Spring in the Great Smokies—Gratuitous Pictures

 

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Just pictures today.  This always feels a little self-indulgent to me, but as I mentioned last post, after working hard on Hello Sewing Machine, and hitting the road with Bryan’s work, I am ready for a break!  Lucky for me, one of my all-time favorite breaks in my routine is just around the corner.  Our yearly week-long creative retreat/gathering of friends and family starts tomorrow, and I am so looking forward to it.  I’ll share some pictures and projects from that as well, once I have them!

Another kind of break I cherish is spending time in the wilderness.  These pictures are from this April.  Spring at home is a quiet season, easy to overlook until you turn around and it’s summer already.  Not so in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It’s like reverse fall, flowers and tress busting out all over with blooms in different colors, sizes and scents.  The week we were there it was already crowded with flower identifiers and photographers, and everyone seemed to be in a great mood, buoyed up by the coming of spring.  I hope you can take time for a little break today too.

 

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Michigan Winter in Pictures

 

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Out here in Flagstaff, winter is (assuming it snows enough) bright days with the sun bouncing light from the snow everywhere, white too bright to look at and deep dark shadows.  Ponderosa pines collecting snow in huge clumps in their needles, and then when the sun comes out, dropping them with a window-shaking thud on the roof over my head, or on my actual head while I’m shoveling.  It’s getting your skiing in before the snow melts down, and watching the flakes float past my studio windows when it snows again, which is one of my very favorite things about this room.

In Michigan, from whence we just returned, winter is different.  And to me, totally beautiful.  The bare branches against a grey sky are a delicate tracery of subtle colors and shades, more muted but lovely scenes are in the dried branches, the white fields.  After spending the morning playing with my little nieces, I escaped outside with only my camera.  I got that “what are you finding out here to make the picture worth your freezing fingers?” look from at least one Midwesterner I ran across, but that’s the beauty of something unfamiliar, seeing the hibernating landscape with my fresh eyes, I saw worthwhile photos everywhere.

The landscape also meshed well with these thoughts from Kimberly at The Year In Food:

And I love darkness, in the sense that this is a season of long, dark nights, quiet, rest, hibernation. There’s merit to embracing it rather than fighting it and I try my best to do so each year. Perhaps easier said and done from the mild coast of California than in the thick of a midwest winter. But that season of rest is here, nonetheless: the fallow land, the bare trees, the grey skies, the long nights, the snowy mountains off to the east and north. Let’s embrace it, friends.

I often find myself this time of year longing for warmth, summer, light and long days of it.  But seeing a new winter landscape reminds me of the beauty that is here right now, a quiet one perhaps, but one worth enjoying just as it is.  Here’s to embracing your season, wherever you are!

 

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Just a Wreath

 

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I spent this morning making wreaths with my crafting buddies at my friend Elena’s house.  She’s been making them for 20 years, so she gave us expert advice, and it was super fun.  Her whole living room floor was covered with a big blue tarp, and on top of it, buckets and boxes stuffed full of all kinds of wonderful greenery, dried pods, and beautiful berries, chiles . . . with that much natural beauty it would be tough to make anything that didn’t look good.  I made this one with lots of stuff from right around here.  I wish you could smell it!  Piñon cones and juniper are two of my favorite smells in the whole wild world.  I guess we all like smells that remind us of home.

 

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I hope you’re enjoying the season!

 

Technical Delays in a Beautiful Place

After a heroic effort involving all my laptop power and a rainy, foggy day in a huge lovely park with (as far as I know) only one wifi location, the post I have been working on is still “coming soon.”

In the meantime, please enjoy these pictures of Shenandoah National Park. It’s totally beautiful here, the trees are still leafing out and various flowers are blooming on the forest floor. Perhaps they will inspire an unplugged moment in your day!

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