The stumpy tree

This tree has been through a lot. It is part of a pair in front of a house.

tree bare

They are a short walk from my house.

Here are two pics taken early in June 2016. They are full and vibrant.

tree1

tree2

The electric company was going to come by soon and trim them – I’d seen the marks they put on the trees. Some get trimmed, some get cut down entirely. They trim every four years and do it based on the rate of growth for that species. If the limbs will be in the lines, they have to cut them away because they will tear down the power lines during a storm – or become energized. A worker told me that trees have a lot of water in them, and can transmit the electricity. Touch the tree, and you are touching a power line if the tree has its branches touching the lines.

Here are the “after” pictures, taken 6-20-16

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Pretty little corner

Is it possible to miss a place more than a person? It is acceptable to say that the garden is more beautiful than the gardener? The creator made the creation. Surely the beauty of it is a reflection of the beauty of the one who made it.

I once was part of a debate on an artist page, where a customer was dismayed to see that so many artists used their art as their profile pictures instead of a head shot. He wanted to see what the person looked like. I commented that the outside of the person is arbitrary. We have little control over that. But what a person makes, their art, comes from the inside. That is their true face. That is what they truly look like.

I am coming to realize that there are things in my life that I will never see again. They pass, or change, or go away before I realize it. The moment is gone. The chance to really notice it is over, and will never happen again. Places that I loved as a child, that I spent a lot of time in, are no longer available to me. People move, or die, or stop being friends. Places burn down, or get remodeled. Change is the only constant.

Here is a picture of the garden at a family friend’s house. I found this online, after realizing that I could never go there again. They’d moved to assisted living and sold the house. The husband had grown too frail, too ill with Parkinson’s.

ellen2

We’d spent a lot of time at their house when I was growing up, and after my parents died I visited monthly. The couple here were like extra parents to me, but that has changed. He has died, and she has grown distant. The mourning is many layered.

He was from Iran, but long enough ago that it was called Persia. His name was Mohammed Hosein Rafiee (pronounced Raff-ee-ee) but was sometimes called “Joe”. He was a metalurgist at Combustion engineering. She is named Ellen, and they were married longer than I have been alive. Sometimes I think they stayed together out of habit or inertia. Sometimes I think the house is what kept them together. Neither wanted to leave it.

This is a photo of him that I got from the obituary that was online. Why had I not taken the time to take a good picture of him? I have some, I’m sure, but they are casual snapshots. Why can’t I find them? How did I not know that this was not forever, that he would be gone one day, that everything would be gone?

Hosein

He called the garden in Persian “Zebah Kenar” – pretty little corner. Ellen made it. He’d designed the house in a very Japanese style, where it wrapped around the garden. Most of the rooms had windows that opened out onto it. In Japan, the symbol for “home” is the the one for “house” plus the one for “garden”. A garden makes a house a home.

Hosein understood this. The soul of the place is the center, the inside, the living part that you work on.

I just found a picture of the garden that I’d taken.
Rafieepond

…and after some digging, I found some more. Here are shots of the lovely lantern by the front door.  Almost nobody came in that way, but you had to drive by it to get to the “real” entrance.

 

The window on the right side is one that Hosein designed and made himself.  He taught himself how to do stained glass work just so he could make the windows for the house.  They do not look like beginner’s efforts.  He chose a difficult design and rose to the occasion.  He never made a stained glass window again after he made the ones he wanted for this house.

I have a fondness for up close pictures and unusual angles.  These were taken near the front door.  The house is very close to the edge of the bluff.  A short walk out the back door and you will fall off a very high sheer cliff face.

 

Here are some that give you an idea of the shape of the house.  There was a lot of height in the rooms – only a small bit of the height was used for upper rooms.  The living room was quite cathedral-like.

 

Here is a nice picture of the front door, the lantern, and the windows he made.
r100

I know I have more pictures of the interior.  I’ll add them when I find them.

I found this – from my wedding. The only person I still speak with is my husband. How odd that I thought these people were so important to invite for this event.
raf

and yet more I’ve found, on my husband’s phone.

This was taken on the sly while on a visit a few years back.  This is in the living room.  Hosein is on the right.

 

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The view from their deck.  When they built their home this road didn’t exist  – thus the noise didn’t exist either.

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This might be at their house – but then again, it might be at the Choo-Choo.  I wonder what happened to their Koi when they moved?  They surely didn’t take them with them.  Koi live a long time.

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Viriditas, energy, and time

Saint Hildegard’s “Viriditas” refers to life force, essence. Many translators simply say that this neologism means “greening”, which it does at the most basic level, but it means so much more than that. It is power, energy, growth. It is the very marrow of what it means to be living. You know when you meet someone whether they are simply existing or truly energetically alive. This “Viriditas” is the difference. We have the ability to tap into this force, a gift from God, and be truly alive. We are then expected to use this power in the service of God to help our fellow humans.

It is what Moses talked about when he said “I set before you a blessing and a curse – therefore, choose life.” Life is the blessing. To grow, to use your gifts is the purpose of life. We must choose to tap into the power of God, and then choose to use it wisely. We are not meant to use this energy for our own personal gain, but to benefit others. We are meant to take what God has given us and magnify it.

Two men having sex together is seen as a sin in Judaism because it is “spilling of the seed” – it is seen as a waste of creative life force. The act isn’t the sin so much as the waste of creative force. Their energy is not being used to create, but is used for personal means. They are not making anything with their energy. It is a mis-use of a gift from God.

Likewise, to create laws against homosexuals is also a waste of power. Imagine how many hungry, homeless, and hurting people could have been helped with the money, time, and energy that have been spent on creating laws against people who are gay or transgendered.

The focus must always be on wisely using what God has given you. The energy must be turned outward to help people, with full trust in God.

This is what Jesus talked about in the parable of the talents. Use what you have and make more. Don’t keep energy to yourself.

This is at the heart of the miracle of the loaves and fishes – which happened twice. Take what you are given and add to it. Feed people, in as many ways as possible. Food, encouragement, love – humans need all of these. Our gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded up.

We are meant to be fruitful and multiply as much as possible, and this does not necessarily mean to have biological children. Our kindness, generosity, compassion are our children as well. Our creative acts – making music or art – are also our children.

This is also about the sanctification of time. The very first commandment that Israel received in the desert was the mitzvah of the calendar. They were to use the moon as their way to mark time, to note its passing, to remember and be mindful about time. It is important to be intentional about the use of time, because it too is a gift from God.

Take nothing for granted. Waste nothing. Trust your gifts and share them with the world, with God’s help.

Remember what Jesus did – he gave thanks to God first before he performed miracles. Tap into the “greening” power of God by giving thanks first for what you have, then turn it outwards to give to others.

Time to make art?

People sometimes ask how long a piece I made took. This usually is in reference to beaded jewelry, but I soon expect it to happen for my collages. I’ve not been creating in that manner as long, and I’ve not started to try to seriously sell them, so I’ve not had this happen yet.
Why does it matter how long something took to make? Does that devalue it if it didn’t take the artist very long? Does it mean that it should cost more if it took more time?
How long does it really take? When do you start the clock? When you first had the idea? When you bought the materials? When you started putting paint or ephemera onto the canvas? Or does it start before that – with classes and study, learning how to use the materials?
There have been plenty of times when I’ve realized that the only way I could have learned how to make the piece I just did was to have made the twenty other ones that the potential customer does not see. Sure, this one took two days to make. But in reality, it took two years of trial and error to learn how to do this in two days.
If a necklace took twenty minutes to make, does that mean that it shouldn’t cost $45, because you only make $15 an hour? What if the same customer would spend $30 on a meal that took ten minutes to cook?
Food is a good analogy – the raw ingredients have to be raised or grown or processed (chicken, asparagus, pasta). All of these things take time and skill – before you even get to cook them into a meal. Learning how to cook takes time and a lot of practice.
Making art is the same. The materials used have to be created and / or purchased. The expense (time and money) involved in just the materials alone must be considered, as well as the time it took to learn how to prepare it.
Perhaps artists should start saying the real time it took, starting with when they first had the idea for that piece or bought the first supply that was used. or when they first learned a technique they used in that piece. In some cases, that would be 20 years for me.

Lost time

Lost time 012016

Inspired by/things that came up during the creation –
Fungi, soy/wasabi leftovers, debris, passage of time, look close you might miss it, beauty in ugliness, things passed over.

(Close up)
Lost time 012016 close

Materials used –
6×9 piece of “Pacon” watercolor card stock
Glue stick
White crayon
Distress Ink – Rusty hinge, crusted olive
Dr. PH Martin’s Bombay sepia ink
“thirsty brush” technique
Toothbrush with water to spatter
Used salt (previously used in watercolor painting, reclaimed)
“Crushed glass” glitter
Water/paintbrush
Holographic nail polish
“gelly roll” white pen
Light blue “super gel” pen
Poured white acrylic paint mixed with water
Decoupage glue
Tim Holtz “idea-ology” clock pieces
Glamour glitz crystal

Made 1-19 to 1-20-16

Poem – now is not the time

Odd how
on my lunch break,
my own time,
I always worry about
what I’m going to do next
always
check my schedule
always
think I’m missing something

meaning that
I’m missing
the most important thing
which is
my time
right then.

Trying to multitask
means I’m not doing
the task
at hand.

While worrying about
saving time
I end up
losing it.

Poem – discipline

In order to gain something you need,
you have to give up something you want.

Reading, study, sleep,
versus
TV and the internet
for instance.

Consider the
monkey with his hand in the jar.
He can hold onto what is in the jar,
or pull his hand out
and be free.
He can’t do both.
What are you holding onto?

Time, money, energy
– these are all things we spend.
Are they giving good value for you?