This summer has been rich in experience, epiphany, and insight and there is still another month to go. I will be processing all of it for many months to come. Going to Ireland in June was amazing, it connected me with a land infused with holiness that sings in my memory. I felt a deep connection to those ancient monks who developed a Christianity that was wild and organic, that emerged from their land and traditions as a nature-embracing people. I felt anger at the history of the Roman Church with its love of order and its petty argumentation. I was enchanted by the stone circles and the burial tombs that connected far more ancient peoples to the earth and to the annual rhythms of the sun across the sky. I adored the woven knots and spirals that appeared everywhere and spoke to me of cycles and reached for the eternal moment. I loved being a stranger in another land and noticing what it called forth from me and helped me to find some of my own edges, especially a longing to travel more and linger a long time in foreign places as they work on breaking me open.
We have also been to Mount Rainier, a most sacred mountain, visible from Seattle on a clear day, she truly radiates power and elicits awe. I had not been before because dogs are not allowed on the trails, but being in those subalpine meadows and seeing the glaciers made me want to return again soon, to stand on her holy ground. Then there was Vancouver Island with a Celtic Art class and time to learn a new craft. I learned to make those wonderful woven knots and spirals and I find myself absolutely entranced as I weave line over line and delight in the sense of wholeness it brings. Each day we would drive by thick forest to get to the class or go for a walk near the cabin where we stayed, and sunlight streamed through the trees illuminating them, and I longed to just lay down on the forest floor and be illuminated.
In a few days we drive down to Sacramento to visit my in-laws who are in poor health. It is a 14 hour drive with a stop midway in Ashland, Oregon to see some Shakespeare and break up the trip. We are driving so Tune can come with us and I can see my husband’s parents before going to one more art workshop to collect some more tools and inspiration for my work.
Then it will be back to the regular rhythms of work with its own gifts, but with the openings and possibilities of summer shaping it. The image that keeps coming to me these warm days is playing in the field of possibility. I have space and time to reflect and to be, to stretch myself wide and wrap myself around my longings. Living slowly is a primary value of mine, and I keep discovering its gifts. I keep thinking of Lynn Ungar’s poem “Camas Lilies” and that one precious line: “Imagine setting it all down— / papers, plans, appointments, everything, / leaving only a note: “Gone to the fields / to be lovely. Be back when I’m through / with blooming.”
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts
(photo above was taken on Vancouver Island near Shawnigan Lake)
(PLEASE continue to send in quotes or poems for the image below and I will keep adding them as they come in)