Friday, April 22, 2011

in-laws and the colors of the ocean

Ah in-laws. An experience in patience and understanding. Kind loving people all trying so hard to help the aging. The aging trying to retain their pride and independence.  So many subcurrents swirling in stories that only reveal parts of themselves each time they are told. The emphasis changing as the mood changes and the audience changes. Events remembered only in the mists of the past. I watch and assist--trying to capture threads of solid ground and truth.  The rhythms of the stories. The search for truth. Stories that I as an outsider--but also family--hear and try to find the meaning of.

I come from a small family. Grounded in the prairies of the Midwest. I can express the power of the sky and the strength of the dirt. This I know intuitively.

But the house of my in-laws is on a river by the ocean. There are many siblings. Many stories. This is not the bright vast ocean of the summer. Blue and endless. Dreams and hope. Light dancing off the waves. Promise and sureness. Understandable.

But the ocean of April--misty.  Fog clinging to the shore.  A slight chill. The sound of the waves on the shore. Harder for me to absorb but still beautiful. An occasional fisherman anchoring the space between the water and the sky.

Distant shores hint at a solidness and hope.

It has been a long slow spring. The salt marshes still taupe with last year's growth. Pools of water stretching out and waiting. A snowy egret in the distance.

The sound of the tide swirling out. Slowly. This is Rhode Island. The tides not high and dramatic like Maine but constant and gentle. There is a quilt here in this softness and mystery. These colors both so soft and so complex. Soothing but deep. There is a quilt in these stories.

But how to capture it? How to capture the mood and the feeling. The sadness of the aging. The swirling stories of families. I pull out my fabrics. The gentle greys and taupes. The dusty greens and blues. Soft colors. Calm colors. How to do this?

And you--what inspires you and the ocean? How do you capture the colors of the fog and mist? This intense quiet and stillness.


  1. This is absolutely lovely and inspiring...

    Best wishes Shani

  2. I grew up on the ocean in Nova Scotia. I now live on the Canadian prairies in Manitoba. We have a beautiful and very large lake here, Lake Manitoba. It is actually the 10th largest fresh water lake in the world! For the past 10 years I have been creating fabric landscapes of the lake, and no matter how hard I try, they keep ending up looking like the ocean! I think perhaps our color palates are developed in our minds at the same time as our mother tongue.
    I am very intrigued with your dilemma, as mine is the geographic reverse! I will ponder this more, and be interested to see how your new palate develops.

    You can see our lake behind me in my profile picture!