoat or underskirt hanging from a closet rod-with a Girl Scout uniform as its only company.

The waist was so tiny, the creamy fabric so lustrous…even tho’ I, too, am trying to downsize…I told Father that I would love to have the skirt and the curtains. Then I had to dash, and when I got the curtains a few days later, nicely bagged up, imagine my surprise when I reached in, expecting to pull out rough burlap curtains with orange and beige woven stripes (yes! the seventies!), and instead found myself pulling out piece after piece of brown printed silk, lace and….paper. A dozen pieces in all.

Underskirt…skirt…blouse…jacket…three hats…fan…bow…purse…collar…sash. The brown fabric is printed with an 1898 edition of the Ashtabula Telegraph newspaper and Ashtabula (Ohio) is printed on the sash. Strange, yes? And then there is the crinkled paper trimming the jacket collar, the fan, and one of the hats.

Odd and wonderful.

Rather giddily, I called my father-in-law and asked him what in the world he had given me. It turns out that he had thrown away everything but the petticoat earlier in the day, but when he saw that I liked it (he’s thoughtful that way), he saved the rest of the ensemble from the trashmen and sent it along to me. All he knows about it is that his mother gave it to him, tho’ I am hoping to winkle out some more details soon.

Isn’t it charming and unexpected? And brown…my favorite color.

All I can think, because of the temporary nature of the paper collar and accessories, and the sash with words emblazoned on it, that it was for a parade or other gala event? It is a mystery, one of many, including why my husband’s grandmother (with no Ohio associations that we know of) had it in her possession…

What do you think?

rosehip november

*If you are reading this and you can’t see the woman looking at the moon in the first photo, click the title of the post to read in full-page view. When I view in Firefox, my blog is strangely compressed!*













When I moved here to my Rosehip Bower, I thought I would be writing often and deeply about the experience of being a Rosehip woman…but it hasn’t really turned out that way. Weeks pass and I can’t find the…clarity…that it takes to turn my thoughts and feelings into blog posts.

It probably has something to do with the tangles inside me, or the forest I feel in the midst of. It is just where I need to be, I guess, but it is hard to share out-loud. Tho’ if you were to drive down my long driveway and knock upon my door, I am sure that after a warm hug and welcome, we would sit at the kitchen table by the flickering woodstove and speak from our hearts to each other.

In the meantime, I will keep pondering and listening…as I sit on the floor in front of the french doors in my studio each morning…as I cut and fold papery things for my Etsy shop (opening on Saturday, fingers crossed!)…as I fall asleep at night in the beautiful dark.

I have always been more a lover of the day, but they have been logging again, this time just across the street. We are into the fifth week now, with no idea when it will end, or whether it will end with our beloved view forever changed. It has been utterly gorgeous weather all of this time, but it is hard to be outside for very long. We try not to let the sound and the knowledge of what is happening get to us…but it is impossible to rest easy or even work away with the drone and buzz and whine. Sundays are our only chance for some peace.

So nights have become a refuge…except for all of the nights when the kitty little plant adds its own rumble to the sweet air. Sigh. All of these experiences are difficult and worrying, yet they also teach me to make connections that I might not make otherwise. These connections and what to do about them are part of the tumult inside of me…but I hope to untangle them, eventually.

Until I do, and while the tumult continues over the land around us, I spend most of my days trying to drown out the noise…with music and story. One of my favorite songs is this one.

Rose hip November – autumn I’ll remember
Gold landing at our door
Catch one leaf and fortune will surround you evermore

Pine tree very tall, waiting for snow to fall
Mist hangs very still
Caught by dawn in castle moats around the sleeping hill

Now a pipe is heard happy is the shepherd
Shepherdess and dog
Father of the pastureland and mother of the flock

Rosehip November, autumn I’ll remember
Gold landing at our door
Catch one Leaf and fortune will surround you

-Vashti Bunyan

I am especially aware of the preciousness of each leaf, branch and trunk these days.