Friday, October 19, 2018

Sweet Sleep

As I have gotten older, I have found a sweet night's sleep can be evasive; especially during times of worry and concern. I have yet to find a way to put those thoughts aside for the night. And if I am able to fall asleep, I often get caught in a web of the same dream; waking up and falling back into the tangled strands no matter how hard I try to escape it.

A full moon, even with the curtains closed tightly, is another sleep disruption for me, always has been. And I am quite worthless the next day if I don't sleep well.

I wonder, do animals experience these disruptions too? It doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps it's for the same reason that they don't think about tomorrow or their own mortality. How wonderful that must be.

My orange kitty can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. 
He cracks an eyelid when I step nearby but shuts me out and returns to 
cat dreamland with a sleepy sigh.




My tuxedo boy has a passion for curling up next to the Green Man on the hearth.
But one tiny creak will snap him out of his sleep in a heartbeat.



 Unlike myself who can't let a limb hang off the side of the bed for 
fear of something grabbing it, my son's cat stretches full length, monsters 
under the furniture be damned.



A cold spring morning on a sun-warmed driveway is the perfect place 
for my friend Silver to nap.Not too hard, not too soft; just right 
if I would leave him alone.



Evening often finds a lonely bee snuggled up in the corner of the siding 
by the front door, oblivious to my touch.




And mice too curl up by the fireplace with their favorite blanket.



While moon moths float in that space between waking and dreaming.


And a recycled bird nest provides a comfy mattress on a cold winter's night.



I wish you sound sleep and sweet dreams, and no monsters under the bed.



Monday, October 8, 2018

Portals

This is a busy time of year for me; lots of shows and commissions. I haven't had much of an opportunity to get over to my favorite place, Alligator River Refuge, on the mainland. So today I thought I'd go on a virtual trip back and take you along with me.

For me, one of the most mysterious and and magical things about this place are what I call "portals;" those glimpses into wet, wondrous tunnels that appear one day and are gone the next. I suppose it has something to do with the shifting of the water and earth in these wetland areas, but I would rather attribute it to the local fairies and elves allowing me a peek inside their realm. I can see just so far then the opening turns a bend, shutting my inquisitive eyes out, leaving what lies beyond to my
imagination only.


So let's begin our journey. First let me introduce you to the Keeper of the Portals. I have been relatively close to him and he is large to say the least.
I never did see his whole body 
since his tail kept receding into the background forever.






This portal was freshly opened not too long ago. Since one isn't allowed into the refuge after dark, I can only imagine what goes on at night. 



This frog best beware; there's something lurking nearby.



Look carefully and you can just see wings in the reeds to the left of the dark tree.
Do you see them?






I went back one day later to sketch this portal again and it had closed.
But at least I got some sketches and this photo.





Yes, the water really is an almost neon green.
That's how you know it's enchanted.



This one remained open for a few days. If only I 
hadn't left the kayak at home!





This small portal is tucked beneath and behind the tree roots; 
the perfect place for a fairy to nap.




But this one has been my favorite. It's dark and mysterious, inviting yet 
sending chills up my spine at the same time.
Would I enter if I could? Absolutely!






Saturday, September 29, 2018

Not So Itsy Bitsy

I have spent part of my week watching the laid-back island life of my pergola spider. She leads a life many would covet; no one to worry about except herself, spending her days eating, tidying up a bit and not much else. She is always gorgeous and never seems to gain weight no matter how many cicadas she devours. I've never seen her change her menu selection so perhaps she has a "cicada" tooth.


Her official name is the Argiope Spider, more commonly known as the garden spider. She is an orb weaver and in the early morning there are sometimes beads of dew along the strands of her newly woven web, casting off their own bit of magic, helping to lure in breakfast. 

 She began her life in an egg sac like this one.


 I found one in my yard, brought it inside to study and paint, then laid it in the 
garden by the pergola. Maybe this one was her first cradle.



Catch of the Day


Catch of the Next Day


Repeat Performance




 Tidying Up


Repairing the Web




Hmmmmmmm. New neighbors have moved in. Wonder how this will go.
Maybe she'll offer a plate of cicada as a welcome to the neighborhood. Or maybe...


Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Autumn Equinox



Tonight ushers in the Autumn Equinox and with it comes change. Some of the changes are breathtaking and welcome, like my Beauty Berry Bush that is at its peak of showing off. Other changes are not so happily received; saying goodbye to summer and to those people you love. It can be hard to wait for the return of these things but trusting they will return is about all we can do. It is out of our hands and the universe will take over. So until then, we need to take pleasure in what is left behind and use our imagination to bring our desires to fruition in the future.


My lizard seems to know fall is here, changing his outerwear to match the 
browning leaves of the trumpet vines above him.
He only has two coats you know.


Rattling like bones in the wind, the mimosa seed pods dangle, 
waiting for their chance to leave home.



The trumpet vine has already begun releasing next years blooming vines,
opening up to drop sepia-colored rain upon the ground.


Thanks to my Facebook friends, I now know the name of this plant that
has appeared as if by magic - spider lily or hurricane lily.
Call it whatever you like. I think I'll call it Scarlet.




And today, to take my mind off some changes I'm going through, 
and to celebrate the arrival of the Autumn Equinox, I potted some mums.


And because I was born in the Year of the Dragon, 
it's almost a requirement that I plant a Dragon's Breath 
near my front door.

Happy Autumn Equinox to everyone.





Friday, September 14, 2018

Her name was Florence

For us, it's over. We were lucky. Property owners and tourists will be allowed back to my island this weekend. Did I mention we were lucky?

People ask me why most of us don't evacuate. They call us crazy, mad and stupid. These are people that have never experienced a hurricane or lived for many years in a hurricane prone area. I'd like to explain why I am neither crazy or stupid; perhaps a little bit "mad" though as are most creative people. There are many reasons why I chose to stay through this one. After 20 plus years of living on the Outer Banks, I've learned a lot. I watch and listen and plan. I have seen what most of these storms do, and I  live 26 feet above sea level. I know about preparation and what I need to do. By the way, the nor'easters that hit us in the winter can be every bit as dangerous; they just don't come with names so the average person doesn't give them the concern they deserve.

Some storms that come up the sound and travel west of us leave catastrophic flooding inland and are more dangerous on the mainland than the actual storm has been on the island. And when it's all over, if there is major flooding, you just can't get home. Luckily that wasn't the case this time.

This time I decided to keep a sketchbook on the storm. I made it using a book cover entitled, Storm Warning. It even has a lightning bolt impression on the upper right. Thought I'd share it with you.