Saturday, March 9, 2024

Late Winter

I recently finished my second ceramics class, an 8-week series. I spent my last class in the glazing room with several other students, finishing up our projects. Questions and advice flew from one woman to another as we made decisions about what glazes to avoid, what to layer, how to finish the bottoms of our pieces. A young student in her early twenties timidly asked us older ladies for guidance, so nervous about making a mistake. I wanted to tell her that in general mistakes are not a big deal, and us middle-aged ladies love sharing what we know - but that confidence comes with time and boy, am I glad I'm not 20 anymore.

I loved my teacher for this class, a no-nonsense lady in her 70s. She is one of those few teachers who can read her students and strike the perfect balance between offering advice and encouragement, and allowing us to make our own discoveries. I'm not thrilled at how my mugs came out, but I sure learned a lot by making them. Surprisingly, I've found myself less attached to the final products than I thought I would be. I think this comes from knowing that the first knitted object will be wonky, and the 100th will be glorious. That the first flower bouquet will be uninspired, but the 200th and 300th might be something special. It's now time to focus on the flowers, but I hope to return to the ceramics studio in the fall to keep learning.

I think we underestimate how important it is to find the people who are interested in the same things as we are. I have a wonderful group of friends who are all artists in different ways - writers and cooks and home designers - but there was something special about being in a room with six people all covered with clay, discussing the best brand of underglaze.

I am also a member of my state's cut flower grower's association, predictably full of flower nerds of all types. But, getting a group of farmers off their farms and into the same room is virtually impossible. And once the flowers start blooming, we're all off in our own worlds. Is there a particular interest you have? Skydiving or weaving or ultramarathoning? Find your people - it will make all the difference. If you're an introvert like me and nervous at the thought of joining a group of knitters or runners or potters that you've never met, trust me, it's worth it.

We had proper snow in January, so much that the school district exceeded their planned TWO snow days. (Climate change is real but that's overly optimistic in a district that has literally closed for wind.) We now have an "asynchronous learning" day to make up for the snow day. No one really knows what that means but sure, I bet the kids are all going to be studiously doing their work at home. Remember that time there was a pandemic and we all had our kids trying to do online school for a year while we also tried to work and take care of a toddler at the same time? Actually, let's not remember that.

A few weekends ago the kids were at their grandparents' house, and I had a lovely solo day. I went to visit a flower subscriber who is also a yarn dyer at an event she was holding at her studio. We ended up chatting for an hour! (Of course I also bought some yarn.) After stopping at Tractor Supply to buy chicken wire to keep rabbits out of the tulip bed, I took a short hike at a local park. I think these pictures illustrate the hardest part of winter in this region. It's brown. So brown. We rarely get snow to brighten the landscape, and for the majority of the days the sky is also gray. 

The daffodils are about to bloom, I have 4 yards of compost in the driveway, and 800 seedlings in the basement. Brighter days are not far off now.