Winter rushed in this year, so impatient to dump snow on us that the leaves on the trees had no time to fall before they were frosted. I am always happy when the first snowflakes drift down from the sky. I love looking out the window at first light to see a blanket of white. However, I'm also happy to be inside with a blazing fire in the woodstove. It is this time of year that I like to spin the wool from last spring's shearing of our sheep, Mlle. Pivoine, to organize my studio after months of neglect, to bake bread, and take time to read and paint. Evening brings that very special winter light, tinting everything a golden rose color. This is also the best season for clear views of the snow-covered Pyrenees Mountains in the distance. It's a relaxing time after the summer's activities; but come the winds of March, I bet I will be totally fed-up with winter.
- André and Judith sent photos of the roulottes in their winter places. They have a beautiful view of the chateau ruins and plenty of frosty sunshine.
- This felt Tòti Bleu, created by my daughter Ashlyn, arrived in the mail. It was tucked inside a wonderful book, “The Meadow”.
- Here is my first draft of the interior of Tòti Bleu. André and Judith gave me several very good ideas. For example, the table, when not in use, slides under the big bed, which is high enough to allow for another smaller bed on the side, the bottom half of which is under the big bed. This smaller bed serves as a seat during the day.
- The first pieces of balsa wood arrived today. A tube 2 metres long was brought to the door. I signed for it and impatiently opened it, only to find just these few pieces of wood and a tube of glue. The remainder is back ordered. I plan to build a scale model of Tòti Bleu, complete with interior furnishings and exterior decoration. I'm hoping someone who is clever with polymer clay will create 2 Fjord horses to pull it. When I was young, my gifts at Christmas were always dolls and fancy clothes. But what I loved most was building model airplanes; in those days, the kits were of balsa wood–a long time ago. Although a challenge, this exercise will give me an idea of how to build Tòti Bleu in reality.
- I found this interior view of a roulotte on the internet. The colors are full of joy. I find it inspiring!
- I recommend to all of you the documentary film, DAKOTA 38; you can find it at http://smoothfeather.com/dakota 38/. It follows a large group of Dakota Indians from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, on their 330-mile ride to Mankato, Minnesota, in 2012. They ride through extreme cold and blizzards to arrive on the 150th anniversary at the site of the largest mass execution in American history: On December 26, 1862, 38 Indians were hung by order of President Lincoln. Those involved in this 'remembrance' approach their days on the ride as a time of forgiveness and healing. In the film, the participants speak of the healing power of the horse: The two front legs represent the west and the north. The two back legs represent the east and the south. The head and ears point above and the tail points to Mother Earth. The horse creates a sacred center for the rider and for their intention. This idea nourishes the great respect that I have for the horse; when we ride a horse, we are suddenly part of that sacred center.
2013 is nearly over. I have lost a very dear and wonderful friend this past year, and there are other friends fighting for the llives they love. The news is often grim. At the same time, many people are working to improve our environment, our food stream, the blessedness of nature, and the gift of the planet's wildlife. More and more people than ever are contributing innovative ways to protect our commons. I live in a peaceful corner of the world; I am healthy and surrounded by love and caring people. I know I am blessed and I give thanks every day of my life. This project, at its core, is my contribution to these issues.