Thursday, January 6, 2011

racing to dawn--the search for the promised land

OK--this morning there is just a hint of light in the sky. I am sitting by the woodstove with my three cats lounging at my feet. I am reading my e-mail, drinking my coffee, feeling very snug and warm. But I keep glancing out the window. Already there are just a few wonderful colors in the sky. I look at the clock and--yes I can still  hike to the top of nearby Helicopter Hill and watch the sun rise. It's a lovely journey--just the right length. Through the woods--up to that grapevine--now down--watch out for the rock. I know it well. It used to be easy--I had done it so many times I had worn a path--snapped just enough branches. The ice storm a couple of years ago changed all that--snapped trees in the path, brambles grew up. But still I have been up there enough since the storm there are sketches of a new trail.

Do I want to leave the comfort of the woodstove? Brave the cold and the faint light to see the dawn. Will I be sad if I don't try? I debate. Read a few more messages. The sky hints of more colors. There is more coffee in the pot.

I have just finished a quilt for a custom order. I love the combination of colors--the glow and warmth. The roses and plums. The rusts. I know it will look great in their home.

But I worry. As I wrote in a previous blog post--the couple doesn't want too much brown. Doesn't want it too dark. This couple has a vision for their home--I am not sure if I have met it. I need to ponder this just a bit. This is for their anniversary--I can't wait too long.

I look at the colors in the sky--the soft peach and the rose. The mauves. Maybe if I surround myself with those colors I can see a new quilt. A softer version of rainbows.

There is still time but barely. I put on my boots, my coat. Find my ski poles--there is no snow right now but still there are a couple of patches of ice. I love using walking sticks--the rhythm of my stride through the meadows and woods. Already the sky is getting lighter.  I must hurry as fast as I safely can. Will I make it in time? Through the trees I can catch glimpses of the sky. It is getting lighter very quickly. I try a new path--maybe it will let me avoid some brambles--no, this is taking me down the hill--not up. I cut through the woods. Already I can see that the sky has lightened just where the sun will rise. I walk just a bit faster. Out of the woods--now I am on the crest of the hill.

Soft pink clouds overhead. In the distance I can hear a generator from a nearby farm. How wonderful it is up here.

I watch the sky lighten. A distant air plane leaves its trail reflected in the light. The colors change as the dawn approaches.Oh there are so many ideas for quilts here.

My hands get cold even though I have only been up here five or ten minutes. I put on my gloves and stamp my feet. The blue of the sky becomes alive. As the sun breaks through I turn to watch the light on the nearby trees. Yes, these are the colors I must try to capture in the quilt. Now I can envision it. Oh am I glad to back to that woodstove. I add another piece of oak and then head off to the studio.

I have been thinking about what is The Promised Land after I posted a blog about the radio show. Emily Torgrimson of the radio show had asked what was my promised land? How do I know if I get there. I realized that for me it is the search, the hike through the woods, the waiting as dawn unfolds, the new quilt that I will start today that is the promised land.As another reader of my blog commented, for her the promised land is...just to be immersed in creative process. How true I think this is.

And you--what do you think? Is it the process of hiking to the dawn, making the quilt? Or is it dawn itself?


  1. I love the quilt you have displayed here. Did the couple like the quilt? did they think it had too much brown? Please let us know. Nevertheless-it is beautiful :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your morning to the top of the hill. I can feel myself there and the colors of early morning are beautiful as "the day breaks slow but with promise".

  3. Thanks. As you can tell from the next post, I decided that I would remake the quilt before showing it to them.

    Jan--I love that phrase "the day breaks slow but with promise."