Sunday, April 30, 2006

A little Blue Magic

Childhood memories reach the deepest into our being and sometimes come out with surprises in our adult lives. One of my oldest memories is watching my Mother and her sister visiting. They'd often sit at a kitchen table laughing and sharing pictures of their lives.

Among the reunion pictures of people taking pictures of each other and all the baby pictures, Aunt Elsie had pictures they called, "bluebell island" of the women and children in their family dressed in casual clothes and holding huge armloads of tiny blue flowers. The pictures were rare, and started in black and white with ruffley edges, and later were in bright color.

They were farmers, and worked hard every day of their lives, but once a year, they'd take the day off and go to bluebell island with a picnic and a play day. I always looked at these relaxed smiling pictures and felt envy that they found such joy is this event that I was never included in.
Over and over, through the years, I tried to start bluebells growing on my little place here in Northern Indiana, but with no luck.

Then, a few years ago on a visit to my cousin who still lives near the old home place in Southern Illinois, I mentioned bluebell island to him. He replied, "you never saw that place?" "I think it's time now, let's go!" We drove for a while, then parked and walked across plowed fields, gently rolling, and rutted from the plow, about a quarter mile, then through a stand of huge, old trees, growing densly together and mossy with age. Finally, we came out onto a bluff, looking down into a misty little valley. A small stream ran through it, (they call it a creek in that part of the country), and had carved out this isolated valley, and in the middle, an island, just covered with bluebells. It looked like a magic place, something that must exist on Never-Never Land. Just amazing, quiet and beautiful. I don't believe I picked a single flower, just wandered around in a daze. No wonder all those pictures looked so happy!

It's such a nice place to think about, and one of those special memories I keep tucked away to return to now and then for peace and joy, to refresh myself.

So, this spring, I was roaming in our own little woods and was so surprised to find this one little bluebell plant, quietly blooming there and waiting to be seen. One of the many I planted, and gave up on when they seemed to die and dissapear. Someday I may have my own little bluebell island, if I'm lucky. In the meantime, I'm so very happy to have found this little spot of blue magic, growing in my very own woods. What a lucky person I am.

Monday, April 10, 2006

We're Home!

We're home! We just got back today from a wonderful 10 day vacation that started with a slow ramble of Indiana, from this spot on Sugar Creek's Turkey Run State Park, south through beautiful parts of the state we hadn't seen before.

How wonderful to have time to just ramble around and see parts of this beautiful state of Indiana. We plopped a futon and sleeping bags in the back of the van for comfy sleeping and spent the days traveling slowly and the nights studying the map to decide tomorrow's directions.

We visited Lincoln's Boyhood home and the inspiring sights there. The rebuilt farm where he grew up was really something to see, and the hills around just beginning to wake with spring's joy.

What an amazing place we live in, and we felt so lucky to have this fime to just roam. Once we crossed the Ohio, we eased into and through Kentucky, with the great crafts at Berea, and great lunch at the historic Boone Tavern, on South through Tennessee, a little touch of Virginia, and Georgia, where we visited Dalonega where America's first Gold Rush occured. Who knew?

We stopped at Cumberland Gap, where so many Easterners started their travels west through those mountains. We camped at national and state parks and had some almost to ourselves. No one else was around when we visitd Wyandotte Caverns and we had a private tour, accompanied only by the friendly guide and the little bats, slumbering upside down in the ceilings.

We ended up at the Brasstown Folk school in North Carolina for a weekend's study for me in Silk painting, while Jim rested up for the long drive home. This next picture shows the view that greeted us each morning as we watched the sun come up over the mountains and drank our first cup of coffee. I'll post a picture tomorrow of the silk scarves we made there. Very pretty.