The other coast…

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“The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth, it can lie down like silk breathing or toss havoc shoreward; it can give gifts or withhold all; it can rise, ebb, froth like an incoming frenzy of fountains, or it can sweet-talk entirely. As I can too, and so, no doubt, can you, and you.”  ~Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

Time spent on the other coast, the one I was born on but barely know. Here, the air is misty and the waves have their own unique rhythm.  The rocks, the colors, the sand, the rugged terrain…they are wildly alluring and moody…A mystery to discover. And yet, this coastal seascape also has elements that feel completely familiar and known…stunningly beautiful…home.

My first real day there, even without the sun on my skin, I felt the usual flood of joy and peaceful calm wash over me as I watched the water roll in and out while safely standing on sand. Not so, the next morning, when, feeling the jet lag, I woke ridiculously early and ran alone high up along the jagged coastline into the fog. The sea was fierce at 7am. Raging a bit and crashing loudly into exposed rock as the tide fought to roll back in. Misty sea spray on my face, from my safe perch I watched, predictably gleeful at the majesty of it all but notably nervous too, similar to how I often feel when summer storms roll in.  Yet, feeling brave and buoyed by the love around me, I stayed and smiled and I watched in awe and I listened to the sea song, tapping fingertips as my heart kept the beat. Nowhere else on earth that I can hear myself more clearly than when this close to the ocean I so love.

I slowly walked back through wet manicured lawns to the place where my sister and mother were sleeping. My jeans, soaked at the hem. Coastal sand and stones stuck in the tread of my boots. My hair a mass of tangled wet curls. Breathing deeper… Feeling calmer. Feeling sleepy. Feeling it all.

 

 

Journeys

Journeys

Sometimes we don’t even know what we need until we are in the midst of a moment…

That happened to me today.  A slow waking from an uneasy night of sleep… my head has been full lately and those who know me well know the depth of thought I am wading through. Grey clouds above, the sun slow to lighten sky.

Encouraged, like a whisper past my ear, for the first time in weeks I pick up my paintbrush and begin to paint. It feels natural, comforting, familiar. Splashes of color dance across the paper, wet brush dipping in palette pan, dabbing off excess paint, laying down layers. Yes, I know this road. Then, I reach for ink. I add depth and line and detail. Water pooling, tide receding, toes  sinking. Meditative, this moment. I am lost in it.

A special photograph inspires me along…I instinctively know the journey the pen needs to make. It is a beautiful thing to feel and symbolic in more ways than one.

After some time, I notice my heart beat…slowing,  my breathing…regular and relaxed. I recognize a soft smile at lips edge and notice the return of the sun.  In this moment, I feel calm, happy and deeply grateful and I embrace the mystery of the road that lies ahead ~
Original Ink and Watercolor ©Michelle Rummel

Orchid Love

Orchid Love

I spent all of yesterday painting as a foot of snow blanketed the ground. Seems winter is holding on…deep breaths and patience, required. But the silver lining of snowfall is the quality of light that comes along with it… more of that soft, white glow. It’s really lovely to paint by, and so I made the most of my too quiet day, and did.

I have never painted an orchid until now. Curious, as they are my absolute favorite plant…I have three that, when in bloom, provide me with significant personal joy (as well as excellent fodder for my instagram pics;).

Four paintings emerged, each with its own unique style. I think my favorite from the day is the watercolor that flowed from me the fastest… A quick sketch, where my hand was loose, my thoughts, gently free flowing. Not over thinking…rather, just feeling it, trusting in it and allowing myself to be lost in the moment.

Orchids… I am forever drawn to them. Someday, I’ll have a roomful:)

Here, a glimpse…

Original Watercolor ©Michelle Rummel

Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon.

Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon.

“…Loving is a journey with water and with stars,

With smothered air and abrupt storms of flour:

Loving is a clash of lightning-bolts

And two bodies defeated by a single drop of honey…”

~Pablo Neruda, Poem XII, from the book Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon

Neruda’s gorgeous words drip and flow on the page. His poems read like a melody of moments we all know. Very, very beautiful and a lovely way to pass the time during a late summer afternoon.