Sunday, February 9, 2014

Memory's Forrest

To continue my journey with the Bead Journal Project, I decided to dip into my hoard of beading treasures and create one more piece for January.  I'd completed the pendent before the last week of January, but the actual necklace portion kept eluding me.  Finally, I decided to finish it off with rings connected with rings.  I then began to let my mind take steps backwards discovering why I'd chosen these hoarded objects, and why they had to all be used into making this necklace.  It all reminded me of walking through Shawnee Forrest trying to find my way back onto a familiar trail that would lead me out to a clear path.  If you are unfamiliar with Appalachian forest let me tell you that off a beaten trail there are brambles and stray branches trying to deter you from certain pathways.  You weave around finding a safe road, and along that meandering path you can experience sensory emotions that will stay with you for you life.  The smell of wet leaves, the smell of bogs, the smell of hidden wildflowers are within you.  The sound of the winds blowing the heavy trees to and fro, the slithering of snakes hidden among the leaf covered floor, the screech of birds of prey in the tree canopy, the gentle foot falls of your own feet.  Shawnee Forrest is a part of my family as we were one of the first families in the Ohio River Valley centuries ago.  My Father's dying wish was to step one more time into the forest and walk among the trees and skies. 

I think it is the thought of my Father's last wish that originally made me pick up the ceramic owl that I'd gotten from Marti Conrad, the gemstone donut I'd gotten from Lora Tobias, and the crystal Rivoli that I'd gotten from Byzantium.  Each of these pieces brought back memories of loss.  The rivoli along with so many other items that I hoard are from Byzantium bead store which closed years ago in Columbus.  It was there I first discovered my love of creating with beads.  It was there that I was allowed to teach my first class and learn that I loved to teach and share my ideas.  It is gone, but the items I brought home with me that last day and the people who still are a part of my life keeps Byzantium alive.  The donut I received from Lora was at the Beading on the Beach Retreat my friends on Delfi Forums and I created and keep alive to this very day.  We all became very close that weekend filled with joy, beads, and friendship.  Lora is gone.  She passed away from cancer, but I when I touched that donut the memories of that week came back instantly.  It still centers me. 

I have never seen an owl in Nature.  I believe I've heard them before, but never seen one with my own eyes.  But when I chose the ceramic owl, it wasn't the owl that I thought about, it was the kindness a stranger showed to me on Facebook when Arwen and Frodo died in 2012 less than two weeks apart.  Marti Conrad was that stranger who sent me a heart with pawprints embossed in it to help me with my grief over losing my two Scotties.  She is a stranger no more, and I enjoy seeing her work every single day.  I am also lucky to have gotten some of her original pieces.  I bought a grouping of these ceramic owls just wanting them because they were unique and lovely, but also because they reminded me of her kind heart.  It also gives me a physical object to see how grief can inspire love from others.
Me, Daddy & Jerry 

As I put all these pieces from my dream state journey through memories wandering from one piece to another it all came fluid to me that we need not feel grief for loss as though corporal bodies are long gone, the memories of those others are still with us.  We reach down inside and they are still there.  Rings of love are inter mingled together creating strength and structure out of chaos.  The beaded rings in my necklace are the image of all the rings of friendship, love, and desire that have found me along my path.  I might think certain distractions are not part of the plan, but it is the distractions that cause me to stop and just BE!  As in my other January Bead Journal Project necklace, it is the times that we are silent that we are the most alive.  Stopping even for a second to look with inner eye at where I am and those who are still with me give me strength and joy.  Each step, each click of a key, each word creates more rings of love, friendship, and loyalty that strengthen and harden my endurance to live on.  Each are with me still and until I breath my last breath.

My Five Scotties who are long gone but still with me:
FalaPink, SkyeBlue, Frodo, Arwen, and Fiona
SkyeBlue and FalaPink
SkyeBlue, Fiona, and Frodo

Baby Arwen