Happy May Day and a Fire Project Update!
Happy May Day! Today represents the midway point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, a proliferation of LIFE as we slide through Spring’s many beauties! It’s also a really appropriate time for me to re-visit my Chamaenerion project: I am creating meaningful vessels glazed with the ashes sent to me by survivors of the California Camp fire last fall. It’s my hope to be able to gift them a relic, a piece that represents a new beginning with the memory of the old, a phoenix rising from the ashes. I’ve chosen fireweed as a symbol to use in this project, since it’s one of the first plants to grow in forest-fire depleted landscapes and help life return to the ecosystem. Getting good pinks and purples in the heat range I’m using can be challenging, so I couldn’t be happier with these little test bowls I just pulled out of the kiln! A wonderful May Day surprise indeed. As the fireweed sprouts in the burned forests all over the West, this project grows and develops. I’m currently in the process of sieving the ash samples that have been sent to me so far (and this is a gentle reminder to anyone who’s on the list that hasn’t yet sent you sample to me to please do so soon!) and will be able to begin glaze testing once that is completed. If you want to follow along with this project, just click the link above.
Something about offering a meaningful gift to help in the aftermath of trauma or tragedy has been a big factor of what I get involved with this year. Late last night I wrote a little bit about that. It’s a little more personal than what I usually share here, but I thought it was a good glimpse into just what makes my wheels turn:
A prismatic life is better for me than one of steel.
It seems as though people who have survived serious tragedy or trauma react in one of two ways: they either become hardened, distant, and cold, sometimes unwilling to really hear the suffering of others because it could never live up to their own pain. The second reaction is those that become softer, more sensitive, more empathetic. And while I can see the need for hardness in other people's healing when wounds are fresh and tender, I know that my tendency is to get ever-softer. It means that my heart breaks for the tragedies of others. It means that my PTSD gets triggered when I'm trying to be there for someone who needs to be heard. It means my walls never have time to grow before they are shattered. But looking at all of those shining pieces of broken walls, I feel a strange sense of gratitude to be *able* to feel, to be *able* to care, and to be reminded of just how I want to show up in this world. My superpower is feeling deeply, and my struggles were my training. (And re-shaping my feeling of "brokenness" in this way feels really empowering.)
Just some thoughts. I am breaking tonight for a stranger in pain, a story that I've allowed across my boundaries and given space to in my heart. Where I hold her and hope for her and try to help her if I can. I know I am not responsible to fix the world. But to find the cracks here and there and stick flower seeds in them is my way of being in a world that sometimes feels like it's crumbling. I believe I was given a second or third chance at life for a reason and I'm not going to waste it on goals that aren't aligned with my values on a deep level. The superficial died on that last night of agony and my lightened body was free to return from that tunnel to the internal screaming of "I'm not finished here yet." Damn right I'm not.
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