Monthly Archives: March 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense


Over the past two months, I have had an opportunity to get to know and become friends with a local potter.  She worked for years in a variety of corporate jobs, but never lost her love for or desire to create pottery.  She finally made her dream come true in February 2012, when she opened a pottery studio and small consignment shop for local artists.

I live in the middle third of North Carolina.  This area is home to an extensive network of potters.  The area around Seagrove is a pottery lover’s dream.  You can spend days visiting all the studios and galleries, meeting potters and shopping.  The artistry displayed by some of these craftspeople is breathtaking.  My new friend clearly has the gift.

Creation in progressA lump of unremarkable looking stuff — this grayish, moist mixture of clay and sand — can become anything in the hands of a master.  I watched as my friend sat on a small stool, grabbed a clump of clay out of a bag and placed it on her wheel.  She used her right foot to start the wheel spinning.  She wet her hands and carefully placed them around the clay. A little pressure in just the right place and the lump begins to become something.

I wondered what she had in mind, but I didn’t ask.  I wanted to see it come into being as a surprise – like awaiting the birth of a new baby without knowing in advance if it’s a boy or girl.  In what seemed like only seconds, the shape of some type of column became visible.  Finally she told me it would be a stand for a larger plate that had already been made.

But with pottery, the making of the actual item is just part of the process.  What I have not seen is the detail work she may have added.  I haven’t seen the glaze colors she chose.  I am so looking forward to going back to the shop to see the final product.

It’s no wonder that our lives, shaped and colored by so many inner and outer forces, are often compared to clay in the hands of the Master.  No matter how we hard we work to mold our future, the truth is that our future can be reshaped at any moment. Fortunately, thankfully, the beginning is never the end.  It’s a promise of more to come.

Today’s Weekly Photo Challenge invited us to grab an image from our world that holds the promise or portent of the future.

For some of my friend’s creations, visit .

The Scarf Comes Off


jonqils bigOur local newspaper has been asking readers to share their harbingers of spring.  For most folks around here, seeing the daffodils blooming is the first real sign of spring.  Although this winter, we’ve had a warm day or two tossed into the mix every couple of weeks so that the daffodil greens have been up for awhile.  Daffodils and jonquils are cheery flowers and they manage to keep their heads up even if we have a late frost.

Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons, but Spring has the edge.  Since I don’t care for cold weather, I look towards March on the calendar all winter long.  I study my garden area from the kitchen window, planning how I can do a better job than I did last season, working out a new plan to protect my tomatoes from the squirrels this year.  I stand on the porch next to the pansies, standing in the little bit of sunny warmth that has kept them going all winter.

Spring is the season of promise.  The promise of more sun and fewer clouds.  Warmer temperatures.  New green on old brown.

Yesterday, I spent the morning unloading bags of compost and manure from the back of my car and hauling them down to the garden.  After pouring it all out and raking it over the bed, I got out the trusty old mattock and turned over a narrow section close to the edge.  I have been itching to get something in the ground and at this time of year, lettuce is the way to go.  In a week or so, I should see the sprouts cresting.  I have a new mattock, but I use the old one because it belonged to my maternal grandmother.  She was so talented with her hands.  She grew beautiful roses, had gardens, cooked great food, created beautiful needlepoint works of art and the list goes on.  Surely if I use her mattock my garden will be more successful.

As I was digging in the dirt, I listened to the staccato tapping of a woodpecker.  We back up to a lake so it was no surprise to see 2 mallards waddling through the yard, hoping for a cache of grass seed.  Why didn’t I have my camera with me?  We stopped and looked at each other for a few minutes, then went back to what we were doing.  And yes, I admit, I did talk to them.  No, they did not answer me.  When a large group of ducks are playing or whatever else it is ducks do in the water, their quacking sounds like laughter.  The sounds of Spring.

However, in the midst of soaking up every possible sign of the season, I am reminded of how this can be a sad time of year.  I have two friends who have a parent battling cancer.  One is in the early part of this journey – and the hope for healing and recovery is strong, like flowers pushing their way through the dirt towards the sun.  But the other is close to the end.  And as much as you want their struggle and suffering to go away, you also want the clock to stop.  You want more time and the signs of spring are a painful reminder that life goes on.

One of our nieces popped in for a quick weekend visit last weekend.  She brought us a bouquet of beautiful yellow tulips and that was my reminder to do one thing that really lets me know it’s springtime.  Take the scarf off the Count.Count VZ

This bust is of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf, a very distant relative.  He watches over us from the shelf in the living room all year.  He’s old and I know he gets cold in the winter, so a couple of years ago I knit a scarf for him.  I really did it to see how long it took my family to notice.  Now I put it on him every winter and then, come spring, I take it off.

What is your favorite sign of spring?