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February 2012

January 2012

The palette of winter

First snow 4

It's the first snow of the season. Tilly and I woke up to a world that's been dusted with icing sugar.

First snow 3

Admittedly it's not much of a snow, not compared to the storms of last January....

Bench in snow copy

...but this lighter touch of snow has a magic of its own, painting the landscape with a whole new palette of colors: of snow gleam and shadow, silver and ash,  subtle greens and ochres and reds and blue-greys, composed into quiet beauty.

First snow

Tilly loves it, of course. And so do I. It won't last long, and that makes it more precious...

I copy

...much like life itself. A reminder this morning, from old, wise Mama Nature, to treasure it all while we're here.

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today's tunes are from North Carolina's The Avett Brothers, who've been on the CD player in my studio quite a lot lately. I just can't get enough of their bluegrass-flavored harmonies, backed up by Scott Avett's piano and banjo and Joe Kwon's gorgeous cello. When the sun sets behind the Devon hills outside the studio windows, I turn up the volume and lose myself in their music, and on tough days that helps.

Above: a live version of "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise."

Below: "I and Love and You," performed on NovaFM radio.

In Memorium

Thomas Hine

"I want my life to be a good strong one - not strong like a Mr. Universe, but like a good strong cup of tea, full of flavour." - Thomas Samoht Hine

This post is in tribute to my friend and down-the-street neighbour Thomas Hine, who many in the Mythic Arts community will know from his West-Country Folklore group and blog. Thomas passed away on Wednesday morning, at much too young an age. My heart goes out to his wife (painter/poet Lunar Hine), their young daughter, his beloved aunt and extended family...and to everyone in his wide, wide circle of friends here in our village, and far beyond.

In addition to his work as a folklore scholar and blogger, Thomas had trained as an archaeologist, and was also an artist, fiddle player, and organic gardener who loved all things mythical, magical, hand-crafted, and home-grown. That's Thomas above, arranging an exhibition of his artwork at the Courtyard Cafe here in Chagford ... and below on fiddle, making music with Jason Hancox, Steve Dooley, Rima Staines, and Howard at an Equinox bonfire last spring.

I knew that Thomas had heart problems, but he was so full of life and joy that it was easy to forget this about him -- so when the ambulance came speeding onto our road I feared for the health of various elderly neighbours, never dreaming that we were losing our Thomas. It seems just a blink of an eye ago that Howard, Victoria, and I were dancing at Lunar and Thomas' wedding. Yesterday we gathered again, this time for our friend's burial procession, celebrating his life with music, art, pagan prayers and folk pageantry. Thomas believed in the magic of myth and the land, and now he is part of that magic.

I wish he had had many more decades of time to make his mark on the Mythic Arts field ... but his life was indeed a strong one, just as he'd wished, full of flavour, full of art, and full of people who loved him.

He will be missed. And he will be remembered.

Musicians at Spring Equionox bonfire 2011

Edited to add: Rima Staines has written a beautiful post about Thomas, and his very folkloric funeral, here: "The elf with the upside-down heart."

May Day Bonfire photograph by Thomas Hine 2011

Morning prayer

Tilly in the winter woods

“I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.” ― Saul Bellow

Grant me stillness today. Attentiveness. And, most of all, a creative focus that is quiet, patient, and rooted in these beloved matter where life's storms may take me.

On learning to bounce

Tilly beside the fairy spring, winter 2012

"Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce. "  - Vivian Komori

We've had a setback regarding the Big Life Stuff we've been dealing with, so I'm afraid my blog posts will be sporadic (rather than daily) for a bit, while we digest the news and figure out the best way to go forward. I truly appreciate all the support and prayers we've been sent from so many directions.

I also appreciate all the fabulous responses to yesterday's post ("On motivation")...and look forward to continuing that conversation.

The animal guide beside the path

The Magick4Terri auction site has officially closed now, with a very beautiful final post by auction organizers Mia Nutick and Liz Loveday -- featuring another lovely video by David Shane Odom, with music by the Bone Poets Orchestra.

My heart is full to the brim with the magick all these folks have created, along with the auction's creator & fairy godmother Ellen Kushner, and contributions by so many of you in the international Mythic Arts community. My family and I still have a difficult path ahead despite the enormous pile of  "Tilly bones" collected -- but those bones are giving us the resources to travel the pathway to its end, with expert guidance along the way; and for that we are so very grateful. The power of Community never ceases to amaze me.

Tilly's very big boneTilly and her Very Big Bone



A question today: What gets you to your writing desk or drawing board or rehearsal room or where ever else it is that you create your art? I don't mean on those magical days when everything is flowing so well that a herd of elephants couldn't keep you away...but on all the rest. What gets you into the studio, what overcomes distraction and procrastination, what helps you to put brush to canvas and pencil to page -- even on those days when you're tired, or stale, or fearful, or worried about a dozen other things?

"For me," says Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes), "it's been liberating to put myself in the mind of a fictitious six year-old each day, and rediscover my own curiosity. I've been amazed at how one idea leads to others if I allow my mind to play and wander." 

And for you....?

Tune for a Monday Morning

To start off the week with a bit of pure magic: "Bubble" by King Creosote & John Hopkins, from their CD Diamond Mine, with an animation directed by Elliot Dear @ Binklink. (I'm grateful to Julia for recommending it in last week's comments.) In some areas of viewing, this video comes with an ad you have to skip through ('sorry about that), but I promise it's worth it. It's a beautiful song, a beautiful animation...and I love the black Tilly dog....