Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man[kind], the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth. –Menachem Begin
Despite the disappointment and sadness in my heart today, I am dropping in to bring you flowers. If you are a United States citizen, you need to turn away from the television, put down your phone, and spend a moment with the pretty.
About the Image: The featured art is the work of my Love Notes friend, Lori-Anne C. She makes some of the most exquisite sunflower art. You can see more of her beauties here: Envelope Full of Sunflowers and You’re Entitled to You. Like the other two, the piece above was sent in celebration of women. The purple tulip and sunflower are especially special to me, since they’re symbolic of my relationship with my sister (also named Lori Ann), whose favorite flower was the purple tulip.
–Audre Lorde, last lines of poem “New Year’s Day” from A Land Where Other People Live
About the Image: The postcard above was sent to me by my literary twin and Love Notes pal, Bianca. She always sends the perfect cards with notes written in her impeccable handwriting, embellished with cute or sophisticated washi tape and stickers. The card features the artwork of illustrator and graphic artist, Céleste Wallaert. You can find out about the artist and see more of her work by following the link. The women’s stance exude Audre Lorde’s words, “I am deliberate/and afraid/of nothing.”
About Love Notes: Speaking of Love Notes, the final round for this year begins October 11th. You need a happy mail distraction to counteract all the madness we’re experiencing, so click the link and get signed up today: Love Notes.
When I lamented to one of my friends that I do not have time to write [for my blog or anything else] the way I’d like to, she suggested until I regain my footing, that I share “truly wordless posts” on the blog. I’m not sure if I can do completely wordless, but I’ll give her suggestion a try–starting today somewhat.
The last few weeks have been stressful as the troubles of 2020 pile higher and higher. We need a bit of whimsy, sweetness, and light to ease the heaviness. That’s what this yummy postcard from my Love Notes pal, Andrea F, did for me. She sent the “found poetry” card as a “cheerful reminder to enjoy life–almost no matter what.”
I hope you take her advice and treat yourself this week to a cocktail of silly amazement, magical perhaps, fancy, and a hundred gold-fields.
Believe it or not–I actually made a general plan of poems/poets to share on the blog this month. However, I can count on less than one hand the number of times I stuck to the plan. Today, my plan for sharing a longish poem by Nikky Finney transformed to sharing the shortish poem below by George Douglas Johnson (1880?-1966).
Johnson was one of the writers featured in my [so-far-unfinished] Women of the Harlem Renaissance series a couple of years ago. The poem seems fitting for my present circumstance and mood–cooped up in a small space in my home office–cornered by books, research, notes, and creative projects–working feverishly toward freedom from all the demands, ready to fly.
Your World Georgia Douglas Johnson
Your world is as big as you make it.
I know, for I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner,
My wings pressing close to my side.
But I sighted the distant horizon
Where the skyline encircled the sea
And I throbbed with a burning desire
To travel this immensity.
I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze,
Then soared to the uttermost reaches
With rapture, with power, with ease!
About the image: The postcard featured in this post was sent to me a decade ago by a swapper named Noni, an artist who seemingly no longer participates on swap-bot. I don’t know much about the art, but I assume Noni made the postcard. She wrote on the back of the card our beloved Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,”–a poem that doesn’t feel as hopeful as Johnson’s but is nevertheless moving.
One of the items I’m patiently waiting to check off my “bucket list” is a visit to one of those huge sunflower fields that goes on for acres and acres and acres. My guys and I happened upon a small one here in Northern Alabama a couple of summers ago, but I’m looking forward to “losing my mind” in a “goes on forever” field of sunshine. The fields of Tuscany are the dream, but that will take $$$ and careful planning. I learned recently that there’s a sunflower field in Autaugaville, Alabama, just a few hours away, so it is on the summer-to-go list.
Until then, I visit sunflower fields through YouTube videos, photographs, and postcards. I received one such postcard from my Love Notes pal, Trang K, a few months ago. The gorgeous field of sunflowers of Door County, Wisconsin brightened my mailbox and my heart.
A field of sunflowers bloom on a traditional small family farm in northern Door County. The landscape is rich in stunning beauty with orchard lined roads, quaint villages, and miles of picturesque shoreline. Artwork: Derivative work based on an original photograph by Christopher Arndt.
As you can see, Trang “planted” a twinkling tulip in the field and wrote a sweet note with a nod to the memory of my sister Lori, who loved tulips:
Amidst the sunflower fields of your heart, there are always tulips to be found.
Let your spirit glow and dance. Let your soul swoon and soar. Be one with the Sun, flower of your heart.
Isn’t that a beautiful message? It still warms my heart.
Note:Yesterday’s blog post strangely went “missing” for a few hours, so maybe you missed it. If so, click the previous post and check out Lori-Anne C’s stunning sunflower work. Even though the scan isn’t great, you will not regret it. 🙂
“The Gray Wolf,” Endangered Species. Photo by Tom Brakefield for Impact Photographics. Dedicated to the preservation of nature.
I received the “gray wolf” postcard above for Love Notes 29.1. At first, I was so focused on the message that I did not see the rabbit the wolf is pursuing!
I know this is how things work in the animal kingdom, but this is a poor, defenseless bunny! 😩
The first prompt was, “Don’t be afraid to…,” so Kasey, my partner, shared three bits of advice:
Don’t be afraid to:
Step out of your comfort zone. Oh, the possibilities abound! How will you ever know if you don’t try?
Stop and smell the roses. Life is too short to not make the most out of it.
Take the road less traveled. Who knows? It could be the best one you’ve taken yet!
I’m not sure why Kasey chose this card for the prompt, but I’ve come up with an explanation that satisfies my need to have the bunny survive the ordeal.
Maybe, the little rabbit went out into the world to conquer his fears. He “stepped out of his comfort zone” and took “the road less traveled.” He knew there would be dangers and tests along the path, but he “stopped to smell the roses” anyway. That’s what creatures do when they live outside of fear.
You see? This isn’t the end of the rabbit’s story; this is just one part of the journey. The struggle heightens his awareness and pushes him to develop strategies and tools to avoid such pitfalls in the future.
The little rabbit will have a fuller, deeper life because he faced his fears!
As for the wolf…he found something else to snack on. 😉
From postcard back: The Gray Wolf (canislupis) mates for life and lives in packs of family members and relatives. The strongest male is the leader of the pack and all the members help to care for the young.￼ The pack will work together on a hunt by chasing down its victim or driving it to circle back to the waiting pack￼. They can gallop and bound over short distances at speeds of more than 30 mph, and if they cannot capture their prey, they will abandon the attempt.￼
“Starfish and Seashell,” Photo by Catwoman. Postallove.com
“If I had an extra hour every day I would…”
That was one of the topics for “Postcards with Prompts,” a fun swap-bot postcard series I participated in last year.
Swapper Susan sent the beach-themed postcard above with her response:
If I had an extra hour every day, I would go to the beach and walk on the sand and in the water and collect shells. I love the beach and I don’t go there often enough.”
I can certainly use an extra hour each day. I would use it wisely, of course, and take the extra hour to sleep or read for pleasure. From August to May, there’s never enough of either, and I literally dreamof getting sleep and reading something that I don’t have to think about once I turn the last page.
I love the ocean, though, so maybe, I’d simply sit quietly at the beach. I’m certain of one thing–I would not squander my extra hour on work. There’s always too much of that!
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
–Socrates, character in Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman, 1980–
About the Image: My Love Notes pal and literary twin, Bianca, sent the postcard above for International Women’s Day. I admired the postcard on Instagram, but had no idea it was winging its way to me. It fits perfectly with the Words and Art series. The purple, happy naturalista dance for me!
The postcard arrived in pristine condition because Eileen placed it in a bright red envelope and stamped it with a breathtaking Chagall image.
[Enlarged for detail]
I think she was trying to send me over the moon for the holiday season!
The stamp features a small part of one of the nine stained glass windows Marc Chagall (1887-1985) completed for St. Stephan Church in Mainz, Germany. The image depicts Mary cradling Baby Jesus with an angel hovering above them.
Chagall worked on the windows from 1978-1985, completing them shortly before his death. They feature themes common to Christians and Jews and serve as Chagall’s contribution to reconciliation between the two groups.
It’s not what’s under the tree that matters; it’s who’s gathered around it. -A Charlie Brown Christmas-
Today’s Christmas postcards were designed by Liberate Your Art and Love Notes friend, Suzette R. I couldn’t resist sharing her 2017 postcard (bottom) along with her 2018 postcard (top).
The Charlie Brown quote above was hand-stamped on the back of the 2018 card:
The dreamy photos take me back to childhood Christmases with all my sisters and brothers gathered around the tree wondering which packages contain our gifts. Many of us have our own stories of childhood and Christmas, so they’re perfect for a [not-so] #WordlessWednesday.
You can find more of Suzette’s gorgeous photography and other creative work on her blog, Notes from the Road.