Saturday, April 26, 2014

beyond the crossroads

Directions and decisions, truth and consequences,
hellos and goodbyes, roads taken, not taken.
The past year, as I time warped into the 6th decade,
I have less desire for the destination, more for the journey,
like a bloom opening on a warm spring morning,
unsure of the day ahead but moving forward, regardless.
The days have symmetrical rhythm
some with dead ends
days of thirst for something new
ups and down

tight squeezes
and rocky times. After all, that is
part of our own pilgrimage, isn't it?
There is always a way

and always there are good hearts discovered on the journey.
Join me as the blog continues.
It's traveling here
Swing by if you desire.

Sunday, December 01, 2013


Quietly enjoying a day in my life.
One that I am eternally thankful my parents gave me.
It was before television, computers, internet, cell phones.
The telephone was wired into the wall and it was a party line.
When reading books and writing letters transported us
to ideas, friends and family.
I am grateful to have been part of that era. 
Moons later....
to celebrate my day, I made sure to have something to open.
Months ago, on a clearance rack at the local thrift store, this smart cotton jacket
was begging for a second chance. An Eileen Fisher number with a nifty
off-set zipper, pockets and a double layer of fabric here and there.
The color was just wrong.
    If it was to be a birthday jacket it would
be colored with November.
Bundled up it was left to wait for my day.
I am hoping Eileen approves but if not, at my age, it's just fine.
I rather like it. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

on the turning away

Knowing I'd travel a bittersweet trail to the Pacific Northwest, I dyed up yardage
in India Flint fashion before I left.
I knew I'd want some presents to open when I got home.
some close-ups....


In most cases time is a good thing.
From fabric to friendships,
resting, waiting, patience.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

colors for Rwanda

I've been running a bit under the radar since returning from Rwanda.
There was a lot to process.
I fell in love with this country.
Rwandans say "God might visit other countries
by day, but every night He returns to rest in Rwanda".
But now it's more than geography.
It's a solid commitment for me
with a group of women in a place
I can't begin to describe.
Silence beyond comprehension.
After months in the making,
there is a way you can help these women.
I've met each and every one.
They survived the genocide
but they are forever scarred from it.
Read on here for the rest of the story.
This is real.
Thank you for even a moments notice.
It means the world to the ladies if you know they exist.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

wrapped up

Coming to work at the center on my last day
there were bundles to open.
It is good to have presents to open before work.
The coreopsis blooms smiled at their marks on cloth.
 Anna Marie had chosen to dye her scarf in cochineal the
day before but after seeing the bundles unwrapped
she decided to add leaf prints to her piece.
Faina is so beautiful in her cochineal dyed wrap.
Heads together and wrapped up.
Alphonsine helped me with my wrap.
Every Friday the ladies practice yoga at days end.
The room is packed. Lots of slow breathing and
'ahhs' at good back stretches.
After yoga Katie and I
wanted to teach the ladies a traditional American dance, the hoedown.
We showed them three moves, the do si do, promenade and swing.
Then we put the music on and everyone swung a partner. It was
great fun. After which, with Simon translating, I thanked the group
for all they gave me this week. In return, they asked I not forget them, help them find ways to
earn money, and come back to visit them. I promised all three.
We held hands in a circle and prayed.
The goodbyes were one by one with hugs and kinyarwanda murmers.
I will miss each and every one.
Not everyone was present here but all are in my heart.
Now I need to set the promise in motion from afar.

Monday, June 24, 2013

bundles and blue

Katie and I traveled the rocky road to work with the ladies as usual.
 I began by teaching how to build and manage
an indigo vat. Until their seeds grow for Polygonum tinctoria and woad
they will work with Indigofera tinctoria that I will supply.

I brought silk pieces for each of the 35 ladies so they could make
head wraps from the colors we had created during the week.
We spiced up the dyepots from the day before and gave the ladies
a choice of dyeing a solid color, which many chose. They love bright colors and
the cochineal, weld and onion skins were options.
A happy lot we are.
In the afternoon,
scarves emerged from the dyepots to dry on the far line
with baby Sandrine in the middle of things, enjoying the bustle.
Eucalyptus is one of the plants the center dyes with
and there is an abundance of it here.
So I gave the option of learning leaf bundling
which 8 or so ladies wanted to try. The coreopsis flowers and onion skins
were used with eucalyptus leaves. Many of the ladies wanted
to use just the flowers.
Meanwhile skeins started to emerge from the indigo vat.
We overdyed cochineal and weld skeins and plain white skeins.
The week's palette grew.
Bundles piled up which we boiled up
after the ladies left for the day.

Today's lasting impression is how lovely
it is to work with such a large group and everyone is thankful,
loving and happy with what transpired. No one looking for
more, or is less than satisfied. Blissful dyeing.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

komera komera

There is no doubt in my mind that I have felt more welcome being amongst Rwandans than any other country in my memory. They are respectful, reverent, generous of spirit and heart even in the midst of their dark struggles. Katie has introduced me to many of her Rwandan friends. They lived through the genocide, barely. They are still hungry, suffer from the bad water, barely have enough money to eat each day. Some are working on their college and masters degrees at the expense of eating. One of the Kinyarwanda phrases that is said over and over to each other is "komera komera" which means "be strong, be strong". There is no way to appropriately convey how strong these people are.
There is no feeling of entitlement here. There is no automation, electric tools, tractors and mowers. I have seen two tools that are used, a hoe, the other a machete. There is pride in their land. All of the grass is cut with a machete, even at 6" tall. Leaves are picked up one by one. All of the fields are hoed by hand. If a farmer has a field that needs to be planted the neighbors pitch in to get it tilled. Rwandans function collectively, individualism is unheard of. They suffer in silence yet collectively they support each other.
Each day this week when Katie and I arrived at the center we would greet each lady. A hug with three or more 'cheek to cheeks' and a hand hold at the end. Eye to eye contact, many Kinyarwanda words said back and forth then onto the next lady. At first I thought, "oh Lord, how will I get through all 35 ladies." They patiently taught me the phrases and words, slowly pronouncing them as I would recite them over and over. By weeks end I was communicating. They would smile and hug some more.

Today I feel blessed. I have lived Rwanda. I have walked the dusty roads covered in volcanic rock that make each step difficult. I have been prayed for, prayed to, sung to, sung with and danced with these beautiful people. I will miss this place. I will return.