Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chapter 5: Utter Joy

What an unexpected pleasure to watch this person in a state of utter joy -- and on his lunch break at that! The wind was so strong, and the kite so big that the kite man sometimes got lifted a few inches off the ground.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chapter 4: Walking

I have a bloggy friend -- an artist, writer, humorist, nature lover, and general older-sister mentor. She can do lots of things, but she cannot walk anymore. Sometimes I hold hold her in my heart as I walk. She told me that she appreciates that.

That's a practice I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh. He says, "We walk for those who cannot walk." It brings so much awareness to my feet.

Suddenly, I was startled by an uncommon sight. Just over the crest of the hill was a most vigorous orange kite zooming left and right in an unpredictable rhythm.

PS: It took me 35 minutes to get the images set in the layout -- and it's still not right. Is it me, or is it Blogger?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Winter Walk: Chapter 3

My wonderful parents (may they rest in peace), gave me, among other things, an appreciation for nature and nature writing.

My father, an Eagle Scout, knew hundreds of flowers both by latin and common name. My mother loved birds and her wild expressionist garden. They started their annual life list in April, with a walk in the large Arboretum in search of Pasque flowers.

At the time it was hard for me to understand their enthusiasm about a flower that they saw each year.

Their bookshelves held works by Aldo Leopold, local botanist Jim Zimmerman, John Muir, May Thielgaard Watts, Henry Beston, and later, thanks to my sister, Gilbert White. I remember now that they often read particularly moving passages out loud to one another while they read together out on the screened porch.

I believe they would have loved Monarch's blog, which I discovered recently.

So I thought of my parents while I was out on my walk. They helped me learn the names of so much of what I saw that day. The ability to name something helps you to think more clearly about it and to understand how it fits into the larger scheme of things

Friday, November 23, 2007

Chapter 2: Cold Wind

Drawing is still difficult for me, partly because I'm still learning to really see things, not just look at them. This chapter about a hawk took me about three hours of sketching and then crumpling. I think there are 11 rejected versions crumpled on my floor.

So, thanks to you for stopping in. Even if you don't leave a comment, your very presence helps me explore the outer boundaries of my crayonwork. Believe me, I don't push myself when I'm alone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A True Story, chapter 1

I feel rusty yet hopeful (punctuation?). After my 7-month break, I see that drawing is mostly rooted in seeing, not just in producing lines. So I'm looking at things more closely this week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


A long-time friend and I made a pact 10 weeks ago to start a journey toward better fitness. I'm following the excellent Body for Life program. She is using the True Grit method. So we both spend a lot of time at the YMCA.

Here's what I have noticed: Women strive to lose and to get smaller and smaller and smaller. We work toward being the ideal object, or just not wanting to take up too much space. Am I right?

Men strive to gain and to get bigger and bigger. Just wanting to take up more space in the world or or be the subject, the do-er. There's also so much pressure on them. I'm thinking now of John Berger's "Ways of Seeing."

Some people in the gym -- especially the Elders -- seem to find a just mean. But so many people approach their workouts with a kind of terrifying mania.

As for myself, I've managed to burn some blubber and develop new muscle in these 10 weeks, but I often feel like a chubby wimp among the warriors.

Rainy Day

Autumn is leaning into winter. I spent the day in the cozy apartment puttering, reading and drawing. My current read, Self-Portrait with Turtle: A Memoir, is a delight. I'm reading it on the heels of John Muir's A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.

I want to be in nature, but my minimalism now reveals its disadvantages. The next paychecks will go toward wool socks, some maps of wild areas, a good winter hat, sturdy mittens and some sensible shoes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This new blog will be an adventure. I bet it will change me, just as my first blog did.

This is what I look like today and last week. I'm worried about some things, but the small joys in my life balance them out.


My deceased blog, "Potato Prints," came to a natural end about 7 months ago.

I had just moved "home" to Madison, Wisconsin after 25 years of roaming the world.

I needed to channel myself into fitness, into a search for meaning, and a search for employment in my new city. The blog stopped there.

Over the blogless months an emptiness has grown. I've missed the crayons and the strange blogosphere.

Last week, a friend tagged me on her blog. Two days ago I had a fortuitous e-conversation with my favorite radio personality. Then, last night a dear friend gifted me with a box of crayons.

The three exchanges are shaking me out of my artistic slumber. I started to look at some of the drawings from last year. I've posted three of them.
I'm not certain, but I think I'm coming out of crayon hibernation.