I have indeed been absent from writing for a long while.
It's nothing bad, nor have I abandoned my blog. Instead, life has been overly-full with good things, including two major projects. I'll write about one of them today.
I just returned from a less-than-24 hour trip to Cornwall, VT, where I stayed overnight at the Oxford Rug Hooking School and completed the requirements to become a Certified Teacher Punch Needle Rug Hooking. (!! Hurrah !!)
And as if that weren't wonderful enough, just look at the weather and views I had while I was there (even though I hardly had time to be outside).
There was earthy eye candy everywhere.
Here are some samples, a photo journey for your enjoyment:
Amy Oxford's school is a bit of heaven on earth, one of my favorite places to go and well worth the four-hour drive for me. (Although TWO four-hour drives in 24 hours just about did me in.)
And then there is Amy herself, one of the kindest and most generous people I know. A fabulous artist, teacher and businesswoman. And there is also Heidi the dye wizard, working her magic on both creative and administrative aspects of the school--and just as nice. (Heidi also can repair absolutely anything.)
It is sheer pleasure to be in residence there.
I am ready to collapse for the evening and try to take in the fact that I'm now certified...a fact which just makes me think, "But I have so much more to learn!"
My one regret is that I couldn't stay longer. Anyone who has been to the school and is reading this will know exactly what I mean.
As for the other project I'm involved in: that one is bigger, longer-term, and more disruptive, and may prevent me from writing much for a while.
It's all good. But it's also all-consuming.
To quote the old Beatles' move, Help: "I can say no more."
I saw a friend yesterday who had been sending me images she'd created on her iPad. I just loved them so she told me what app she had been using, a free one. I immediately downloaded it. And I had also acquired a new stylus, the Adonit Pro. (I have an old iPad so I cannot use the fabulous new Apple Pencil because it only works on the most recent iPad models. I won't be getting one of those for awhile.)
Here in order were my first four attempts with this new app. I think I'm in love, and addicted already. Oh, the ideas for rugs and other textiles!
Endless possibilities here!
"Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout."
Several weeks ago, a young woman riding her bike in the bicycle lane of a busy nearby square was "doored" (hit by a car door opened by someone who was not looking) and knocked off her bike directly into the path of an oncoming truck, which could not stop.
This happened about 3/4 of a mile from my house. Within a day, a Ghost Bike had showed up and was placed, covered in flowers, at the exact location where she had been killed. Since I drive or walk by that location several times a week, it was upsetting to see the bike there.
Bicycling groups around the world have long observed a thought-provoking custom to memorialize fatalities caused by motor vehicles. When a rider has a fatal accident while bicycling, someone will take an old bike and paint it white. They will then place it permanently it at the location of the fatality. These are called "Ghost Bikes." It may sound gruesome; however, it is such a poignant reminder of the perils of biking in a car-saturated urban environment.
Unfortunately, another such bike has now showed up practically at my front door. On August 29th, there was a fatality less than a block from my house. Strangely, I was home with the door open and yet never heard a thing.
There's a commuter train that goes right by my house, and the tracks must cross an unbelievably busy street. I've lived here for decades and have never heard of an accident between this train, which runs frequently, and any vehicle on that road--bus, truck, car, biker, or pedestrian. The crossing is incredibly well marked. Long before the train comes through, loud bells begin to ring, bright lights begin to flash, and two very long barriers come down across the road, one for each direction. Therefore, it was incredibly puzzling to hear that on the 29th, a bicyclist was hit and killed by a commuter train there.
This is a mystery for sure. What really happened? It was broad daylight. It was a fine clear day. All the crossing signals (lights, bells, barriers) were working perfectly. All the cars on either side of the tracks were stopped. Many pedestrians were also stopped, waiting to cross once the train had passed. And other bicyclists were stopped.
All of a sudden, another cyclist came down the road with great speed. Everyone assumed he would stop. When he did not, motorists and pedestrians started yelling for him to stop. He did not. In fact, he actually had to maneuver his bike around the barriers to get onto the tracks--past the lights, the bells, and the barriers. He never stopped, and a large number of horrified observers watched as the train hit the bike and he was killed.
What was going on there? Was this a suicide? Or was he in a rush and did he assume he could make it across before the train? Who was he? What was his history? It seems likely it was suicide, given the fact that he had to really work hard to get onto the tracks and couldn't have failed to notice the signals and barrier.
I will never know. Nor will I know his name.
I'm not a cyclist (too scary around here), but I feel terrible about this, and now I have a Ghost Bike just a stone's throw from my house. Not something I ever wanted to see here.
Rest in peace, whoever you are.
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society