Thursday 14 May 2009

The Greening and The Keening

THERE IS A LADDER that climbs up the side of our wheeled home and takes the daring up to the roof where a roof-rack has appeared, all edged in branches from the woods. If you sit up there, high above the goings-on below, ruffled by the chilly winds, you can see treetops and further, and smell woodsmoke from the battered chimney behind you. Up there you can imagine things a little way off, you can look in one direction and imagine what folks are doing over there underneath their roofs, and in another direction to imagine what you might do next. If your vision could fly past the opaqueness of things, you could leap off the rooftop and follow your long-held dreams to a place just over there where they are real.

We have been loving our days here in this beautiful green and windy May. We have worked and pottered and looked and walked and touted our wares. We have talked and been silent, we have looked at insects and met friends. We have planned and sighed and drunk coffee and sat by rivers. It struck me today how happy I am, as I sat outside our back door painting and a weevil with a luminous back crawled over my knuckles. Our days are our days and that makes us smile. We are mostly down to our last £20 but it never seems to matter. Somehow something comes along at the last minute and we sell only the things we create, never the minutes of our lives.

Springtime is wonderful. There are green things birthing themselves all over the place, somehow all hearing that sap-murmur that says 'now's the time'.
We walked down the path alongside the river yesterday and saw life and death. We scrambled through fields yellowed with buttercups, where delicate calf ankles crept amongst the yellow. Growth was in everything. By the water, hidden in the tallnesses of grasses a white swan treasured her nest. And yet by the roadside, a baby deer lay, flung aside by the car bonnet of somebody in a rush, eyes already fly food.

Sitting on the roof again you wonder why someone might have been in such a rush that they did not see the shy trembling thing emerge from the trees. Perhaps they had to get to work. Perhaps they had to get to work to earn money (or rather so that some numbers changed on a computer screen somewhere apparently equaling wealth). Perhaps that money paid for a large house and for materialistic kudos in its myriad forms. But that rushing person did not spend very much time in that large house because they were too busy rushing to a job that made them grey to earn the money to pay for it. And what wealth is that? That you sell your one given life to someone else so that the very life force that keens in you, that makes these daisies turn to the sun, is put on pause until some other time in the future, that never quite arrives.

On Saturdays we have been pushing our excellent old lady shopping trolleys full of pictures through the barley fields to the place where the rather infrequent bus stops, and travelling into Colchester town where we have tried to sell our wares. A new town is always exciting. These are people we've never seen before, nor have they seen us. The first time we tried, we were circled by fat yellow-vested council bouncer types who worked for one of the private companies who seem to have bought sections of the town. Not one of them was brave enough to approach us, but they phoned another company "Street Care" who sent a nervous young chap, newly in the job, to move us. Our usual chat ensued... we had set up outside a boarded up shop, and were bothering noone, except it seemed those who did not want us there. He was kind, but we told him we would not go. And so the police came. And of course unless we want to spend an afternoon arrested and then released chargeless, we have to move for them. These though, were possibly the nicest police we've come across and one of them wanted to (but couldn't) buy a picture. So that day we packed up early and stumbled upon a delightful Clock Museum in a timberframe building which we explored instead. As it turned out the policeman visited us with his wife some days later at our farmland parkup and bought a picture after all.
We got away with it the following Saturday by trying another spot, and hoped the same would occur this week.. but it was not to be. Our day was started by a beggar launching fury at us for saying hello, and our mood continued in a sort of "readiness for battle" as various lurching heroin addicts slurred abuse at us and eventually the same nervous council man from a fortnight before brought with him a council colleague and an army of 2 policeman to move us.
However on that day a chance encounter with a face I had seen in blogland brightened things enormously. We were delighted to meet the Snippety Giblets family and go to theirs for tea after the grand turfing-out. And then a few days later they visited us here and we are happy to say that such friends, intelligent minds and good hearts we are glad indeed to meet.

So here we are almost ready for our next chapter. We'll be happy for the next horizon, and for the feeling you get as your house pulls away, but the leaving will be sad because Sarah and her clan have become good friends and so has the land here. For their stretched out hand of kindness and their hospitality and help and lifts to galleries and address lendings and freshly laid eggs and friendship we thank them. We shall be back again next time round.

The next exciting thing to tell you is that we'll be taking our house and wares to the Weird And Wonderful Wood fair near Stowmarket this weekend. Hopefully unless we are caught in a deluge, I'll be hanging pictures from the side of the truck, and also showing originals (i.e. all my work from the exhibition, minus one - Hark Hark - which very excitingly sold!). If the rains do come, then it'll be a weekend of huddling inside with the kettle on and delighting in the woodturning, musical instrument making, basket making, tree climbing and other spontaneous happenings that are to be found there!

And I have been busy making a sign in a wonky reclaimed-wood-worn-out-folk-art style that will stand outside the truck at the fair and will attach to the back while we go along, so that interested people in traffic jams can find out what it is that we do in here!

So til soon, I wish you all the greenness of May in your hopes and dreams and delight beyond measure in the things that you do.


Judith said...

Oh, small worlds indeed-I will also be at the weird and wonderful world of wood on Saturday, weather permitting. I shall look out for the Hermitagemobile.

Unknown said...

Lucky you to be able to spend time with the wonderful Snippetygiblet family.
what a wonderful chance encounter

Anonymous said...

Earlier in the year I was amazed when one of my lecturers told us that in the UK there are 40,000-50,000 road traffic accidents involving deer. And it's not just deer that suffer from speeding or inattentive drivers. Such a real pity. But take heart! There are kind people out there too - last week my parents told me of a stranger who'd rescued a clutch of mallard ducklings from the side of a busy road after their mother had been killed.

I'm glad that the policeman got the painting he wanted in the end :)

All the best.

Anna-Mari said...

These words of yours: "we sell only the things we create, never the minutes of our lives." made me goosebumps. It gave me such happyness to realize that is what I do to!

yoborobo said...

I spent my day sewing, and looking out my window - where there are deer aplenty nibbling the wild roses. Too much of life flies by us. Thank you for reminding me to slow down. :)

Heather said...

You are living every moment of your life - what wonderful memories you will be able to look back on. Thankyou for another beautiful post with beautiful pictures. Hope the weather is kind to you this weekend and that more pictures are sold. Glad you met a kind policeman - they get a bad press sometimes - my son is a good one.

Shell said...

I love reading about your adventures. It makes me happy to hear about people truly living their lives and dedicated to their art. And the Weird Wonderful Wood festival sounds just like my cop of tea. Have a beautiful day, my friend.

Amanda said...

Hi Rima! I wish I lived in the UK, I would gladly be your host! How wonderful that you are able to run into friends in person that you have made online.

I really loved what you wrote about selling away minutes in your life, it really made me think. And it made my day. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Oh how weird and wonderful wood is indeed! It sounds an enchanting weekend. The beauty of wood in all its forms never ceases to delight me, just as you say you will be delighting in it also.

That 500 mile round trip to suffolk doesn't seem so far when I zoom out on Google Earth....

Not just owning your days, but LIVING them too, "the very life force that keens in you..." As you share it here, it showers its seeds, multiplying and inspiring. True beauty is found at The Hermitage...

Vinara said...

Hello :),
Oh wow you were in Colchester :D, I've just moved to the outskirts of the town all the way from Devon. I wish I'd been able to come and see you :). That's such a shame you had some trouble there. I've only been into the town once since arriving so I don't know it too well (will keep an eye out for the clock museum).
Hope you have a good weekend at the wood fair :)

Sarah said...

Hi Rima,
I loved reading about your latest life happenings and hope one day to be stuck in a traffic jam behind you-I will follow you until you set up shop and buy one of your lovely paintings. Also -that roof rack is fantastic!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

As always, it is wonderful to hear of your travels and adventures, Rima. I wish you much success in the upcoming fair, and many more happy green days ahead!! I think it's delightful that the policeman brought his family round to purchase a painting!! Well done!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. We do spend too much time rushing from place to place. That poor deer, we had a little herd of wild deer that used to cross the fields where Pippa lives, but people use the lane as a rat run for work, and it was so sad when the group ended up as one through impatient motorists. I hope you find a great new place to stay, its a shame I'm too far from Suffolk, but if you ever head north......

d. moll, said...

Goodness, you rate a policeman a piece! The Faire looks like a good fit, I'll see what I can do to get you sunny skies. Hugs to both from me and rabbits too.

Yoli said...

I am so in love with your little home and really everything you do. You are pure magic.

Anonymous said...

Reading of you sitting on your roof made me think of a Chagall painting.
Your footprint on the world is, indeed, light.
Go safely, Rima.

Shelley Noble said...

I send paragraphs of your posts to my good husband at work and we marvel at and love your way with words, Rima.

Such a gift you have with speaking.

And such a lot of beauty and ugliness of life you are facing each day, with grace and gifts.

A.Smith said...

Ah, the merry, merry month of May that brings flowers and nettles and people who are in a rush to go perhaps to nowhere fast and who remind me of what Emile Henry Gauvreau once said:

"I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest to make money they don't want to buy things they don't need to impress people they dislike."

Well, here is to us. Who think that life is far too brief to waste it anyway. Some times I wonder if less sleep...never mind. I am delighted that your journey - in spite of boors that do not understand that there is not such a thing as second class citizens and one and all have the right to be where they may be at the time as long they do no harm to people or place - is taking you to explore all territories, inside and out, here and yonder.

May the gentle breezes of June take your Hermitage home to even greener pastures and may the top of the world continue to be the one reached by your forestry ladder.


Sarah said...

The pleasure has been all mine, I shall miss you!

Anonymous said...

I wish you all the best for the Wood Fair Rima - I've linked to you on my post to promote your wonderful work-hope that's O.K. I love everything you create.

Jess said...

That's a really good idea writing a sign for the back of the van. Your writing is lovely!x

Anonymous said...

"we sell only the things we create, never the minutes of our lives." A fine difference and very condescending... Those of us who "sell the minutes of our lives" also sell what we create altho it may not be "art". I create useful things that you may well need and use.

"But that rushing person did not spend very much time in that large house because they were too busy rushing to a job that made them grey to earn the money to pay for it." Altho I feel sorry for the victims of rushing traffic and harried lives, you know nothing about how this accident happened.
It is all well and fine for you to to condemn people for living harried lives, but then do not be surprised when they condemn you for living the way you do.


Alice said...

Hi Rima, What a truly beautiful post. So much of what you say, I feel and understand. I have been a bit rubbish at updating my blog of late because we have been delayed due to a tooth infection (and pending yucky work that needs doing). But our days in preparation are spent reading, writing and pondering in Elvis (we have now moved in on parents-in-law's drive!) and just to step back from the life that so many lead is lovely. This is our second year heading off on our wheels, but this time is much more of a 'step back' with little internet access and true time to enjoy, walk and write. I'm particularly excited this time and reading your post just made me feel so content about our journey. All the best and I will drop in again as soon as I am able x

pRiyA said...

there are so many different moods and emotions that this post conjures up.
what a wide and varied world you live in rima. what a lot of adventures and happenings!

Katie said...

You share so much of my outlook on life - a half hour is worth so much more than a thousand gold coins.

It almost seems like that deer was meant to be seen lieing so sadly there to remind all of us of this neglect of something soft and slow and gentle in us that has been lost.
What our busy drive to do and have and take does to living things and to ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Hia Rima, good luck with the Weird and Wonderful Wood fair. I hope your wares sell well. Well done for selling Hark Hark.

The buttercup field looks so beautiful and lush.

Maybe we'll meet if you are ever up this way. :-)

ginaroth said...

I follow and read your blog everyday, but today it spoke to me. You make so much sense it your thoughtful words. I'm going to share it, it's that wonderful and clear and true. Thank you.
Peace, Gina

tlchang said...

Life is richer when we are able to more fully 'present' - which you seem to be able to embody with your current, in many ways enviable, lifestyle.

I admire you two, and the work, and the *living* you do.

Deirdra Doan said...

You have such a magical blog!!! I am the great trying to illustrated a little elf book I wrote and it is very hard for me...but I have to finish as my little Nikki Nissa...needs me to...once I got off a plan in Sweden...took a bus...drug my suitcases up many steps...just to see real Carl Larsson was so worth it...His work is amazing.

My husband and I love the UK...we have journied around making music...a celtic pilgrimage... and and video's and art...I lived in Suffolk for 3 years at a child to a young woman.

Now I am making dolls and a puppet too...I am so happy to find you...came from Suzi Blu page.
Your home reminds me of looking out and seeing a little gypsy wagon in a field when I was a child in England.
Blessings on your most beautiful art!!!!!

Carolee said...

"We sell only the things we create, never the minutes of our lives"....

I think that's what I love best about doing art for a living. Reminds me of the John Gorka song "Land of the Bottom Line"...

"Give me time to wonder and to dream"...

~ Carolee

Ben Hatke said...

Your home seems to become more and more beautiful with each improvement. Bravo.

Threadspider said...

Lovely to meet you on Saturday, Rima. Hope to see you at other weekend events.

Jo James said...

Oh, I wanna go to The Weird and Wonderful Wood! Blast this silly ocean between me and it.
Love your words. Hope that naysayer's words fall off your back like water off a duck.

marie said...

I love your post...they are so beautiful and honest! I have lived a life where always what I have needed was provided even when from an "outside perspective" it might appear hopeless...just what I need is given. It is never more apparent then when you get up and go...peace to you.

Lisa K said...

I only recently found your blog and I just wanted to say that you give me a magical reprieve from my everyday life. I think there is a part of us that ALL want to live your life:) What a beautiful life you live.

Felina said...

"we sell only the things we create, never the minutes of our lives..."

this uncomplicated expression nealry wrung a tear from my eye as I sit at my computer behind a bank teller window. :/ Do I have the courage to pray for heaven to force me from my current situation and into the life I SO long to lead?....

Thanks for the reminder, friend.

Carl V. Anderson said...

"It struck me today how happy I am, as I sat outside our back door painting and a weevil with a luminous back crawled over my knuckles. Our days are our days and that makes us smile."

Reading that makes me happy for you too!

It is sad when any animals end up as road kill, but from experience more often than not it has little to do with the driver and everything to do with the animal. I've unfortunately killed lovely creatures in my 20+ years of driving but have managed to avoid many more. Animals, especially deer and squirrels, seem to be nothing if not suicidal when it comes to jumping/running out in front of cars. I don't understand it. Why something loud and noisy heading their way doesn't make them turn away and instead spooks them into going towards the vehicle is certainly beyond my understanding. It really is sad. Squirrels are the worst, because they usually run out and then, when they are actually out of danger, spin around and head back the way they came, making it doubly hard to avoid them. I am so grateful that people don't tailgate too bad on my city streets, as I would have been rear-ended many a time thanks to trying to avoid squirrel massacres.

BT said...

Hello Rima, I had lost you! How tragic. I've just made a concerted effort through google and - hooray - you are found again. I missed your blog so much. I cannot believe that you were in Stowmarket on Saturday 16th May - I was at my son's which is near Bury St Edmunds so could have visited you. Alas, it's too late now.

I would still like a clock if you're making them??? Our new extension is progressing in a very Irish tortoise like fashion, but when it's finished, I'd like to put your clock on my 'sun room' wall. I have so much to catch up on. I love your photos and your life. Do keep in touch Rima.

sea sprite said...

Hi Rima. I've just found your blog via someone else's. It really is a breath of fresh air and a joy to read. I will definitely be visiting again. x

Anonymous said...

Hello Rima. I am a writer from Sydney, Australia and have been reading your wonderful blog for a while now.

When you mentioned the poor deer I couldn't stop thinking about it - it saddened me so much - and I wrote a story about it. As a result I have linked to this post. I hope you don't mind.

Best wishes.

Anne said...

Hello Rima--I was just coming here to say not to be too hasty judging the people who hit that young deer (and I see Carl beat me to it); in my part of the world deer seem to outnumber people about 2:1, and you can't believe how quickly they appear and dart in front of you--you'd think they were flying, and sometimes, there just is no time to stop. And sometimes, sadly, people die as well, as a result of these collisions. And no one ever wants that kind of encounter, trust me.

al hayball said...

Rima, Have you thought about converting your blog including all your brilliant wordiness and art into a book?!
I'm sure it would be a winner.,..I mean look at the following you have got on line alone? I'm sure a publisher would be interested.
(Also something silly: I'm always saying to 'solsticedreamer' blogging friend, that you have a fascinating name but for some reason substitute 'Rima Staines' for 'enola gay' by OMD when singing it around the house- yes bonkers and totally innappropriate!)
keep up the good work. al

the dafthermits (Mel n andy and wee clan) said...

Hi You two

just popping bye quickly as i am off to the river for a swim

the wagon is looking amazing

we are parked up near Ullapool now and the local bobbie has guided us to our next parkup for the summer months

take care both and you are always in our nomadic wandering thoughts xx

moonandhare said...

Looks like a lovely fair--wish I could attend! Best of luck at it.

Barry said...

I was taken by the same line as Carolee! That was brilliantly said.

Rima Staines said...

I would like to thank all the lovely people who read this blog for your kind words and encouragements, and for getting the point I was trying to make here. And I would also like to respond to a few possible misunderstandings I may have caused in this post, and especially to the anonymous commenter who I think felt judged by my words.
As intelligent readers will realise, I am not so naive as to think that all the world's ills can be remedied by living a travelling (or any other alternative) life. Nor do I think (or say) that such and such a way of life directly causes animals to be hit by cars.
I know that these accidents happen very often, indeed animals run in front of us too.. it sadly can't be helped. What I wrote was a reflection of what I think of how things are in the world these days. I write in a metaphorical wondering way. The dead deer makes us think. That is all. I do not claim to have any answers, nor would I tell anyone else how to live their lives. All I offer is the view from where I am.
It is interesting that this anonymous commenter feels strongly enough to write some biting words, but not make known who they are. If they feel judged by my words then they have not understood my point. I'm not trying to imagine some flimsy utopia where everyone paints pictures all day.
I do however believe very strongly that we should all love the thing that we do every day of our lives. Why be unhappy in your job? If you feel that your "job" is creating something and you are happy in it, then I do not judge or criticize you. If you have chosen your occupation, then your minutes have not been sold. I just despair for folk who think they are trapped in an unhappy situation and feel powerless to change things. We are all responsible for our own lives and happiness. We need to listen to our real selves more attentively. That's all I'm saying. Think for yourselves.
Apologies if this post came across wrongly to anyone. I'm quite sensitive and felt upset by that comment.
But I was also very touched by those who were touched.
All the best to you all :)

the dafthermits (Mel n andy and wee clan) said...

Hi Rima

I was so sad to read this my friend

but please don't take it in

you and Tui are two of the most genuine kind people i have ever met

and i know that i would rather be in this world surrounded by people lie you and the many many kind people that visit the Hermitage

Take care my friends and lots and lots of love and hugs

andy The Dafthermit

live life xxx

Koldo Barroso said...

These kind of negative comments are part of having a wonderful blog and quite a lot of readers & followers. It goes all in the same package Rima. Real life it's the same.

Don't focus on that, focus in the positive ones. You know in your heart who you are and everyone who are in tune with you we can feel it.

Tess said...

Rima, you know I love your blog and your work. The way you live is itself creative, and if you make people think - and sometimes react against what you say - then perhaps that's a good thing. The making people think part, I mean!! Blessings to you.

Anne Michelle Johal said...

reading your blog and reading the anonymous comment;
I am reminded that a vulnerable experience that shakes, angers and pains, such as seeing death in all it's forms, human and animal, offers an opportunity to show the immediateness of a personally felt and seen experience, and which I believe you do so well in your wonderfully respectful descriptions of the countryside, fairs and your artwork. I understand this sharing then permits the walking along side of another in the journey without an exclusion of another's life experience.
Thank you for such an interesting question on Twitter.

Cat (darklingwoods) said...

I've read your blog enough to understand your meaning dear, you are anything but judgmental. Rima I think your lifestyle does evoke envy in some for your courage and creativity and freedom. I find you an inspiration :)
I several of my friends are bemoaning their money hyper driven lifestyle, and wondering whose life they are living. You are so right that we have to stay in touch and true with who we are.

Wishing you bright blessings!


Ruthie Redden said...

beautiful words Rima, it is about taking time, noticing the precious things, to me that is truly living! the second verse of this poem speaks volumes to me

WORK (D.H.Lawrence)

There is no point in work
unless it absorbs you
like an absorbing game.
If it doesn’t absorb you
if it’s never any fun,
don’t do it.

When a man goes out into his work
he is alive like a tree in spring,
he is living, not merely working.

i know it is not possible for us all to really live this way, but the idea behind it is truly wonderful.

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Dear Rima,
I have just now found your blog and have become lost in your words and art. How lovely, simple and peaceful. The words on the shy deer that lay dead upon the side of the road, spoke loudly and clearly. Things I have felt for many years. So true these trappings of a job for things we can never enjoy. So stupid.
I look forward to visiting with you and sharing in your journeys. Your art is beautiful as is your words as are you.
bunny hugs,

Mrs Mac said...

A fellow blogger kindly directed me to your lovely blog today, knowing that I live in Colchester. I am very sorry that we weren't more hospitable to you in the town. If I see you I will say hello :) I've been in that clock museum too; isn't it lovely and peaceful in there?

So sad about the wee deer. I don't drive and this is partly why- I think I would be so devastated if I hit something.