Sunday, October 11, 2015


“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Henry David Thoreau

On top of Devil's Hill_Peacham Vermont_9.2015
Dearest Readers,

A year and 4 months ago I came to the woodland mountain village of Peacham Vermont to learn something about myself. I had a hunch that living simply within nature could pull back a curtain to a deeper understanding of the universe and my place in it. 

Here’s what I learned that I must do to be alive:
1.     Walk
2.     Paint
3.     Help others
4.     Hug my kids and grandkids

Here’s how I learned I could achieve these four goals:
My thinking place overlooking the mountain forest
1.     Deep silence was a necessary ingredient for my thinking and listening.
2.     Walking and noticing opened me to the wildness.
Two white-tailed deer leaping away along my walk-route_Peacham Vt_10.2015

3.     Trees played a big part in this search for what’s behind what I see.  They seem to be guardians at the visible edge of an invisible, intelligent network that I can sense now, and almost touch. Perhaps this network is God.
The Hall of the Mtn.Maples_Hapenny Rd.Peacham Vt
Becoming a Tree No.1_8.5"x14"_oil on canvas_2014

4.     Painting the idea of “Becoming a Tree” and “Falling Leaves” opened me wider as I created a body of artwork to understand the vastness beyond little me.
Falling Leaves No.3_41"x44"_acrylic and pastel on canvas_2015

5.     Visiting my grown kids and grandkids as much as possible keeps me vital and expands my love.
My daughter Semra and newest granddaughter Charlotte_Brooklyn NY_10.4.2015

Half this year I “hermeted”. By March I was ready to explore my self within my community, and to nurture my third tenet-How Can I Help?
I was asked to volunteer as a rare book researcher at the Historical Society, and to become the third Friday hostess at the Peacham Library Coffee Hour, baking treats and preparing coffee for a gathering of elders and a smattering of young adults who keep the local culture alive just by informal sharing of what’s happening, and what has occurred in this cosmic microcosm.
The Friday Coffee Group at the Peacham Vt Library_April 2015

I picked up highway trash and painted the big swing set at the elementary school. I showed my artwork at the Gilmore Gallery in the library last Fall and  I have a second show of self-portraits on vintage family hankies that opens there tonight.
"Day 41:Feeling Old"_laser print on beaded, quilted and embroidered vintage family hankie
On a practical level I learned from my landlady, Cynther Greene, about what winter clothes to buy, and the need for studded tires for my little urban-designed Scion.
My beautiful  life-saving studded snow tires

Even my dog, Etta James got a bright orange “hunter-visible” pet parka, and naturally sprouted a mat of fur along her underside and between her toes.
Etta James last winter in her hunter-special parka_2014


I am a biological creature…I do not last, but I’ve surprisingly discovered a buried cache of self-confidence. I feel less evaluated in life, and hence my discovery of a risky, creative and kinder me. The walking makes me strong. Art draws me deep. The trees enhance spirituality.  Noticing makes me appreciative. Simplicity un-complicates everything. Wild animals share this earth. My neighbors and new friends expand my cultural awareness. It’s been such a gift to live here.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

This Thursday, October 15, I begin my drive out West to my new home in Portland Oregon.
See you next time on the road!

1 comment:

  1. what a nice "vacation" in the field of being... and now transitioning to another point in the firmament - tom