the song of my life, for now

“Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose.

Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently,

until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it.

Only then will you know how to give yourself to this world so worthy of rescue.”

~Martha Postlewaite

I’ve loved these words since finding them online a few years ago…they are our “motto” at Wisteria & Sunshine this month as we clear and wait with the New Year. But the truth is, I clear and wait…and the song of my life falls into my hands-notes at least, or bits of melody…but I still try to save the whole world. Or I can’t stop wantint to. And my mind and heart are often so tangled with it all. I get clear for an hour or a day, then I am in a tangle again. We live in deeply difficult times. And I don’t think we saw it coming, not really. Even if we are awakened to it, our world isn’t. A war is looming, some are breathing the smoke of it and seeing the fire, but it isn’t a war we are all united by, there are no wise leaders, and no home front. Tho’ we are trying…we are trying.

These are the tangles that keep me from posting here regularly…and make me retreat to the peace and emptiness of our upstairs rooms to write my scraps of ideas on bits of paper, shuffle them around, try to find the rhythms and containers to help me better save the world or clear or wait. It is good work and needful. I’ve chosen the booklets for the year and placed them in my Daybook. I’ve spent some time chronicling the holidays in my Winter Diary and will soon begin hand-stitching a cloth cover that is calling to me to come into being. A pattern of posting and attentions to home and earth is weaving for Wisteria & Sunshine. A path ahead for Make Do & Mend the Earth is beckoning, at last and will soon come into being. I’ve no great plans for my shop or my making there, but feel something new on the horizon. It can wait. There is so much to do already and that is part of the tangling.

I wish life could be simpler. But it can’t be for me while the world is on fire. I will keep trying to simplify all that I take in, my work, the ways I keep my home and shop and live. But I woke up this morning understanding that life won’t be simple for a long time to come. I need to accept that and get on with all that I know is my part…what is mine to do. There won’t be a rhythm for my being here, or on Instagram or Make Do & Mend, that is clear after all of my stopping and starting the past few years. I have a tendency towards perfectionism, especially with arrangements of all sorts. But also a deep longing for what I know is our womanly way of rhythm and seasons. I also woke up this morning knowing that I might have that, naturally, if I had a Juniper life. But our lives now are nothing like life in the 16th century and I am going to let myself off the hook of trying to find a lovely pattern for everything. Just enough will do.

The berries and ivy I gathered in our winter woods were found amongst tangles of invasive weeds and briars. That is what life feels like to me, in this century. I will keep trying to gather the beautiful pink berries and earthy ivy in my days and my mind and my heart and twine them into posts here, whenever I am called here and can manage it. It is a joy and a comfort, to have this circle (all our circles, everywhere!) of warmth and connection in the midst of everything else. May they flourish.


“Never to categorize, never to separate one thing from another-intellect, the senses, the imagination,…some total gathering together where the most realistic and the most mystical can be joined in a celebration of life itself.

Woman’s work is always toward wholeness.”

-May Sarton

I’ve been living with my guiding word for almost two years because this year’s word-weave-is just a more poetical version of last year’s-integrate. And I begin to wonder if it will take another year, or more, before I really feel I am living it? It seems to me that this current iteration of the modern world is bent on the opposite of May Sarton’s guiding wisdom. . .we are constantly prompted to take quizzes, count our followers and unfollowers, move quickly from one thing to another, one piece of advice or another dozen, focus on our bodies or our souls…but not focus on anything for long because. . .look! here’s something else you might like, based on your recent search…

It is so easy to feel like my thoughts and my days are unraveling, rather than weaving together, as is my aim. Tho’ at the same time that I am aware of the unraveling, the scattering, I am also aware of a deep weaving at work within me…I just lose the thread of it so quickly, so easily. A gentle reckoning is coming, I am aware of that, as well. Time to pull back from much of the allure of the online, find my way back to my quieter, more spacious online ways. Something like it was ten years ago, if possible? It would be much simpler if one didn’t have to make a living. And simpler still if one had some kindreds nearby, for isn’t that what we are often seeking when we wander here? Some company along the way?

Someday I will have that again, I trust. In the meantime, there are the hens who are inside and out in these days-of-open-doors-to-warm-the-house. And there is the mockingbird who sings down our chimney and takes baths in the rain outside my studio doors. There is the companionship of a fire, large or very small. . .and the garden. My cabbage and kale and collards are thriving and beginning to be added to our uncomplicated and delicious autumnal meals, with sweet potatoes to come. I’ve been mulching the paths and beds, with cut grass and hay and it is so soft and peaceful to work in it now. . .gathering the last of the green beans and peppers and tomatoes. They will join the jars in pantry and freezer that bring me so much satisfaction and comfort. Small harvests and preservings, to be sure, but riches all the same. The steeping blackberry vodka is in the store cupboard, too, now joined by a large jar of persimmon vodka just beginning its alchemy.

This is what feels like the best and strongest parts of my weaving, the noticing and cherishing, but that is only because the rest just little off at the moment. It’s all a part of it. . .I don’t want to separate or categorize now, do I? : ) I suppose it comes down to choosing the threads that will make the most harmonious weaving. . .and understanding that there will always be some weaving that needs to be taken apart and done again.

Ah, the crows are circling and calling, as they do throughout my days. . .and the mockingbird is perched on the same forsythia branch, quiet in the sunshine. I will go out to the garden soon and find a pepper to add some sweetness to my solitary supper (and some Great British Baking show) and keep “gathering together” all those threads of the realistic and mystical and all that is life, as best I can.

How is your own weaving these October days?

P.S. The last several photos are of the “rocket stove” I built on Sunday. Just watch a few videos on youtube and you are a few minutes away from your own. It was a little dream come true to manifest the boiling of water outside under the wide open sky…tho’ I have some learning to do to make it happen more easily, with less blowing on embers. : ) It is trickier than a fireplace or woodstove, but I wasn’t using any pine and my twigs were a bit damp, so. Hoping to make it a weekend tradition, at least!