Circles (May 20-26, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

This week brought the end of our regular homeschooling year, and we are ecstatic to begin our summer schedule... my focus will be on making more art, especially encaustic sculpture, and preparing for my first solo show this upcoming fall.  I wish you all peace and the enjoyment of each other as you celebrate this holiday that signals the arrival of summer here...  I am aware of the profound privilege that comes with living in a free country, and feel deep gratitude for those that gave their service and lives to make this possible.  

("I could not at all think of what this circle brought to mind, until it hit me— the fabric of an apron my grandmother would have worn. She was born in 1904, and I did not know her deeply, but vividly remember her love of baking delectable strawberry rhubarb pies in her pink kitchen, and the sacred space she created in her urban back yard... the smell of Lily of the Valley brings me there to this day. My mother said she and her mom would go out in the backyard every morning, “to see what had changed from the night before”— I heard this bit shared over and over throughout my life, especially in my mama’s last years. It clearly gave her comfort to remember this simple ritual of morning time spent with her mother observing the wonders of nature. I am struck now with the power of its underlying message— that change is part of life, and that each and every day brings new possibility for growth.")

("Sometimes we know of other’s inner struggles, and sometimes we do not. This morning, I am beaming light into the darkness, hoping for love, healing, and hope to surround and bring peace. We can all shed this on one another, illuminating the inner light that is always there, and so hard to see in the midst of night.")

("We are on the road again, this time awakening under a roof of concrete in a large city, a day ahead filled with appointments... As we pulled into the hotel lot in the dark late last evening, my 14 year old son excitedly opened his new box of 99 cent colored chalk, and began drawing a huge eye on an empty parking space, wondering aloud if the falling rain would wash it away by morning or greet the first person to come upon this bit of art left to be discovered. It was not until I let my brush dip into the white, quickly followed by cobalt, that I saw the shape that emerged in my circle— and the power of influence we have on each other, even if just unconsciously, dawned on me. I was reminded by my son’s eagerness to not delay the joy of creating, and to let the outcome be rooted in wonderment, rather than worry.")


("How do we protect what we hold dear? As I was coming to the end of this painting, I sensed some light needed to be brought into the purple areas, and pulled some pigment off with my water-dipped brush... how I wish it were that easy to remove heavier parts of our lives. I then saw the bird image nestled around these darker parts, and was comforted by finding it. Birds can nest when they need protection and rest, and take flight when they are rejuvenated. Wishing you all sanctuary in the places and ways you find most sacred...")

("Each minute another rung on the ladder, I often ponder where I am going, what each day will bring... I reflect on what I will do with the time ahead, full of possibility on days I can hold on to that awareness and give it momentum. Other days, it can get lost in both the tiny and tremendous challenges of life, calling for time to rest gently in space, allowing for rejuvenation. Yesterday, our @redoaks_explorers group canoed down the Kentucky River. The day was as beautiful as any we could have hoped for, and we navigated the river fluctuating between my son digging his paddle as hard as he could from the bow, and me in the stern, intermittently putting my paddle into water to steer, back us out of places we need not have stayed, and of course, to assist :). We had many conversations about the fact that it was not a race to get down the river (except when it was, haha), and how there is much joy to be had in surrendering to the flow to carry us. As other families glided by, we offered encouragement, affirmations of their abilities, observations of wildlife and discarded objects discovered in the water, and a few retrievals of floating paddles released from relaxed hands. It was interesting to see the many ways we traversed the water, and to experience small pockets of solitude before rejoining the collective. The smiles were contagious as we shared the unspoken appreciation for the gift of this simple connection to nature and each other.")

("This title came through a response to a post the other day, and it occurred to me how much it describes the process of raising our children and growing ourselves— the gentle holding of what we already know to be familiar and true, and the trusting of the process that brings new things to light... I think there is most always some struggle that accompanies change, and remind myself that unforeseen goodness and growth most always comes, as well. I feel grateful for the example and connection with those that have forged these paths before, inspired and encouraged by their wisdom and perspective.")

("There is nothing quite like waking up the first morning of a new phase... for my family, it marks the beginning of summer — transition to different modes of learning, and a much needed opportunity for rest, play, and rejuvenation. After the initial buzz of cleaning and reorganizing the remnants of the past 9 months, I get to launch into my most concentrated time of year for art-making, and could not be more thrilled. I will delve further into my encaustic sculpture, and continue to explore its intersection with my circles. As anxious as I am to sprint out of the gates, I am aware that I must allow for space in between these bursts of effort and energy, as we all must, in order to keep going. Wishing you all momentum for what calls you, and vast spaciousness to surround you when needed...")