Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Artful Living: My Gathering Basket.....

Yesterday my gathering basket called as I passed by, "Won't you come and walk with me? The day is fine and the weather fair, together we might find treasures rare."
~Miss Sandy~
Have you ever experienced one of those sun dappled days in which you could not resist the call to commune with nature? In the lull of the day, a little past three, I felt my gathering basket calling to me. I have long had romantic notions about such baskets. I envision a Kate Greenaway character come to life wearing a white lawn dress belted with a wide satin sash, dainty silk slippers upon her feet, and a wide brimmed straw hat framing her delicate face. Resting on the crook of her arm is a gathering basket. She lightly trips through the garden gate into the meadow where the cow slips grow to gather natures treasures. Such imagery provided a backdrop for a little artful living in my day yesterday.

Did you know that the word "gather" can mean, "to look for in nature"? That is often what I do when I stroll about the grounds of Quill Cottage and yesterday was no exception. I like to collect bits of nature to use in art projects or to display in my home. More often than not the items end up staying in the basket for a while, a small contained nature vignette that makes a great centerpiece.

My traditional flower gathering basket looked sort of bland, so I decked her out with some gauzy bows and added a small old bottle in which posies could repose. I considered donning a vintage straw hat but quickly dismissed the notion of that.

A few of my "must haves" when embarking on such an excursion are bits of ribbon, lace, twine, or string, a small scissor, a flower press, and a camera. I tuck my pretty scraps into a little organza drawstring bag. Using a small easy to open clip ring around the handle of my basket, I secure the organza bag and ribbon tied scissor. A homemade flower press rests in the basket.

Meandering past the lily garden I stopped to admire what I call "Lucille Lillie's".
I named them for my grandmother, they came from her garden. I sat on the old tree swing lazily swaying at first, building up to feet pumping flying, remembering the exhilarated feeling from childhood.

I noticed the Purple Grape Hyacinth had gone to seed and left behind beautiful pale husks that rustled in a pleasing sound when I gathered them in a bouquet.
A snippet of ribbon was retrieved from the organza bag and tied loosely around the delicate stems kept them neatly gathered.
Crossing the drive I felt the familiar crunch of gravel under my feet. The sun warmed the back of my head, a ray touching my hair, like a hand resting there in gentle blessing. Stepping into the shade of the woods a breeze ruffled the green canopy above. The distinct smell of earth rose up to greet me, an incense that was warm, rich, and brown. The feathered friends of the forest did not seem to be bothered by my presence. They chirped, tweeted, and twittered in a most pleasing serenade.

A slant of sunlight illumined a weathered tree stump standing at the trail head like an old lined centurion. Muffled footsteps carried me down the hill to the lowest trail. I curved left and the tucked away bench came into view, where I stop to sit quietly. Spying a bed of fern fronds I used the scissor to snip a few and placed them in the flower press. Retracing my steps and veering right I headed back up the hill on the middle trail where I passed a stick sculpture that looked as if it has been artfully arranged on the hillside. It looked woven and deliberate but it was really the mishap of a storm.

Interesting pieces of wood and bits of bark were added to the basket. I noticed that berries were sunbathing on the vine, plumping themselves to ripe juiciness. Nearby were some strange spiked leaves I had never noticed before. Wild flowers waved from the roadside as I emerge from the woods. Picking a few, I placed them in the bottle on my basket handle.

A rock in the road caught my eye, looking as if it has been stamped with an ancient sun symbol, a fossil of some sort. I thought it looked as if it could be the stunning center piece of jewelry made by Nina Bagley. I wondered what her skilled hands would create with it and what story she would attach to it. It just looks so Nina.

A couple of feathers were tied together with a piece of brown string to keep them from fluttering away. A few more odd bits and bobs were add to the mix and the vignette as well as the walk were complete as I arrived back on my doorstep.

To me, artful living is about the application of the senses, sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch. It is awareness and being wholly present in any given moment. You don't have to be artistic to live life artfully. Artful living is about connecting with the joy of being alive, the joy of play, and delighting in your surroundings or in those who people your world. Spending time with people or even by yourself creating meaningful moments is artful living. It is not about the process of creating art in a traditional sense but in creating a celebration for your life. Spending time with your family, preparing a meal, organizing belongings, having fun with your children, or even enjoying a lone walk in the woods are all intricate parts of artful living. By gathering meaningful moments in your basket of life experiences, which result in a beautifully arranged fragrant bouquet that is uniquely you, is artful living at its finest.

Miss Sandy


Catherine Holman said...

It's always such a pleasure to read your beautiful posts! You have such a way with words and applying them to everyday living.

Cindy@Cutepinkstuff said...

Lovely, Miss Sandy! You truly enjoy God's gifts! Thanks for sharing and stopping by my pool side garden!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy,
You are so delightful to read. As life has changed over the years and travel far from home has become very difficult, we find that we are so blessed to enjoy the surroundings that God has graciously provided us with. You seem to have that same appreciation for the beauty around Quill Cottage. Thank you for sharing your walk around the woods and I can't wait to see what wonderful creations you come up with from your treasure hunt.

lorhen82 said...

Miss Sandy, it was a delight to go on this nature walk with you. I feel so tranquil and dreamy right now! That rock you found is so awesome, and the flowers are beautiful! ~Lori

The Feathered Nest said...

Dear sweet Sandy....your posts are so wonderful!!!! This one is no exception ~ such wonderful photographs and words, you are a word artist my friend...thank you!! I feel as if I went on a walk with you ~ xxoo, Dawn

Barbara H. said...

Lovely post! I especially appreciated the last two paragraphs.

Miss Sandra said...

Miss Sandy,
Absolutely lovely. The images are so beautiful and inviting.
I am inspired.
Miss Sandra

Lady Farmer said...

Beautiful, as always! I will rest more peacefully tonight, dreaming of taking a lovely walk in the woodland and gathering treasures there!
A Blessed Evening to you!

Carla said...

Sandy, what a wonderful post! I enjoy gathering nature items on walks as well, but never thought to gather them in such an artful way! In the future I will do so! Your blog is absolutely inspiring. Thanks so much.

bluemuf said...

Miss Sandy, What a wonderful experience spending time with you on your gathering walk. You have the eyes of a true artist.

Hugs karen

Anonymous said...

Lovely walk with you, looks like area is just beautiful no wonder you walk. How peaceful!
Vicki Page

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Miss Sandy ~ What a beautiful walk I had with you tonight! Your way with words and images is exquisite! I am so glad I visit because I am leaving with many happy thoughts! Blessings, Katie

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