Too Much

If you peeled your eyes away

to give them a break

to rest from so much seeing

to see what might be discovered in reality…

If you pulled your nose back from the glass and stone

from the screen and window

to inhale something new, or just stop breathing the fumes…

If you covered your ears

and stopped listening to tripe, to lies, to bait…

What would you hear?

What would you smell?

What would you see?

Sometimes I feel it – too much seeing.

Sometimes my breathing is labored from so much pressing my nose where it need not be.

Sometimes my ears are tired from so much hearing of what I do not need.

I step back. I close my eyes.

I shut the computer and the phone.

I listen to silence.

Perhaps to song.

And I breathe.

And I create.

And I relax.

********

More and more I’m finding I need periods of respite from online activity. Be it a few hours or even days, this unplugging allows me to rest, to really hear and see what’s going on in my life, to listen to what my pen wants to draw or write. It feels a bit like Spring. Something underneath the surface beginning to stir and waken, yet still waiting to come forth. I’m seeing it on my walks these days…tiny bright green spots coming up from the ground and peeking out the ends of limbs. It’s still very early days here in the South where winter could come roaring back just when the tender blooms think it’s ok to wave at us.

I need to step back, listen to the silence of so much growth. I need to keep watch over the tender shoots…breathing, creating, and relaxing into the change of seasons.

Evergreen

Were my life four seasons of twenties

I would be in late Fall.

Spring and Summer past, so too the brilliance of leaf and coolness.

Only a few bright jewels remain quivering on their branches

knowing full well they await their last flight

of wind before gravity takes hold.

From here I can feel the chill of coming winter.

And I now see, with other limbs bare,

the evergreens standing sure and unmoved by the seasons’ ravages.

They have been there all along playing

a lesser role to oak and maple.

Providing scaffolding for all of nature’s

hoopla to dance and frolic.

Now they have their day…their deep values

fencing the path, marking the way.

I walk on. For I cannot go back.

Stopping to rest beside an evergreen

I admire its solidity, if prickly and severe.

I touch the bark, the needles, and I inhale something rich, resinous, comforting.

Surely in my winter, evergreens will guide with pointy fingers

and lay out a carpet soft for travel-weary feet.

Here in late autumn I can still feel the sun of summer’s day,

the blush of spring’s blooming.

It is all encompassed by memories of brilliant colors against a bright blue sky.

The hint of woodsmoke brings me to now, as I walk forward

into winter’s snowy embrace.

-jpe

I’ll Tell You

What happens when so much making comes tumbling out of you that you shy to share it?

What do you do when so many ideas beg and need to be birthed, small, tiny, insignificant ideas yet they must be born?

What if you feel so alive with all the making, the knitting, the poeming, the crafting, the drawing, the writing of stories that, surely you are living in miniature and illustration?

What then?

I’ll tell you.

You let it tumble out.

You do not share it. Not yet.

You birth the ideas as far as they will go no matter how small and insignificant they seem.

You knit, you poem, you draw and craft, you illustrate and write.

You live in your stories for your stories help you understand your story and thereby help you to live…

Tumbling…

Making…

Loving…

Alive.

-jpe

Wind Walking

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any of my poetry. Oh I do have these little rhyming ditties trot through my head now and again. Most of the time I just roll my eyes and go on about my day. But this one “blew through” my head as I woke this morning complete with an illustration. 🙂

I woke to the wind howling in the trees.

“Come walk with me! Won’t you, pretty please?”

I answered the wind by stepping out the door.

Now my hat and scarf…they are no more.

-jpe 2.9.2017

I love wind. Do you? I always have. It seems to call to me, beckon me outdoors, even if just for a bit. Today I shall walk in it. It’s supposed to stick around for the entire day…fun! I s’pose I wouldn’t like wind so much if I lived where the Mistral blows for days and days on end. Although, if I were in Provence, I know I wouldn’t mind it AT ALL!! 🙂

Anyway, I’m headed out the door. I think I’ll leave my hat and scarf inside. 🙂

Who cares about the hair, right? 🙂

(Let’s see just how many smiley faces I can include in one post!)

Did you know that I have a book of my little rhyming poems?

It’s titled Words On A Line. 🙂

Have an Artful Day!!

Could It Be?

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Could it be, in these small un-arted hours, beauty is wrought?

Could it be, in dishes and diapers, laundry and lunches, heaven is laid out?

Could it be, in lack and leanness, provision is lavished?

Could it be, in faces – not fancies – that fullness is found?

Could it be, as I embrace the small, my life is enlarged?

Could it be, that ART is happening even when I’m not making it?

Could it be, in all I feel as futile, God is fashioning beauty?

Could it be, the big life I long for is found in the little life I live?

Could it be, the constraints of time and money, unleash creativity?

Could it be, the pain of not making is simply the longing to be near Thee?

Could it be, this passion that seems to leak out a sieve, is actually being sifted, refined, made pure?

Could it be, even if I had all the time, energy, and provision to do my art, to live the big life I long for, that it would not be enough to satisfy or reach said big life and big art?

Could it be, that in me – a common vessel – resides eternity?

Could it be, that this side of heaven, I’m to weave my little thread, even if it’s the same thread as yesterday, or a new one I find along the way?

Could it be, my daily work is to draw a line from everyday things to eternity and back again.

Could it be, that contained in my insignificant, small life, the realms of heaven abide and He lives in grace and truth abounding?

Could it be, that the King of all nations would be born in a barn and sleep in a trough?

Could it be, that the Master Artist comes to create in humble, insignificant lives?

Could it be, the grandest art is made on the littlest scale?

Could it be, that True Beauty is wrought in lack, insignificance, and tedium?

Could it be I have it all wrong – instead of this life being about ME being able to do my art and thereby live my BIG life…that it is rather about CHRIST, the high and holy one, coming to live BIG in my humble and insignificant life?

Could it be, that my insignificant life is transformed into a magnificent one through the humblest of events – a babe in a manger, Emmanuel, God with us.

*****

Retuning my heart this day after Christmas, weary from so much merry-making, wondering where the Beauty is, reclaiming what is true and good. May your days after Christmas be magnificently insignificant as the babe weaves His love into your life.

Artfully yours,

Jennifer

In the Presence of a Tree

frontyardplum

I sat in the presence of a tree today
to lean in, to listen to
what it has to say.

To draw from its lines a story of the tree
with pen and brush in hand,
my sketchbook on my knee.

It offered me a leaf, with limb bent low,
and dindled and quivered
glad for me to know.

It drew itself up tall, proud against the sky.
Then settled for the portrait
breathing out a sigh.

My lines caress its roots, mark each scar around the trunk.
Then out on limby ledges,
each a mystery to debunk.

I hear the breeze of ages past, dance from leaf to leaf.
My pen records the music
on a bark-made sheaf.

-jpe

*****

I hope you get to sit in the presence of a tree today!

(The above is today’s drawing for #inktober!)

Falling

LeavesFalling

I heard a poem being read on NPR the other day. I thought it was so lovely and wanted to share it with you.

Autumn

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.

We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

I find it fascinating how we each see things differently. Where one might see leaves falling and think the leaves are saying “NO” as they fall, another might think the leaves are dancing.

What do you think of when you see the leaves falling?

The Tease

BirchTease

The Birches have begun their pre-autumn strip-tease.

It must be the shafts of amber sun and dry air in the morning tickling their golden fronds and sienna-tinged greenery to the ground.

My heart skips a beat at the sight of their undressing for it makes me think—

Fall is coming.

Yet not so fast. It is only early August and there are blistering days ahead…dog days they say. The Birches need their leavery for shielding from late summer sun’s gaze. Understandably it turns its eye on the beauty disrobing before it…graceful arms of gold and emerald dripping with morning dew.

The sun will have to wait for the full reveal. And so will I. Yet the wait will be worth the watching as birches tease the month long.

**************

Note on the sketch: these three birches grow right next to our back deck. As I sit in the mornings, I sometimes draw them, their swaying arms reaching over to me and beyond into the yard. It is by them that I know when summer has begun the turn into autumn. Gold and brown leaves begin to pepper the deck.

They are also a constant reminder of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost.

Mondays

BackyardReds Cropped

Mondays come around with shocking regularity.

Don’t you think so too?

For some, the weekend is a time to slow down, to rest a bit from the work-week, to have a bit of fun. For me, weekends are hard, harried living. Oh sure, it’s all good stuff. But come Monday morning I feel I  need a weekend to rest up from my weekend. It has felt like this for quite a few years now. I look forward to Mondays so that I can return somewhat to a more purposeful rhythm of art and life. Weekends often feel like driving a stick shift in the highest gear possible and your car is still screaming.

Monday always breaks into my thoughts with a regular theme. I recognize and notice this as a lifelong theme–one of feeling bound, constrained, restrained, hemmed in, held captive in such a way that I long to break out, bust loose, run away if only for a few hours, or possibly several days.

If you flipped through my sketchbooks you would see page after page of drawing all the way to every edge of the paper, as if my pen longs for there to be more paper on which to dance. There are also pages where I’ve drawn myself a box in which to contain my lines. Rare, however, are the drawings in which I’ve stayed within the lines. My pen longs to bust out, go through those self-imposed boundaries and frolic free. These are some of my favorite drawings.

BackyardReds

Is this merely a drawing device I like to employ? I think its something more–a visual representation of what I long for in my life. I wrote the following poem several years ago. It was one of the first written about my favorite Field and Lane up at the top of my neighborhood where Mr. Whicker’s home and farm resides. Walking here often gives me a taste of that freedom I long for…to know no bounds…to run and play and frolic free.

It’s amazing how drawing can both reveal these things AND offer an answer. Drawing your life in a sketchbook truly is boundless…just turn the page when your paper runs out. There are NO rules one has to abide by in making marks…anything goes!

The only problem is trying to catch it all, to drawcument ALL of it: cousin sleepover with youngest, JDRF Walk with youngest and several of her friends, oldest daughter in for the weekend with two other friends from college, worship, lunch out with a friend, etc.

That’s what Mondays are for…to slow down a bit and draw my life, or at least parts of the harried weekend so I can remember it and see how lovely it is and in doing so…to live…boundlessly!

 

BackyardRedBuds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whose fields these are…

 

Whose fields these are I think I know…
His house presides o’er fence below.

 

His cattle say their grace each day
Content to watch and eat and stay.

 

The fields, they hum a beckoning tune-
To roam, to fly, to surf their dune,

 

To live with graceful, swaying ease,
To know no bounds, nor responsibilities.

 

To run and play and frolic free,
To chase the butterfly…or not…as you please.

 

Walking away, their song remains,
Though I am bound for my life’s restrain.

 

And as I enter my home’s gate,
I bow my head to plead for grace…

 

To watch and eat and yes, to stay;
To boundlessly live within the fray.

 

-jpe

I Will Create!

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This is an oldy I wrote years ago, but I’ve been running the words in my head of late. We can so easily be consumed by the sadness in this world: mass killings of humanity, hunger abroad and in our own towns, financial woe, health issues, family matters, work difficulties, etc.

I choose to stand against the looming oppression of these things by making something beautiful. Though it is a small gesture, when we all create something lovely, whether it be in yarn or paint, clay or paper, on a stage or in your backyard, we are fighting the ugliness that rears its head in our world.

Let us stand together today against all that threatens to undo us, and make something beautiful and share it with the world.

P.S. Did you know I like to write poetry? I have a self-published collection of my poetry available on Amazon or a signed copy in my Etsy Shop. It’s sure to bring a smile to your face on a dreary day. 🙂