Monday, September 26, 2011

thoughts on kindness and color

I wake up at four in the morning--sometimes five if I'm lucky these days. My mind is reeling with so much to do. Tasks everywhere. Plans. Ideas.  Each seems to take twice as long as before. There is a definite order that must be followed. A process.  The back room is cluttered with boxes. The box from the new open flag must be broken down. Boxes from my track lights. I can't put them in my van--it goes into the service station again. Will they have the time today to fix the check engine light--this will be the third time I have taken it in. Normally no big deal--but right now just added hassle that I don't need.  Then the inspection station. Ugh again!!! Then I can put the boxes in the back. See what I mean.

To send out the order of pillows I must open the carton. Stuff the pillows. Find a box. The packing tape. The address. Things that I used to do automatically now require careful thought.

Where is my seam ripper? I think I have seen it. It used to be on my counter top--right there.  When will it resurface?  For now I can use scissors--it will reappear. I must make order out of chaos. One day at a time. One project done every day. One day at a time.

Today a friend comes to help. She can do some of those tasks that hang over my head. How nice it will be not to worry about those things again. How kind of her to help. How lucky I am.

Then I must make more quilts. After all, I do have a craft show in a couple of weeks. The Paradise Northampton Show--love doing that fair. So much great work there. A crowd that is enjoying themselves. Will you be there? Delicious food. Great music. Great art and crafts. I must have enough potholders. A selection of placemats and eyeglass cases. I know these will sell.

A new friend had sent me a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye probably the best known Arab-American poet. Have you heard of her? I hadn't. Wonderful work. So sure of herself and pictorial. She tells a story. The poem I received is called "Kindness". The gist of the poem is that only after you have been knocked down to the depths by life, lost everything and seen the loss of all--only then can you know that what is left after such loss is kindness. Just read these words.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

She concludes that only after the sorry can you know kindness--let me quote some more.

only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Isn't it wonderful. It is worth it to check her out more. Here is a link to a short poem she read at Earlham College in Indiana.  Great isn't she?

Yes, kindness is left and will sustain me. So many people. So kind. But for me also there is more. There is color. This is what I do. This is what propels me further. I must make more squares with the colors of autumn. What do you think?

This is part of what I dream of at four in the morning. This is part of why there are still boxes in the back room. This is what keeps me sane.

And you--what do you do when life overwhelms you? What are your tricks? The things you tell yourself? And kindness--what are your thoughts there.


  1. So profound! Those words, their integration with your energy and color and moving forward. All inspired.
    Shapes and words fuel me these days. Through loss and pain and struggling with my weary body. It needs healing.
    I too have found amazing love and kindness and this greets me each day.
    The concept of healing has become evident in my work as I await a diagnosis of what is ailing me.

  2. Thanks so much Patricia. I know exactly what you mean--making art is so sustaining. Wishing you the best.

  3. Thanks for the introduction to this poet. I found her poem "Famous" on line - it's definitely one to print out and put on the wall...