Images and thoughts

August 9, 2012

Summer is well on its way. We are having  such a heatwave over here !  Unusual canicular  days are followed by violent storms, heavy rains and coolness.  Temperatures going up and down at brief intervals. Our landscape is especially luxuriant this Season,   gardens and fields are grateful : flowers, cereals and vegetables abound.

An orange-red rose, my favourite, with as many petals that open every day as the pages of a scented book you would read with delight.

Some of our fresh vegetables picked early in the morning and served for lunch. On the menu that day for our visitors: leeks with vinaigrette,  grilled zuchinis and chards au gratin with cheese. We will have to wait a few more weeks to taste our purple potatoes, something new this year.

It has been a rather busy Summer with little time for blogging and visiting you, my friends, I feel sorry about this;  there were several birthday celebrations, family and friends’ visits, excursions and picnics in the mountains but also quiet times along a river near  our home. Days are longer and as the sun sets on the water, I sometimes meet  a family of swans catching its rays as they glide gently towards the shore, hoping for some pieces of  bread I don’t always have.

Summer also  brought its days of sadness and loss. Two dear friends passed unexpectedly leaving family and friends deeply shocked. The sun shone brightly though as we all gathered in a small mountain village graveyard to pay homage to both friends, at a two weeks’ interval. Sadness for the great loss.

Sadness for all that remained to be shared and said. Sadness when the realization of their absence became more tangible every day.  Why so soon ? Unanswered question. At about the same time,  I began reading  a book about Celtic Wisdom by the Irish writer and philosopher, John O’Donohue: “Anam Cara” or “Soul Friend” in Gaelic. Thank you to Lumens Borealis http://lumensborealis.com/about/ for having introduced me to John O’Donohue’s writings.

Serendipity,  happy coincidence in a moment of distress ? I don’t know but here are  a few lines, comforting thoughts, that J. O’Donohue wrote about death in his inspiring book :

The Dead Bless Us

I believe that our friends among the dead really mind us and look out for us…One of the exciting developments that may happen in evolution and in human consciousness in the next several hundred years is a whole new relationship with the invisible, eternal world… We do not need to grieve for the dead. Why should we grieve for them ? They are now in a place where there is no more shadow, darkness, loneliness, isolation or pain. They are home. They are with God from whom they came. They have returned to the nest of their identity within the great circle of God…the largest embrace in the universe, which holds visible and invisible, temporal and eternal, as one.”

So much gratefulness for these lines and deep reflections about death, and about much more I read in this wonderful book.  Hardly a day passes without  thinking of those two close friends although now sadness is mixed with the serene and happy feeling of having known them both.

For  R. and J.-J.  I chose this Vivaldi Cello Concerto, largo. I know they loved it.

The circle of life. As days go by,  sorrow is followed by joy as a new life  has brought  happiness in my family. A baby girl, Alima,  is sharing her irresistible and peaceful smile with us all. A sweet messenger of Peace as  shown on the card her parents sent us :

“Jàmm rekk ! Kayra dorong ! La paix seulement”

Good wishes in Wolof, Mandinka and French. Alima’s papa comes from Senegal, her maman is my niece. The words  chosen by her parents to announce their daughter’s birth mean : “Peace only or Peace be with you”.

Welcome sweet little Alima !

Over the past month,  I have  been asked  if I was working on a new quilting project. Yes, indeed I was and still am. A quilt is finished and has been offered to my sister for her Birthday. Two others are in progress (WIP) ! But that is another story that I will tell you about later. Just a few shots to give you an idea.

Part of my sister’s quilt sewed with so much love.

Detail of a quilt I started after the devastating tsunami in Japan.

Choosing some materials for a new quilt. A small monthly quilt project.

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16 Responses to “Images and thoughts”

  1. Truels said

    Thank you for your excellent and very personal record of life this summer for you and around you.And so painting “The circle of life”…..
    Few periods in our life contains only good or only sad experiences. It requires great courage and talent for storytelling portraying your life as fine and touching as you do.
    My summer has also had good and sad moments, but I can and will probably only show a few of the more photographic (and good) ones on my blog ……..

    • Hello Truels and many thanks for your encouraging words. Really appreciated. I look forward to “visiting” you and seeing what your Summer has been like. Life is a blending of so various emotions and experiences, isnt’t it ? Enriching.

  2. Marie said

    Dearest Isabelle,
    I am so sorry for your loss…
    The words you shared from the book are beautiful and a good reminder that those we cherish in friendship and love are always
    with us in our hearts.
    Life brings sadness but at the time such joy, a sweet little one,
    so angelic and close to heaven…beautiful. ❤
    Lovely heartfelt quilting : )
    I love the music of Vivaldi…it reminds me of so long ago….
    I worked at Laura Ashely in the early 1980's and we listened to Vivaldi and other beautiful songs.
    Peace to you.
    xoxo ❤

    • Chère Marie, so good to read your thoughts ! Thank you very much for your warm words. You would enjoy reading “Anam Cara”, the type of book you can always come back to for inspiration. It is a dense writing but well worth the effort (for someone whose native language is not English).
      Soon there will be a Senegalese celebration for Alima’s birth, I look forward to this joyful event.
      Did you recognize some of your fabrics in the Japanese quilt ? The crow bringing a red feather, a good omen.
      I am so glad you enjoyed this Vivaldi’s cello concerto. One of my favourites. Peace to you also, Marie. xoxo

  3. sonali said

    Isa, I’m happy to hear from you. summer looks to be a nice season your side. I can imagine the freshness of the flowers and fresh veggies.

    Well, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friends. Its so sad, really.

    Circle of life. True. Baby is so adorable. How cute!

    I love all your quilts. The colors, designs wow! amazing!

    May you have a good day! 🙂

    • Hello again sonali ! I am glad you enjoyed this post and pictures. I have a lot to catch up but in time will come and visit you. Any more hiking in your gorgeous mountains ? When are you starting quilting ?;) Thank you for your words.

  4. Giiid said

    I´m sorry to read about your loss, Isa. Loosing two friends almost at the same time, must be almost unbearable for you, – and then, in the middle of all your sorrow, a little new soul appear and make it clear how everything renew itself all the time, and let sorrow be exchange with happines and hope. Congratulations with her, I can imagine how you already have plans for all kinds of beautiful quilt for her.
    Thank you for a sensitive and touching summary of your summer.

    • Thank you, dear Birgitte, for your comforting words, they warmed my heart and brought a grateful smile. Last night I was re-reading a chapter on death and was wisely remembered that “death calls in its own time”. Very true.
      As Linda, from shoreacres, writes just after your message, this would be “reason enough for graceful, attentive living”.

  5. shoreacres said

    Life itself is a quilt, it seems, a patchwork of sorrow and joy, beauty and its fading, new hopes and lingering disappointments.
    Still, there is so much beauty here in your post. Even the village graveyard is beautiful to me. I’ve never seen such a place, and it looks very peaceful, yet vibrant with all its blooms. The loss of family and friends “out of time” is such a sorrow – and yet we cannot say when our time will end. Reason enough, I suppose, for graceful, attentive living.

    I smiled to see your rose. It’s very much like my mother’s favorite bush. We always loved to watch them unfurl, and the colors change as they did.

    The new baby in your life is beautiful, too – and no doubt will be a source of joy. For myself, I’m delighted to see the swans – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of swan babies! We have so many ducks, particularly mallards, but a swan is exotic, unusual – thank you for including that family, too.

    The quilts are such fun to see. You amaze me with your skill and perseverance. The thought of doing a quilt in a month is astonishing to me! Even though it no doubt is a smaller one, I still stand in awe. I can’t wait to read more of their stories!

    • Linda, thank you so much for all your thoughts about my recent post. I loved reading them and feel very thankful for the time you took composing this message and the depth of your thoughts.
      Life is like a quilt indeed and it is precisely in sewing, quilting that I find a way of grieving, as well as expressing all kinds of emotions and feelings. Some friends quilters look at it as a therapy in case of severe illness, for instance. It needs attentive work, finding beauty in the present moment.
      I am happy you enjoyed the family of swans and the orange rose 🙂

  6. Sartenada said

    Je suis vraiment désolé en lisant la perte de tes deux amis. Tes photos sont magnifiques souvenirs d’été.

  7. lola said

    Congratulations Isabelle for the lovely smiling baby! Is there anything better than a new baby in the family? I love her name.

    Agree with J. O. about death. We feel so sorry for missing friends and relatives but must remember they rest in peace, in God. So true!. Christian culture could even celebrate that. Don’t you think?

    Love the colors of those quilts Isa, they look happy. Thank you for sharing.
    These days i’m doing small quilts; don’t have the energy for more. Here the heatwave is all summer long. Quite tired of it really!.
    My best wishes for the baby and your family

    • Hello dear Lola, so nice to read you. There will be soon a celebration – Senegalese tradition – for Alima’s birth. I agree with you about J.O’Donohue’s words about death and the Christian culture celebrating it. There is so much to learn in this book ! I am re-reading it a second time.

      I am also sewing small quilts at the moment, very small, all different in style, trying to improvise new techniques and colours. I enjoy these moments of inspiration.
      Thanks for your thoughts and words and stay in the shade ! I can only imagine how hot it must be in Andalusia.

  8. I think of abundance and blessings when I read this post. The I Ching defines abundance as many opportunities for joy and sorrow. Life, death and our relationships are simply amazing, sweet, swift, enduring and fragile.

    I think your photo of the swans sums it up perfectly. Blessings to you.

    • Thank you for those meaningful and comforting comments, Sherri Lynn. I had not thought of the picture of the swans in these terms but how right you are! Blessings to you also and thank you.

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