Circles (April 15-21, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

I am so happy to be sitting here in the sunshine that is coming through the window, with warmth on the way.  Today, I am brief, and will let the paintings and the words speak for themselves...

("Feeling full of love for our two boys, deeply aware of the gift of their lives, and all of the joy, adventure, teachings, laughter, and growth they bring to us every day. There are just not enough words...")

("How do we find strength and courage to go back down and pull out shards left behind long ago, awaiting their tender extraction? Wishing you all gentleness in this process, whether within yourself or in the witness and support of others in this midst... trust that there is relief when that new space is made, enabling healing and new growth.")

("Tired noggin this morning, and who knows what this is, lol... conjures up a mix of Jack and the Beanstalk and Dr. Seuss... perhaps we all could use some magic beans!

("Seeing violets come up each spring always makes me remember the joy of picking them for my mama on the way home from kindergarten, where they filled the big field I crossed. I soaked up the freedom of walking alone in this wide open space, abundant with beauty. I can distinctly recall the delight of them filling my small hands... one, thin, fragile stem at a time, the anticipation of giving them to my mother building with each step. She always acted so surprised (even though not an uncommon occurrence for this mother of 8), and placed them reverently in a small porcelain pitcher which had the face of a woman carved into it, a piece she had treasured since she was a girl of five, and which now sits on my shelf. This small ceremony of exchange taught me that simple things are potent in their meaning and can speak louder than words.")

("Yesterday I spent 8 hours at the base of these rocks, trying to capture through photograph the courage, patience, tenacity, fear, and triumph of each child who climbed, and each parent who either was on the other end of the tethered ropes, or standing breathlessly below, watching, waiting, and encouraging as their child got into harness, and inch by inch, made their way up these formidable and beautiful walls. I was moved to tears as I witnessed the pushing through of intense fear (children and parents!), and the basic sense of trust that was tested throughout... I am so grateful for our Red Oaks Forest School, and for Tina Ladeur Brouwer and Emily Ventura for sharing their expertise and joy of climbing through this amazing opportunity for our kids. So many diverse gifts come from being out in the middle of nature!")

("Last evening we had the privilege of attending the author reading and art/oral history exhibit, “Rooted Words: Kentucky Writers on the Land”, am amazing compilation of oral histories and watercolor portraits created by artist, author, and friend, Arwen Donahue. As we listened to music and poetry shared by a collective of the featured authors, I was absorbed into the palpable connection to their farms, woods, and homesteads— moved by the power of words to convey the most profoundly personal and universal of experiences. I felt gratitude that my oldest son and his friends had the chance to soak up the imagery, experience, and energy of the authors and artist, growing their appreciation for the incredibly deep well of talent in the room. It reminded me to seek out opportunities that broaden my children’s understanding and appreciation for the wealth of artists, writers and musicians that call Kentucky home, and to ground them further in the beauty of the land on which we live. My hope is that they will carry this sense of place inside themselves, no matter where they choose to land.")

("Like the asymmetric nature of paper left unattended while it dried, I chuckle at how this mirrors the delicate dance of relationship, whether it be with spouse, children, family, or friends... the challenge of discovering ways to support one another through individual movement that affects the rhythm of the whole, and to look beyond the warped edges that at times, just are...")

Thank you all for following alongside on this journey.  I wish you all peace and goodness on this beautiful day and the week ahead!