The persistent greyness of this week has greatly improved my mood. I know the plants need it, but I could never abide the sun directly. I much prefer the shade and the shadows and to catch the sun as it sets or fades behind a hill or mesa top, or when it lights the last sliver of green at the top of mountain so there’s a gilt green slice of stained glass edging off the world.
Most of my trees have budded. I used my coupon and got the first set of this summers vegetable plants: a pile of peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. The ferns have filled in the naked gaps from last year and the slow winter. On overcast days I can see better. Greens and purples are particularly vivid. The lilacs have blossomed and perfumed the yard, under the tree is a thick cluster of feathery ostrich ferns, and below them lie some variegated African violets. I didn’t know they could produce two tone flowers, I’ve just seen that variety this year. I miss the old spruce but the added light allows for new growth, my potted maples, the food crops, the flowers. I’m not yet willing to call it a fair trade, but I’m not so obstinate as to ignore the benefits.
I spent most of yesterday in the basement studio. I added more light and the rest seemed to follow on its own. I cleaned the floor and organized my stacks of raw wood, which lead to clearing off the seldom used short table. That lead to further organization there and throughout the house, the end result being that I know have a functioning jewelry studio in my basement. I should remember that the solution, or at least the start of such to every problem is further illumination. Funny, given my penchant for the dark, but I suppose florescent lights don’t hurt my eyes so much as the sun.
The reason for my returned interest in silversmithing comes from my turning over a handful of jewelry to the Susquehanna Art Museum. I’m promised pictures of my display when everything is up.
Speaking of the display, its creation was something of an adventure. I had my finished pieces selected, had re-polished and collected them, come up with prices that, in all honesty, are mostly made up, and was ready to go, when I realized I had promised the museum a display on which to hank all my stuff. Incapable of half measures, or even of doing anything the easy way, I spent the remainder of yesterday constructing a wooden display of salvaged wood and collected sycamore limbs.
The plank I selected for the base had spent years outside, but I liked the shape. I scrubbed and sanded it until I got something approaching an organic form with which I was pleased, something pleasant but that wouldn’t detract attention from the jewelry. I stuck it in the oven to dry while I showed Mary what I’d done that day. I had to cut my miniature tour short when, from the basement, I smelled wood smoke.
I walked upstairs to find the kitchen full of thick, white smoke. Surely enough, I’d set the plank on fire.
I have inherited a trait from my father, something not entirely beneficial in an evolutionary sense, but certainly one that leads to good party stories. Both he and I don’t react much to serious threats. We’re more apt to become annoyed with minutiae than life threatening events. My father told me once that while he was being mugged his only reaction was that he couldn’t see the knife, something he told the man. I once lit a cigarette off a house fire I was trying to put out with a tea kettle. And so, as Mary ran off to get something, I think I’d sent her to fan the smoke alarm so that it would quiet, I put my collar over my nose and worked my way to the oven. It was easy enough to act in the smoke so long as my eyes closed and I didn’t breath.
I used an oven mitt to drag the plank out of the oven, shut everything off, opened the window, and turned on the smoke filter. Once I had the plank outside the smoke was less of an issue and I whacked at the charred bits with a piece of slate until I knocked the embers off. The shape was changed, but it still looked ok. I took it back in for a repeat of the steel wool scrubbing and all was well. The colors created by the charring were quite pleasant, the oven is fine, and now the house smells like wood smoke, which is one of my favorite smells. Not so bad, overall.
I dropped the jewelry and the display off an hour ago. Ms. James, the office manager for the Susquehanna Art Museum and the woman who has put up with my long delayed application process, liked my display, commenting that it smelled good. I’m not the only one who likes the smell of campfires. She liked the jewelry as well, which is even better. The lot goes on sale sunday. I’m fairly excited.
Still, there’s something hanging on me. Some weight I can’t ascribe to any specific encumbrance. Perhaps it’s the continued sleeplessness, perhaps it’s nothing. Whether or not it fades is inconsequential, I suppose. I’ve enough activities that I enjoy to occupy myself as to make conscious worry unimportant.
As long as there’s work there’s no time for worry, and there’s always more work to be done.