Pink Teacups and a Chamois Cleaning Cloth

(c) Adair W. Heitmann

I’m still settling into our new home, still unpacking, creating new spaces, and using old things in new ways.

It continues to be a time of tripping down memory lane and being grateful for the past as well as the present and staying wondrous about how the future may unfold.

Today I celebrate my dear friend and chosen “godmother by love” Kazue Mizumura. I knew Kazue by her Japanese nickname “Baye” which means “baby,” as she was the youngest in her family.

We met when I was fresh out of art school, making my own way in the world as a single woman and professional artist. We shared creativity and independence and feminism and bonded immediately! Over the decades I spent many a dinner over long, deep, heavily-accented conversations filled with raucous laughter at her tiny pink house on the water.

She was an author, illustrator, and jeweler, an artisan par excellence. She gave me copies of her books and she bought some of my artwork. I commissioned her to make jewelry for boyfriends of the time. We supported each other, mostly emotionally. When I was with her, I never felt edited, only loved. We delighted in each other’s company.

She died several years ago. Many years after that, ten years after her death, her partner in life asked me to help her “clean out Baye’s studio.” RU hadn’t set foot in it since Baye died. Over the course of the arduous process RU kept asking me to take something to remember Baye by. I was there to help loved ones not to take anything so I continued to brush off the kind offer. Finally after weeks of helping out I chose to take home some of Baye’s sumi ink painting and calligraphy brushes. They were used and precious to me. Baye held them in her hands as she worked her magic. RU didn’t think that was enough! To me it was. RU insisted I take more. I then chose Baye’s set of pink porcelain tea cups . . . personal and priceless, and one other thing.

Today, getting ready to go celebrate a friend’s birthday I open a drawer to get the old, soft, supple, and previously-used silver polishing cloth I always keep in my bureau to polish my earrings. No one would ever know it was Baye’s. The holes in it were caused by her usage not mine. To me the chamois is a cherished object and of great value.

Being blessed with Baye’s friendship, love, and devotion and experiencing tangible connections to her daily, I never thought to Google her until this morning. Unexpectedly, I found a mother lode. I didn’t know one of her books was read on Sesame Street nor that she had illustrated a book by May Sarton. To me she was “Baye” my chosen godmother by love.

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be open to accepting love and finding your own riches.

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Fruits of Our Labors

Hello! I’ve been away sifting, editing, and packing our household belongings . . . looking for a new place to live . . . finding one . . . moving in . . . and I’m setting up my studio/office today! What do I do the minute I set up my laptop? Sit down and write you. Here’s a place my creativity lies.

We work hard to be where we are in life, the fruits of our labors helped us sell our former beloved home and purchase a new (soon to be cherished) one. The fruits of our labors help pay for our son’s college education and help pay our new mortgage.

What I didn’t expect when we inherited three large raised bed vegetable gardens with our new house was that the previous owners’ labors would feed us for the first several nights of new house ownership. Quickly we learned how to prepare Japanese eggplant and Swiss chard. The heritage tomatoes took no guess-work, they were delicious with fresh mozzarella from a local farmers market and basil from our the garden. We are grateful for their efforts, the rewards we reaped.

I discovered this poet today and think her words sum up the last several months:

Millions of Strawberries

Marcia and I went over the curve,

Eating our way down

Jewels of strawberries we didn’t deserve,

Eating our way down.

Till our hands were sticky, and our lips painted,

And over us the hot day fainted,

And we saw snakes,

And got scratched,

And a lust overcame us for the red unmatched

Small buds of berries,

Till we lay down-

Eating our way down-

And rolled in the berries like two little dogs,

Rolled

In the late gold,

And gnats hummed,

And it was cold,

And home we went, home without a berry,

Painted red and brown,

Eating our way down.

– by Genevieve Taggard

Creativity and wellness message for today: Be grateful for the fruits of all labors, then lie down and have some fun.

 

 

Hope

Shell by Adair Heitmann

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

-Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things

Creativity and wellness message for today: Delight in hidden messages and the blessings of small things.

The Weave of Life: An Ode to Friendship

There is something many of you may not know about me and that is I am private about death and loss. My personal experiences are mine and I honor them and deal with them behind the scenes. This last year has been filled with loss for me. The unexpected, untimely, and multiple deaths of friends, co-workers, and family has sent me reeling at times for shelter under the closest rock. Yet, each day I’ve put one foot in front of the other to carry on. I also know many of you have lost loved ones this past year.

Last week a friend created a casual gathering to remember two close friends who passed away within a few weeks of each other in 2017. During our times of reminiscing and afterwards I realized the profound value the friends who are left standing hold for each other.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
– Henri J.M. Nouwen

Creativity and wellness message for today: Remember the fabric of life holds many strands. When one is lost others remain or are woven anew.

True Gifts of the Season

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.
– Tom Bodett

Creativity and wellness message for today: I’m taking this to heart during this season of returning to the light. How about you?

Sharing Your Stories

Jubilate @ UVA

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. So when stories come to you, you must take good care of them, as well. Learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs your story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put our stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves.
-Barry Lopez

Creativity and wellness message for today: SYS