Lately

Sunflower

1. Visiting with my beloved cousin (who lives in Indonesia) for the first time in over two years.  Random: The last day I saw her, I woke up early to watch the royal wedding; submitted a grad school paper on Frances Burney.  This feels like a good barometer of what two years means.

2.  Looking at the prairie sunflowers on Sandy Hook, New Jersey’s beaches.  I can’t find out how they got there originally.  Wind?  A seed scatterer from some past beach trip?  I tried to read about their history, but couldn’t find it.  Regardless, they grow there along the sand dunes with the ferns and sedges and grass.

Sunflower

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Room Enough

Jake's

Last weekend, my mother and I went away to Rehoboth.  We visited galleries, bought jewelry at (amazing) local shops, sat in an alleyway courtyard over long Lori’s breakfasts, ate seafood, watched two Chesapeake sunsets.  We spend an afternoon lying on a beach mat listening to the waves.

Rehoboth

Over a lunch of fish tacos, my mom read that Rehoboth means room enough.  I love that.  When I got home, I researched some more.  It turns out Rehoboth is a word with long Biblical roots (which makes sense given this beach town’s earliest origins).  Somewhere, I found the word Rehoboth defined as a place of enlargement and flourishing…

Rehoboth

A place of enlargement and flourishing… couldn’t be more fitting for this moment in my life.

Cantler's

Textile

IMG_8498

Last weekend I went with some friends to the National Botanic Garden.  We missed the infamous Titan arum blooming by just a few days… but we also missed its accompanying blockbuster lines.  And we did get to see its fallen — and odor-free — aftermath.  (Have you all seen this time-lapse video of its blooming?  Amazing!)

Leaf Pattern

Texture

Though we didn’t get to see the Titan arum, we found plenty to admire at the Botanic Garden.  How much in the human history of pattern and design must be inspired by plants.  I kept looking at the leaves and bark and blossoms and thinking how great they’d look transferred onto textiles and paper goods and architectural details.  In fact, I actually have a print-making project up my sleeve for this fall.

In the meanwhile, enjoy this crazy, impressive aloe.

Aloe

Umbrellas, New York

Umbrellas, New York

Umbrella play, New York.

We’ve had a rainy spring and early summer — both in Alaska and here on the east coast.  I keep noticing the play of movement that happens with umbrellas.  I spotted this woman on the High Line in New York.  Even here she and the umbrellas are in movement: the two umbrellas separating as she turns, the blue one outstretched.  In another minute she’ll offer it back to whomever she’s holding it for.

Saxon Merino

Yarn

When I’m in New York, I usually try to stop by the Union Square Greenmarket.  Last winter I wound up carrying around a pocketful of lavender.  This time I discovered Catskill Merino Sheep Farm.  These skeins* of worsted merino are truly exquisite.  I went online last week to scope out my upcoming order, and their website is just the coolest.  (It mixes photos of Saxon Merino lambs with posts about Proust.)

Yarn

* Can we talk for a moment about how beautiful the word skein is?  It rhymes with rain and its sound hovers so close to skin.  Which feels like a tie to the future sweaters, scarves, and blankets a skein’s yarn makes.

Even its definition has a lovely sound:

n. 1.  a loosely coiled length of yarn

Yarn

And it turns out skein also has a second meaning:

n. 2.  a flock of wildfowl (as geese or ducks) in flight

What a lovely image for skeins to carry.

Listening Lately – Spring Peepers

My husband and I always write on our calendar the first day we hear spring peepers.  Two choruses of peepers live by the creek near our house, and at the height of spring, we can even hear them chirrup from our deck.  Spring arrived late this year, but even then the peepers were on time: right in the middle of March.

Even so, I haven’t made it down to the creek to hear them as often as I’d like.  Then last night I was leaving the library after a meeting and was enveloped by a distant chorus.  Up close, an army of peepers can be high-pitched and bracing, but at a distance the sound feels more mellow.  I wound up rolling down my windows in the library parking lot and just listening.