Thursday, January 1, 2015

A YEAR IN THE WOODS: The Experiment Continues

Sunrise from my upstairs window–January 1, 2015, Peacham, Vermont

Dearest Readers,

A year ago I asked myself what my life would look like if I had only a year to live.
My answer: A. Become a monk, and B. Strive to embody the virtues of Poverty (Charity), Simplicity (Gentleness) and Honesty (Trusting my self). I’m still unraveling these.
My contemplative, uncluttered and creative living experiment in a furnished apartment in the North East Kingdom of Vermont has been the result. 
The Place for Seeing and Listening with Etta's Ottoman
Etta's view of the field and woods
The view from the Place for Seeing and Listening, Peacham Vermont
I spend a part of each day looking out my upstairs window thinking and watching the clouds slide across the sky and the snows fall. I notice the sounds of crows, chickadees, and wind in the pines, and sometimes the smell of balsam and earth when the window is open on warmer days.  The silence of winter is a dense presence rather than an emptiness. I have the sensation of feeling the quiet like a felted blanket. There's weight and volume to it. The continual snowfalls and the shortness of daylight lend an existential other-worldliness to my view. The mountains, streams, and trees endure. Outside I walk slowly among them and am dwarfed by their majesty.
My painting studio in Peacham
A part of each day I create. My studio is a nice, comfortable mess. It’s a thrilling jumble of artworks, experiments and supplies.  Right now I’m working on my Becoming a Tree series of small oil paintings. Here is the latest, inspired by a fallen maple trunk that I lay down upon last Fall.
Pod Nestled on a Downed Maple Tree-14"x8.5"-Oil on canvas
So…Here I go again. My spiritual path continues for another year, only this time I’ll be sending out some tendrils of connection to the community. I have a solo show of my hankie self-portraits at SPA gallery this winter in nearby Barre, Vermont. I hope to blog for the Shambhala Meditation Center of St. Johnsbury, and I’ve expressed interest in working with kids at Peacham Elementary in the after-school programs of art, and creative field trips. The trick is to keep my involvement simple.

Practicing walking, thinking, painting and noticing gives me quiet hope for 2015.
"19-Feeling Hopeful"-8.5"x8.75"-laser print, glass beads and quilting on vintage cotton family hankie


  1. Love your poetic life, Cecelia. Happy New Year to you and to dear Etta! :-) I look forward to hearing more about your evolution as a woman and artist. warm wishes, madison

  2. Happy New year to you, Madison. I definitely will be writing about this creative journey during the year.