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We’re having a protracted winter here in the UK. This has been the coldest March since 1963 and one of the coldest winters since records began. Apparently, many of our Spring visitors haven’t arrived or blossomed yet. A lack of certain insects will have a knock on effect on the animals and birds that feed on them. Some people are worrying. Is this due to global warming, the beginning of the end? I don’t know. I do know that I have faith in nature and the seasons. Spring will arrive, it’s just a bit late in coming this year.
Many human UK residents are flocking in record numbers to warmer climes for an Easter holiday. But some of us regulars have been toughing it out. On this Easter Sunday, a jackdaw couple was out beneath grey skies. But, look! A ray of sunlight is coming through.
A week ago, we went for a walk on the south side of the River Teign at Step’s Bridge, about four miles from home. I love this spot where a fall of water from the rim of the Teign Valley finds level ground and flows for about 50 yards before joining the river. It feels fresh and alive. Wild daffodils and wild garlic grow at the edges of the running water. This stream flowing into a larger river is called a tributary. I thought about the meaning of ‘paying tribute’ - making a gift in acknowledgment, gratitude, or admiration. This little stream feels like my everyday and ongoing actions, dreams and goals which stream into my ‘big l’ Life, the ‘reason why I am here’ Life. It feels important and good to remember and acknowledge this from time to time.
I felt renewed just standing there and feeling the energy flow all around and through me. It is Springtime and new life is returning. We are all flowing into and with the great river of life. I hope that you are celebrating the resurgence and renewal of Springtime in both your little life and your big Life.
I’ve been a keen studier of rivers all of my life. Ever since I was a kid, my favourite natural setting has been the woods with a stream running through it. Maybe this predilection harkens back to my Muscogee ancestors, who made their towns and settlements along the waterways of the South Eastern part of North America. The first European settlers called my people Creeks, because of where they lived.
There are places on a river where the water runs shallow and flat and wide.
You can squat at the edge or wade out ankle deep and sift through the river smoothed stones and slate, river washed driftwood and twigs, and sometimes broken pieces of discarded pottery.
I found my cleaved pieces of slate in a river middens.
The very ones I used in our wedding quilt, Cleaved.
Sometimes I find fragments of pottery.
I put a river middens into my River of Dreams. After all, we can collect the river washed fragments our dreams bring us and put them into our pocket and carry them into our waking world, to finger and mull over.
I got my collection of river treasures out, including a paper coaster and napkin with the Blue Willow pattern on them.
My mother had sent a set of these to her sister Ruth sometime ago. When I visited my Aunt Ruth in 2002, she gave them to me and said they were too pretty to use, so she’d kept them all these years! I scanned and printed them onto cotton organdy, so I could use them in my River of Dreams quilt.
I screened some of our handwritten love letters to one another onto some of the grey silk to make the slate stones of ‘cleaved’ and cut out some other silk pieces of slate.
Then arranged them into a pleasing pattern.
When I felt happy with my middens, I fused the pieces of fabric to my river.
I mixed some silver and black fabric paint and stippled in some texture around the stones and slate. Then I pinned blue tulle on top of everything and stitched around the pieces and the edges of the tulle, trimming the raw edges when I’d finished.
I like the slightly rough and textured surface of the tulle and once I’d stitched some long flowing currents of metallic blue thread onto the surface, it looks as though you could reach right into the water to collect the treasures there.