Monday, October 06, 2008


Among the green of summer, spots of color portend the changing of the seasons. Some trees turn yellow, others crimson, and a few orange. Leaves drift down to sprinkle lawns that remain summer green, thick and lush, untouched by frost's fingers. Dipping temperatures have flirted with the freezing mark, only to retreat to warmer degrees.

This morning late buds on the rose bush open in a misty rain. Their rose red tops the oranges of the marigolds below. I stood in the damp air marveling at the depth of color and the beauty of the petals unfurling, thankful that Nature allows this last blooming before sending winter's chill.

The forest green ivy garlanding over the stump on our lawn has ripened to pinks and purples that catch the eye of passers-by. From my porch I gaze at the foliage admiring the hues, wondering if I can capture them in a quilting design. I retreat from the damp to my kitchen and the smell of coffee, certain my effort in fabric and thread will be a feeble representation of the glory outside.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

There is a Season

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

  • a time to be born, and a time to die;
  • a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  • a time to kill, and a time to heal;
  • a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  • a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
  • a time to mourn, and a time to dance...from Ecclesiastes
These words comfort my family at this time of the death of my father. He spent his life farming, and upon retiring he kept track of the seasons, the crops, and the weather. His life turned on nature's seasons and so this is the season of death. Mourning will pass; laughter and dancing will return; the timeless cycle repeats.

After ninety-one, nearly ninety-two, years, his greatest wish was to die at home. To this end, Hospice assisted us; he took his final breath reclining in a living room chair. We are blessed by the many expressions of comfort from family and friends.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June Showers

Shower: a brief fall of precipitation, as rain, hail, or sleet
(The American Heritage Dictionary, 1991)

A June shower provides a refreshing drink for crops, grass, and flowers. The raindrops patter a soothing refrain on roofs or pummel down in a rhythmic drumbeat. In the darkness of pre-dawn, I listen to their song and go back to sleep. Later, I rise to continued gloom of cloudy skies still emptying their water.

My reliable paper delivery person has delivered the morning newspaper
with articles about the havoc of flooding in other areas of the country. Houses, streets, fields, and roads are inundated; the live giving rain leaves runnels of destruction.

Water sluicing from my downspout forms a puddle on the sidewalk and runs off into the grass. I bless Nature for nourishing my grass and easing my water bill; the hose stays wound and lifeless in its corner.

Flowers and plants reach their leaves and blossoms to the catch the drops that glisten on their foliage and feed their roots.

June showers, welcome and renewing or unrelenting and destructive, fall everywhere, their beneficence or their decimation a fluke of geography.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is Spring?

Winter returns to my corner of North Dakota.
In January, I posted a view of my street. Alas, today looks similar. In inches, 8.3 is the official weather bureau measure. The wind is blowing and flurries linger in the air. Road reports and announcements fill the radio airwaves. News reporters call in from their drive arounds. They see vehicles in ditch and snowplows struggling. Postponements and cancellations replace the music selections. City buses aren't running until 9 a.m. The Valley's Largest Rummage Sale will begin at 11 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. A mother-daughter luncheon is cancelled. And on and on.

Through my kitchen window, I watch my flag flap and snow sift over the rooftops. I'm waiting for the melt as I've retired my shovel for this year!

The ice clouds my front door's window; tulips huddle under their white blanket.

My horoscope advises enjoying some down time, taking the day off. Simon has the right idea. I think I'll join him.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Pieces on my cutting table appear as triangles, squares, and rectangles in various sizes and colors. Sometimes I choose fabrics that form a coordinated color scheme; other times I pick up random colors that spill together. Color and shape combine to make a design pleasing to my eye that takes its emphasis from color placed to draw attention within backgrounds that soothe and harmonize.

Pieces form an infinite variety of patterns with ebb and flow, patterns that shout with color and movement, patterns with restful subtlety. I never tire of the interplay of color, size and shape in design motifs. I play with their placement to achieve an arrangement that satisfies my senses.

As I sew pieces, sashes, borders and I watch the creation of a larger piece composed of many smaller parts, I accomplish an artistic rendition of an idea. Thread and fabric take on a spirit of their own. The sandwich of layers (top, batting, backing) is quilted together, another pattern imposed on the pieces. Applying the binding finishes the edge, the last piece of a wall hanging, a runner, a lap quilt or a bed quilt.

Like pieces, I choose words to make phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that express ideas and tell stories. The combinations are endless; the goal an engaging, entertaining composition.

Pieces spill into family and friends who combine in ever changing patterns stitching together the fabric of my life. Pieces surround me; their arrangement and rearrangement engrosses.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Love's Labor

Bertha and Frank exchanged their vows on a bracing September day.
Then John, Mary, Elisabeth, Frank Jr., Adam
Chester, Ruth, Michael, Debrah, Matthew,
Joseph, Peter, Charles, Paul, Rose,
Esther, Leah, Naomi, Matthew, Rachel, and Timothy
joined the family circle. On their silver anniversary, the couple
raised crystal glasses to toast the event. Around them ranged
sweet proof of loving and unsparing labor.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Temperatures dipped last night below the zero mark, and an Alberta clipper zipped across the state prompting snow to fall and swirling the flakes across fields, roads, and streets. I adjust the thermostat, burn a log in the fireplace, and simmer a pot of soup.

But wintering is more than survival.
It's savoring the season of cold and snow.

It's a sleigh ride listening to the squeak of runners on the snow and to the jingle of bells on horse harness. Bundled in stocking caps and mittens, zipped in thick jackets, and nestled under lap robes, I, my husband, and my grandchildren keep cozy warm during a ride along the river. We scan the pattern of trees' bare limbs and winding river bank. Squirrels cavort and wild turkeys strut. Afterward we sip hot chocolate and talk about what we've seen.

My grandchildren enjoy taking their tobaggon or plastic dish sled to Dike West, a man made heap of dirt that protects from spring flooding. It's height and slope are perfect for a heady ride.

Wintering begs for visits to the library to choose books and movies. Add these to games like Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, checkers, and Scrabble for grand entertainment indoors. My husband loves to challenge children and adults to Carom, his favorite childhood game. He's so good at this version of table pool that the rest of groan in defeat before we take aim with our shooter.

On sunny, mild days, people are tempted to the parks, to take walks, or to skate at the outdoor rinks. My youngest grandson has discovered the thrill of gliding across a sheet of ice as if he has wings. When melting makes the snow sticky, the creative juices call for building snow people. Adding a variety of hats, scarves, sticks and stones gives these character and personality.

Ah, wintering! I'm ready to discover the contents of the book on my lamp table.