Erased by the Wind

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First snow. Tiny crystals reflect the whole world. Little white caps on yellow catkins. How beautifully they sway in the wind. The only sound in our village: chopping of wood.

In my dear old coat, I walk down the lonely path. My shallow footsteps erased by the wind.

Happy winter days!

Posted in Wildflower Moments | Tagged , , , , | 2 Komentarjev

Our Vegetable Garden In the Last Days of December

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December has been unusually warm this year, which has allowed some humble, yet sturdy vegetables to not only survive but even to thrive in these short days. Usually, the soil would be deeply frozen by now, calmly resting under a thick layer of snow.

I’m grateful for the vegetables to give us delicious food full of life force, which is so important in winter. Lamb’s lettuce, radicchio, two varieties of kale, Brussels sprouts, leek, collard, parsley are still living with such intensity and trust that I have to admire them. Their roots are blanketed with now decaying leaves, brought to the garden by the gale winds which battered our village in mid-November.

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I would also like to let you know that now I have a Twitter account and you are warmly welcome to visit me there.

I wish you many peaceful and happy moments in 2014.

Posted in For Love of Our Planet, Garden of Eden | Tagged , , | 5 Komentarjev

Always the Right Season

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Ringing blue December days. Branches are bare and brown and almost painfully exposed. Yet they are reaching up towards the sun with vigour and courage. A deliciously disturbing smell of dead leaves. A blue tit on the balcony railing singing and singing. There are countless ways to pray.

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Catkins and a wild flower in bloom remind me, that for some things, there is always the right season. (Words in italics are from the book A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver.)

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Fir branches, spruce branches, lichen-frinched branches make our house smell of wonderful forested mysteries, of swirling snows, snow-dusted mittens, cold red cheeks, cold blue skies, of lovely lonely churches on top of the hills.

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I sit on a tree stump, sipping hot tea gathered in the summer meadows. I’m in that important place full of awe and wonder: the quietness of the branches, the peacefulness of the world turning-in, the watercolours of the winter sky. The beating of my heart. The beating of the hearts all around me – some small in size, some big, all of them beautiful and wild.

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Have a peaceful week.

Posted in Wildflower Moments | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Komentarjev

Sreča, smeh in božično-novoletna darila

Ljudje se že tisočletja sprašujejo o smislu življenja. Meni se zdi, da je smisel življenja živeti, biti zelo živ in buden. Sama sem najbolj živa, kadar se smejim in sem srečna in kadar so srečni ljudje okoli mene. Kljub temu, da se počutim zelo, zelo slabo, sem se navadila pretvarjati, da sem v redu, ker nočem, da bi moji najdražji trpeli še bolj. In ko se pretvarjaš leta in leta, se sploh ne pretvarjaš več, ampak v resnici verjameš, da si v redu. Sicer me vse boli in sem neznosno utrujena, a sem vedno v redu. In vidim siničko, kako vsa majhna in okrogla odločno skače po goli hrastovi veji in se smejim in sem srečna. Vsak dan je poln majhnih stvari, ki prinesejo veliko sreče. Preveč rada se smejim, da bi čakala, da se bo zgodilo nekaj posebnega, nekaj velikega, ker kaj takega se zgodi tako redko, da človek lahko prej že umre. Rada imam, ko se smejijo drugi. Še nikoli nisem videla nasmejanega človeka, ki ne bi bil lep. Najlepši so stari ljudje, ko se jim na obrazu zarišejo gube in gubice, osamljene žalostne oči pa se jim spremenijo v dva majhna tolmuna, v katerih odsevajo njihove sanje in upanje mladih dni.

Ker me osrečujejo nasmejani in srečni ljudje, rada delim in dajem. Vsak je vesel prijaznosti, objema. Objemi imajo čarobno moč. Ko nekoga objameš, v trenutku začutiš, kako sta si podobna: oba hočeta biti vesela in nihče si ne želi trpeti. Z objemom vsakega razorožiš: lahko, da je bil prej slabe volje ali celo jezen, objem pa prikliče na dan tisto njegovo najboljše, najčistejše.

Rada podarjam pesmice. Na kartico ali voščilnico napišem haiku ali kakšno drugo majhno reč, izberem ovojni papir, naredim kuverto, dodam kakšno posušeno rožico ali vejico suhih jerebikovih jagod in whoosh do pošte. In potem si predstavljam, kako gre prejemnik k poštnemu nabiralniku in kako se mu usta razlezejo v nasmeh, ko med računi in reklamami in bančnimi izpiski najde tri drobne vrstice, ki mu vsaj za trenutek pretrgajo tok misli. Čeprav so pesmi tako drobne, mi vanje včasih uspe vdahniti svojo dušo in vesela sem, kadar lahko podarim majhen delček sebe.

Tudi s podarjanjem doma pečenega peciva je podobno. Vsak košček je mala čokoladna ali sadna umetnina, sladek grižljaj, v katerega smo med peko vdahnili svojo ljubezen. S pecivom tako ne podarimo le moke in sladkorja, začimb in sadja, pač pa tudi tisto, najlepše v nas.

Želim si, da bi nam deljenje in obdarovanje prišlo v navado. Da ne bi čakali na božič in rojstne dni, temveč bi delili in podarjali vsak dan. Zato smo tu. Večina ljudi ima zakrčene roke, dlani stisnjene v pest, ki se razprejo samo, kadar opazijo kaj, kar bi lahko pograbile zase.  Včasih pa imaš srečo in najdeš ljudi z razprtimi dlanmi in mehkim, velikim srcem, ki daje in daje. In ko misliš, da jih poznaš, dajo še več.

Prihaja čas, ko se ljudje lažje odločajo za osrečevanje, vsaj tistih, najbližjih. Spodaj torej nekaj daril, ki bodo konec decembra s poštno kočijo priromala do vrat nekaterih izmed vas. Nekatera pa so velika skrivnost, tako da jih ni med naštetimi. Ljubše bi mi bilo, če bi jih lahko izdelala sama ali jih vsaj kupila pri slovenskih ustvarjalcih, a ker ne morem nič od tega, sem hvaležna za Etsy in Amazon:

Črnilo iz orehovih lupin. Je prav nevarno obstojno in primerno za ilustriranje, pisanje, kaligrafijo, barvanje tkanin in lesa. Z njim ustvarjajo celo začasne tatuje, ki kljub vsakodnevnemu umivanju zdržijo cel teden. Je lepe, bogato temno rjave barve.

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Volnene nogavičke. Niso zelo izvirna ideja za decembrsko obdarovanje, a sta mi všeč vzorec in kroj :) in dejstvo, da so bile v prejšnjem življenju pulover.

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Rokavice brez prstov. Za nabiranje šipka, vej in vejic, za objemanje smrek in hrastov.

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Odlitek iz čebeljega voska. Nas spominja kako dragocene so naše zlato črne prijateljice in  da moramo paziti nanje, predvsem zaradi njih samih, pa tudi zato, ker smo od njih popolnoma odvisni.

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Škornji. Narejeni so iz blaga hmong, ki ga tkejo ženske iz istoimenskega plemena, katero se je v 19.stoletju preselilo s Kitajske, v upanju, da na severu Tajske najdejo svobodo in nov dom.

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Nekaj paketkov eko semen. Za bujno, zeleno pomlad, za svet brez škropiv in brez pretirane porabe fosilnih goriv.

Naročnina na revijo Earthlines. Ekoliterarna revija, ki premika mišljenje in čutenje v pravo, bolj zdravo smer.

Hedgerow Medicine. Knjiga, ki nas vodi med divjim zelenjem. Obogatena je še z ljudskim izročilom o vsaki rastlini, z recepti za čaje, sirupe, mazila…

Ena od pesniških zbirk Mary Oliver. Njene pesmi so pesmi Zemlje, s preprostim in mirnim zenovskim duhom. Neskončno lepe.

Glinena skodelica.

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Želim vam veliko veselja ob izbiranju daril, ki bodo primerna prav za vaše najdražje, obojim pa želim tudi veliko sreče ob obdarovanju. Vsak dan.

Posted in Oh, Joy! | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Komentarjev

Pozna jesen v gozdu

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Šumenje padajočega listja -

ko težko ločiš

deževen dan,

od tistega, ki to ni.

Posted in Random Scribbles | Tagged , , , , | 7 Komentarjev

Voščilnice za zimski solsticij, za božič, za novo leto, za vsak zimski dan

 baba yaga by rima stainesBaba Yaga by Rima Staines.

Pravkar sem naročila božično-novoletne voščilnice. Ne morem jih narediti sama, niti ne morem v trgovino, tako da sem hvaležna za Etsy, kjer se najde nekaj, za vsak, še tako čuden okus. Pred dobrima dvema letoma sem odkrila čudovit, zelo drugačen svet Rime Staines. Preraščen je z mahom, veje so okrašene z lišaji, okrog njega se ovijajo robide in v njem živijo liki, ki so stari in domači hkrati, katere poznam, saj se mi zdi, da sem enkrat prej, davno, živela med njimi. Njihove roke in noge so težke, grčave, hrbti upognjeni, kot bi jih neka nevidna sila tiščala k tlom, k plevelom, k vsemu divjemu in zelenemu, k odpadlemu listju in zemlji. To so liki z roba, tudi z roba vasi, kjer so včasih živele zdravilke, zeliščarke. Drugačni so, zato jim ni dovoljeno pripadati. In prav zato so mi tako blizu, pa čeprav so samo liki, ki jih je Rimina roka iz njene domišljije prenesla na papir, na platno, na les.

wayfarers nativity by rima stainesWayfarers’ Nativity by Rima Staines.

Rada imam njene zamolkle rjave tone, še posebej decembra, ko je povsod okrog toliko bleščave, da je že hudo za živce in za uboge golobe in grlice in vrabce, ki se jim vse bliska pred očmi, še sredi noči. Voščilnice so natisnjene v mestecu blizu Riminega doma, uporabljene pa so barve, ki so prijaznejše okolju.

father christmas by rima stainesFather Christmas by Rima Staines.

Lanskega decembra sem tako v njeni trgovinici The Hermitage na Etsyu, prvič naročila nekaj kartic. Prispele so po tednu dni, pozorno zavite in s prijaznim sporočilom. Kako vesela sem bila, ko sem videla, da kuverte niso bele, ampak rjave. Poslala pa sem jih le tistim, za katere se mi je zdelo, da se ob njih lahko spomnijo na tisto nekaj, na kar smo kot vrsta že skoraj pozabili.

Grem preverit, kako napreduje šipkova marmelada. Želim vam prijeten četrtek.

Posted in Oh, Joy! | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Komentarjev

Dancing the Dream

“People who have worked with me say I am ‘innocence in action’. They say I have the unselfconsciousness of a child. Maybe I have. I still look at the world with uncontaminated wonder, and with all living things I have a terrific sympathy. It was the most natural thing in the world for me to imagine that mice and squirrels might have feelings just like mine.”

Walt Disney

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With my friend Aron, age 2 (both of us)

“Everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture, we don’t think of grownups and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us, that maybe the world has made us forget, and that maybe our pictures can help us recall.”

Walt Disney

Cherries and friendship. By my dear friend Timeja.

Cherries and friendship. By my dear friend Timeja.

I love fun. Who doesn’t! Unfortunately once we grow up, we either forget all about it or our idea of fun becomes warped. My fondest memories are those of me (as a child and a teenager) being together with my skiing team friends at various skiing centers in Austria, or at a summer camp in Croatia. The daily schedule was gruelling with hours and hours on ski slopes and in the gym but in the late afternoon, after a short nap, we would still have enough energy for a blast. We’d have pillow fights, we’d play hide-and-seek in the hotel hallways, on an occasion two other girls and myself took a bath and played with plastic ducks, splashing around madly until we heard our coach yelling in front of the door that we were flooding the arcade on the floor below. Those were great, fun times. I was a shy and quiet child but I easily transformed into this rowdy, goofy kid, laughing and playing pranks and just thoroughly enjoying myself.

On skies, age 5

It’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s fun, age 5

When I was nine and we were at a summer camp our coaches took us dancing. In later years I realized that that was the most important day of my life, it was the day when everything changed and ever since nothing has been the same. On the dance floor I realized that dancing came to me as naturally as breathing. We arrived back at the hotel well past bedtime and while the girl whom I shared the room with was chasing a black widow spider, trying to capture it in the bathroom for the night, I sat on my bed blissfully happy. I felt I discovered something special, something precious. I felt music charging through my body like an electric current.

Winter fun, age 6

Winter fun, age 6

Skiing and wind-surfing remained my great passions but dancing became my obsession. I somehow felt that it was ok to be obsessed, it was ok to be driven by obsession. In a few years’ time my friends no longer felt like playing, they felt it was below them. But I longed for pillow fights and our silly, funny games. While I danced I was at play, I was having fun, I could experiment and fool around. And for the time being everything was as it had always been. Everything was alright.

The troubles started soon enough, though. I realized to my dismay that I was beginning to be perceived as a woman. I was mortified. I couldn’t bear it. At the age of thirteen I should have known that nature would inevitably take its course and my body would begin to change. But I had never thought about it. I had believed that being a child on the inside, I would for ever remain a child on the outside as well. That with the power of my childish and childlike soul I would defy nature and live for ever as a girl version of Peter Pan. One day as I was dancing I conceived of a plan and stuck with it diligently for four years. After just a couple of months I started to reap the rewards: my growth stunted, my body stopped getting curvier. I was happy: I was going to remain a girl forever. And our dog was getting chubbier by the day.

It was around that time, that I decided I needed a teacher. The only problem was that nobody knew about my dancing. The dance felt so sacred to me that I was even afraid  to utter the word “dance”, lest I take away half of its magic. One rainy afternoon I was sitting in front of the TV, flipping listlessly through the channnels. All of a sudden I saw this grumpy dad in his armchair flying through the roof of his suburban LA home all across the globe, right down to Tanzania. It was such fun! I loved it. I felt the video was made for children just like myself. I loved the next part too: his pre-teen son with shades, an electric guitar and a single black leather glove and his mum, stare at the night sky through the hole in the roof where the grumpy dad hit it and mum says in this serious voice: ” I think, your father’s going to be very upset when he gets back.” And then whoosh back to Africa: wonderfully tall men are seen dancing in a savannah and in their midst is a black man with a white face. Of course I knew who he was. I loved his moves, he was divinity in motion. And I decided right there and then that I might as well learn from the very best.

During the next weeks, months and years I spent hour upon hour upon hour watching his videos, his live performances in concerts. I would study and analyze and dissect his every move. I would tirelessly take notes, describing the exact position of his feet, the angle of his body, how exactly his arm was outstretched, but basically I’d describe just the overall feel of his moves. I’d write something like: Smooth and golden like spreading honey on warm toast. Or: BAM! Angry and aggressive like lightning. It’s important to correctly inhabit every move, if you want the overall feel of the dance to be just right. Then I practiced and practiced and rehearsed until the dances came to me as easily as breathing, really. I was just as comfortable being a pharaoh in Egypt, as I was in a 30s tavern (I don’t like the use of the machine gun, but I love the detective’s concern about Annie and besides this is still one of my very fave choreographies. It’s such great fun and in my opinion one of the greatest music videos of all time).

Sometimes I was Daryl - just a young boy trying to figure out the best way to deal with the violence of the inner city and with peer pressure. Sometimes I danced on the shores of the river Jordan.  I knew that on the dance floor I was getting dangerous. :) With time I would just come up with my own little choreographies but mostly I’d just freestyle. I beamed! I felt I was tapping into some ancinet secret, into the magic of expression preceding all words, all language.

And meanwhile my peers grew. And all of a sudden I found myself in grammar school, though I was so absorbed in my dancing, that it took my a while to notice it. Guys that just yesterday were little boys wanted to be men, girls that not long ago skipped rope with their pigtails bouncing up and down at the sides of their heads all of a sudden wanted to look hot and sexy. I was at a loss. I didn’t know what to make of it. What I found most disturbing, though, was that they started to hyper-sexualize everything. I wanted to save them all from growing up too quickly. A year later I would read The Catcher in the Rye and I  understood: it hurts badly when the kids won’t let you save them, especially when you know what a precious thing it is they are wo willingly leaving behind. My peers talked about having sex, I talked about my plushies and Winnie the Pooh. They talked about getting drunk and getting stoned, flying high and falling low and I talked about the joy of hot milk and freshly baked cookies before bed time. And all of a sudden no one understood anyone. I couldn’t understand how anyone can bin their childhood just like that. I treasured the exuberance, playfulness, creativity, imagination and resilience of childhood more than anything else and I knew that for a long, long time I don’t want to have anything to do with the strange, bleak grown-up world, where there was no magic and no enchantment.

I was perceived as weird, as an oddity and I was myself keenly aware of my overall otherness. I became a loner, a recluse. But as a teenager I was self-confident, I had a lot of pride. And somehow I felt I was right and all the rest were wrong. It never even occurred to me it might have been the other way around. I felt my peers were all messed up, that they had figured it out all wrong. To drink and smoke and be self-absorbed doesn’t mean you’re grown up but it does mean many other things. To be grown up is to be responsible and loving, to be genuinely caring and compassionate. And I was trying my very best to develop these traits. To be a big child doesn’t mean to be childish, but to be childlike, to be playful and joyful and earnest, to love innocent fun, to be exuberant and wildly creative. And I strived with all my heart to keep these things alive in me. I firmly believed that I can have the best of the two worlds: the best of childhood and the very best of adulthood.

As i studied Michael’s dances, I inevitably began to study the artist behind those moves as well as the man behind the artist. Michael was refreshingly childlike but at the same time he was a sophisticated and mature adult. He loved to play with children, to listen to them and he let them explain the world to him; he loved climbing trees and he loved to laugh. But at the same time he took care of his vast financial empire, he orchestrated world tours, he was a musical savant and a music video (short-film) pioneer. But what I admired most in him was his social philosophy. I grew up listening to his social anthems and protest songs. Man in the Mirror is still my favourite song of all times. I especially like his performance with the legendary Andrae Crouch Gospel Choir as well as his performance of the song in Bucharest (Dangerous Tour).

As a child and a teen I firmly believed that the world Michael sang about was a possibility, that it was within our reach. I believed in a world where people live united in love, where there is no division or strife among nationalities, religions, races, between genders, between the rich and the poor. I internalized his messages, his plea for understanding and kindness and they’ve become the fabric of my being.

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During his life Michael donated 300 million USD to charities and befriended and helped many (terminally) ill children, of whom best known are Dave Dave (a burn victim), Ryan White (a haemophiliac with AIDS) and the little Hungarian boy Bella Farkas, who needed a new liver to live and Michael and his team wouldn’t rest until they found it. On tours he would personally go and buy a whole van of toys and would then spend the afternoon checking each toy to see it was intact, installing batteries and making sure everything worked just right. After the concert terminally ill children would be brought backstage on stretchers and Michael would hand out the toys, he would sing to the children and encourage them. If it gave them enough extra energy to live one more day, it was worth it to Michael. In every city where he gave a concert he would visit either an orphanage or a hospital. Those were the things that greatly inspired me.

Michael-Jacksons-smile

I wanted to be just like him, so I found my own little ways to bring some joy and happiness into this world as well. I realized that even without any money, you can make people happy, you can make them smile. It’s always possible to offer understanding, to give a hug, to squeeze a hand, to refrain from judgement, to send a greetings card, a poem, to buy a Zimtzuckerl for a magician-fiddler on the corner of the street in Vienna.

Up the hill we go, age 5

Up the hill we go, age 5

Many years later I’m still a kid ( and a bit of an adult too). My top three books of all time are children’s books, I love to watch cartoons, listen to lullabies, I love to laugh and be silly and play make-believe. These things save my life every day. I know that without them, the chronic illness would have broken my spirit many years ago. But with a lot of laughter, playfulness, some silliness and a lot of resilience even a disease as horrid as mine can be dealt with. In her insightful book M Poetica: Michael Jackson’s Art of Connection and Defiance, Dr. Willa Stillwater makes an observation along these lines: An amazing thing about children is their resilience.  A child living in a poverty-stricken country still wants to play and so does a child with cancer and a child who has experienced tragic personal loss, like the loss of a parent. In such circumstances adults tend to withdraw from life and shut down emotionally, they try to avoid pain, which might be a natural response but often avoiding pain becomes even more numbing than the pain itself and you start dying inside. Children on the other hand remain open to life and despite the harsh facts of their situation retain a spirit of playfulness.

Pablo Picasso felt that every child was an artist but he also acknowledged that it was difficult to remain an artist once you grow up. I have kept the little artist within me alive. When I create I’m at play and play wakes me up, it makes me alive inside and it nourishes me emotionally and spiritually. I cannot dance, of course, but I write little poems and short stories, silly stories and lullabies. The point for me is not to excel, not to be good at it, but simply to give it my all, to lose myself in the joy of doing it. This act of joyfulness can take any form we wish: gardening is an art, cooking is an art, being a manager is an art. There are so many ways to bring some beauty and hapiness into this world. And art is powerful. It can change not only individuals but entire communities (just think of hip hop, the power of which transformed violent inner cities into places brimming with creativity). It can change the world.

I’m reluctant to publish this post because I’m uncomfortable with it being so personal. But I’ll do it still, because I want it to be a tribute to the magic of childhood, to the transformative power of art and the man who was Music Incarnate and a serious artist to the very being of his core. He extended his art to the way he lived his life and inspired me to try and do the same. To try and live more musically, to move gracefully and beautifully through ups and downs of my life, just like a dancer.

Thank you.

p.s: Photos of Michael were taken from Michael Pictures. Thank you.

Posted in Life should be a dance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Komentarjev