Thursday, December 27, 2007

Edge, the unfamiliar, newness, mending, quilts

This morning Bo and I took our walk together. Instead of walking along the river I decided to instead walk up one of the ravines. The wind felt cold though it was only 38 degrees out, but in the ravine, it was still.
We walked a deer trail. We haven't had much rain but I noticed the deer had been on it when the path was wet because their hoof prints sunk into the soil. Rocks had tiny shadows perfectly surrounding them that revealed themselves as space; the cold ground moving back from the rocks. Or else those stones were shrinking!
Bo stayed closer than usual to me. On more familiar ground he ranges far out ahead of me and the other day dug up a hole and caught a field mouse before I could get to him, so this "staying close" was nice. Probably because the new place made him a little cautious. Me too.
I thought about my latest book coming out in April, A Mending at the Edge. This little favine felt like "the edge" with it's ups and downs of deer paths. When I arrived at the upper end of the ravine, it turned out to be the sharp corner where a few years ago the trailer sank over the side and four calves got a reprieve. Jerry opened the door and the calves mosied out to munch while we spent quite a bit of time getting the trailer out.
Last year about this time we were finalizing the title for the book that is coming out in April. After much thought, we'd chosen “A Mending at the Edge.” I like it. In part because it is a book about a woman’s healing, her coming to terms with the mistakes of her past while moving forward. I’m reminded of Acts 26:2 in the King James version where Paul says “I think myself happy…” I love the idea that we can change how we feel, that we can think our way into a better, more hopeful place. Mending involves that kind of re-thinking, pulling threads across the tears and making something whole again.
I like the idea of an edge as well because this woman was at the edge of her religious colony. She didn’t always see eye to eye with the leader and yet she found herself needing the security and comfort that the colony provided to a woman with four children in the 1860s whose husband had abused her. She was marginalized in some ways, at the edge.
But in backwaters -- as in little visited ravines -- it’s the edge that promises the most intriguing bits of flora and fauna. Rich life goes on at the edge of things and contributes greatly to the health of the entire river. I like the idea that this woman will find her way toward spiritual health and in so doing, she will bring good things to the rest of the colony as they make their way.
There are quilts in the story too, so mending and having a tight, well-stitched edge, just stands for quality, doesn’t it? And perseverance.
I've decided to take that route again, just to see if the dog stays close or if with one exposure to the new his confidence has grown. I'm pretty sure I'll see something new as I walk along too. Not a bad thought considering it's the new year soon....when all will be new if not unfamiliar. Walking into it with Bo will be a delight.
I hope your new year is filled with new things whether you're living at the edge or in the middle. Jane K

Friday, December 21, 2007

Trees and letting go

My friend, Sally Freeman, is a Park Ranger at Ft. Clatsop, the wintering site of Lewis and Clark on the Pacific Coast. This is her fine piece gleaned from the wisdom of trees. It's also a site where Marie Dorion, the subject of my Tender Ties Series spent some time in the winter and summers of 1812-14.

sally freeman <youngsriver@yaho> 12/15/2007 08:48 AM PST During the Advent storm of December 2-3, 2007 in Clatsop County, high windsstarted late morning on Sunday and finally finished Monday evening (somegusts were 120-140 mph). This was the longest, strongest storm in memory.Many trees broke or fell and many did not. The following thoughts were given to me December 10 while carefully walking through a forest nearYoungs River.-
Don't be surprised by a gust from an unexpected direction. Not allstorms are predictable. Be prepared.- It is hard to tell who will stand and who will fall in a crisis. Many trees that look strong and beautiful fell, while many that appear weak had no damage.- Let go of your excess baggage before the storms come. Maple, oak, and alder trees drop their leaves in the fall so when the storms come, they suffer less damage.- A storm may break off sections that used to be vital to you; let them go.If you are still standing, you'll be okay and better able to endure the next storm.- If a neighbor falls, catch him/her if you can, but be prepared to hold them for a long time. If you fall, God might provide caring people to catch and hold you; don't resist their help.- If you are falling, it is useless to struggle to hold onto the earth.The world is not able to help you.- If you are falling, relax and let God catch you in His arms and set you down where your weakness will cause little damage.- If, after years of braving storms with God's help, you collapse, you are not a failure if you have provided shelter, fresh air, and beauty to those around you. Sally

Her line about the storm breaking off sections "that used to be vital to you; let them go. If you are still standing, you'll be okay and better able to endure the next storm" really touched me. How often we hang on to that which was once vital but has been damaged, perhaps compromised and yet we hate to let it go. It worked for us once so we hold tight. Letting go. Perhaps that is my lesson from this Advent Storm...

Have a good day, each of you. Warmly, Jane