One Sunflower

Poem Project – entry #12 Now in the long blue cold

Now comes the long blue cold by Mary Oliver
Now comes the long blue cold
and what shall I say but that some
bird in the tree of my heart
is singing.
that same heart that only yesterday
was a room shut tight, without dreams.
Isn’t it wonderful — the cold wind and
spring in the heart inexplicable.
Darling girl.  Picklock.

People often ask me about my thinking and planning in the creation process.  So here’s a little peek:

Sometimes I create a sketch – like I did for this piece.  But a totally different process happened when I started to pick out fabric and figure out the different components of the sketch. When I began pulling fabric out of my stash, I started to see the layers of blue fingers in the heart shape and the blossoming tree.  Usually I draw my picture and then reverse it so that when I outline in on the fusible interfacing it will come out the same as my original sketch.  This time I wasn’t too concerned about the flip of the twining branches.  I knew I wanted the bird smack down in the middle and singing to the left.  I have a funny notion that because we read right to left, I try to make my pictures “read” that way – or from top to bottom.  In my Red Bird piece, it was important to me that the bird be flying to the right – into the future.  In this picture, I wanted the bird chirping to the left as though its chirrup was directed to anything cold that might be creeping up from behind.

“back away from this tree of my heart!”

I wasn’t sure how I was going to make the nest or the bird.  After I’d done the twines and tree I decided to experiment with some yarn to make a nest.  I twirled it in my fingers, I layed it in a clump, finally deciding to sew it the way I did.  I messed around with a couple of felt birds until I came up with one that worked.

I’m terrible about planning ahead on how I’m going to finish and frame my pieces.  I tend to work with 1/4 yard pieces so I’m often locked into a 9″ width or height!  Not always a good thing!  I like to back things in felt because it adds some thickness and I can do a blanket stitch edge.  This boucle yarn was lying on my kitchen countertop where I was working and I laid it on the edge on a whim.  It worked for me so that is how it came to be.

So why this poem:

For the most part, I am an optimistic person – my mom says I always find a way to make lemonade from lemons.  This poem created a picture of that eternal hopefulness that I seem to find.  Despite the “long blue cold” fingers of doubt, despair, discouragement – I always seem to look for the “bird in the tree of my heart.”

I am not a Pollyanna – more of a Dorothy – always looking for the yellow brick road and the way home.  But like Dorothy, I don’t think I would know what “home” is without the trials of the journey. There were a lot of times along the way in my life when I felt like giving up – my son was born with physical and learning disabilities, my marriage (of 29 years!) has been a bit rocky at times,  I have a job that I enjoy but it’s been a struggle to put bread on the table.

So thankfully, despite these hardships, I’ve always been able to tease out the possible – my son is doing more and more for himself, my husband is my best and truest friend, my job allows me time and space to be creative – in the classroom and out – and that feeds my soul.


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One response to “Poem Project – entry #12 Now in the long blue cold

  1. Again I am so inspired by your work. I hope you have been renewed during your spring break. I know that it came just in time for me.

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