A Lesson in THINGS


This morning, I learned a little lesson about THINGS.

This comes ironically the day AFTER I snapped a pic of a thick glass bowl full of treasures and trinkets. They were the topic of an article I had just written in Druid City Living, the little paper I love to write for in my “Lake Living” Column.

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The things were mostly meaningless without the story behind them, from places known and some I have to admit, unclear. My curious kitten sent the bowl crashing to my desk in a thunderous plunk and a pile of mess just where I was typing.

Until now, it sat on my windowsill between me and the sunshine. I glance at it now and then, remembering the times my babies (now grown) gnawed on a small melodic, silver rattle. It is nestled among feathers gathered from my parakeets and chickens as well as sheddings from gulls and a bluebird. It is accented by dried leaves, bright orange rock fragments from North Carolina, a golf tee and marker from Mountaintop, a small Bible with a magnifying glass tucked in the back cover that I got as a child. Sand dollars, some broken, some glued to a piece of wood. Sticks, mostly in shapes that spoke to me while I meandered a labyrinth with my best friend just before brain cancer sent her to a better place.

EF67B0E5-6F74-425D-B873-7562102A8704The slow motion movement from the bowl and the twice as fast dart of the cat is still engrained in my mind. A reminder that we can contain our things, but life still has a way of breaking our concentration, unleashing what is important.

I yelled at the cat, I screamed out loud. I watched in horror as he scrambled to the floor, then spoke aloud, “What is MY DEAL?”
BDA68D24-56AA-40BF-BA25-5452098EA62FSomehow, instead of cleaning it up, I ended up in my closet FILLED with trinkets, books and treasures. I sat on the floor. I took out a box I have carried around since I discovered it in the back of my mother’s closet. A glimpse into the life of the uncle I would never know, killed at age 18 in World War Two. Without his death my mother would have never been adopted. I would have never been. I snapped this pic of the box, the pic of, he, his mother and his sister at the time, before my mother was even a thought. The envelope returned to sender with the words “Missing in Action”.

I resolved today that things should either be displayed, shared (as in a museum) for some purpose, or TOSSED. I cringe at the third option. I used to rummage for hours in the upstairs rooms of my grandparent’s abandoned home. They closed it up, left every thing there after Allen died. What remained were things such as this chair, these photo albums, items of someone’s glorious yesterdays, avoided, forgotten.0E9266F3-0344-47AC-8973-40BC77A4D2E1

I scraped up the tiny shards of glass only after snapping a pic of the pile too. I could not deny that there was beauty among that mess as well. This pile of glass reminded me, even on my desk, of tiny grains of Alabama Gulf Coast beach sand where I collected so many of these things.

E8541A48-5734-45F7-B505-58F6D2C3BED6As I sorted to add them to a “non-breakable” plastic topped box I remembered some of the places I had stopped to snatch these things: a rock in a creek bed in Norcross, Georgia at a horse farm; a butterfly I vowed to wear in my hair if we bought it in Ashville, NC; A crystal ornament I couldn’t pack away at Christmas; a lock of my daughter’s blonde hair tied in mesh; shale looking items and sticks from the beach (because those are more rare there than shells); a paper American flag; a cork from our first anniversary.

We may think things will make us happy. Yes, these did, somehow, but they cannot replace the memories of the moments that go with them.

I culled a few shells. Perfect, hand picked, store bought shells I rescued from our beach house the week before my mother sold it with everything in it. I also took the less perfect ones I would often add to her “decor” collection, remembering the coolness of the water on my feet as I would search for them at the water’s edge. She probably doesn’t remember what catalog she bought those from. But I remember every creak, every uneven tile in the beach house floor when I look at these. I remember the home of my childhood that proceeded the newer version. The sleeping porch, the spiral stair, the wood balconies. The humming of my grandmother, the unusual softness of my grandfather’s fingers as he swirled his cane while rocking in his rocker. All of those memories simply triggered by a large rock my daughter, now 20, painted on a day when it was too cold to go outside when we lived there along the water’s edge in Gulf Shores. (We would also paint hermit crabs and release them in the bay across the street). I am pleased to discover I do draw a limit in my treasure collection.

Which brings me back to the lesson of things. None of these were elaborate gifts, jewels or shiny treasures. Even the rattle is coated in black. They are mere triggers for the memories that I hold dear.

I could toss them. But for now, I’ll just move them to a safer place. After all, the article I wrote just before this one was all about USING your treasures, making them a part of your every day life.

Looks like I’ll just have to keep the cat out of the china closet, because if I have it, I’m gonna start using it and quit saving it for that someday that might just never come.

Have a blessed, wonderful happymess ~memory making life!

Allison

 

 

SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS ~ Adult Coloring = Southern Style


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It’s here! The SOUTHERN version of that relaxing thing you keep reading about and seeing on the news. ADULT COLORING BOOKS! Tested by a business professional in a high stress, computer oriented business who said, “I am actually coloring at night before I go to bed and I haven’t slept like this in years!”

But coloring isn’t just for relaxation. It also connects us with the thing we did most when we were children. We played without thought of time or limitation.

It opens the rusty valves of creativity that still live within us. Check out the book and see if you don’t find yourself looking for more to color!

These are HAND drawn, loose, so there is no intimidation to get it wrong! DIG IN with pencils or markers.

The pages are blank on the back (with ideas for other creative adventures) so you can tear them out when you find the one you want to share or frame.

So what are you waiting for? There is a FREE coloring page for you just in time for

THE KENTUCKY DERBY

and

MOTHER’S DAY

Downloadable to your printer at the website for SOUTHERN SCRIBBLINGS (www.southernscribblings.com)

PRINT ONE for you and your daughter, grand-daughter. And share in the love of coloring.

They will be asking you what took you so long to learn to “chill”. Just sayin’!

Have a BLESSED Weekend!

 

Allison Adams

And this is the first copy of a series so if you have requests or ideas on how to improve the process, I’m in creative mode! Send it to me!

Free Spirit


Free Spirit

I sold this one this week at the Druid City Art Festival

Lake Living: Art In Nature


I have found, in living on the beach as with living on the lake, that while we can set up tent on the shores of nature, God is in complete control. While residing for three years on West Beach in Gulf Shores, I became in tune with every breeze, display of sunset, and the ease of unwinding into the end of a day. I was aware of each popup storm that blew past, as it tossed umbrellas and spewed sand. We were forced to move inland at least three times because of hurricane threats and tropical storms, towing dogs, cats and kids. For the next 10 years, I lived in the city. I found I lost count of sunsets and even the shape and size of the moon most of the time. 

This past month’s ice event shut that city down, showing us that we can prepare, but we can never be ready for everything that nature has in store. 

I was in my home on the lake the entire week of Snowpocalypse 2014. All became still on Lake Tuscaloosa the day after the snow blew across the South, although I have heard there was a pontoon out that afternoon to take in the white wonderland vistas from the water.

I watched as icicles formed, growing longer each day as the ice refused to melt. Tracks in the snow reminded me that these are not our woods. I actually had time to fill the bird feeder that I glance at on the way out the door to meetings and carpool, thinking maybe I should refill it, despite the squirrels. 

My dogs, who associate the woods with our camp house and freedom, we try to contain. Their excitement is buzzing as much as that of the kids in the neighborhood. Through their eyes we can re-connect with our inner child, embracing the magic of snow. 

On the lake, only a few days before the ice storm, I sat on my deck in shorts, soaking in the warm sunshine and watching a sailboat putter out to the point until it raised its sail, capturing the wind for fuel that would push it across the open water.

Each day, as I putter back to home base, tired and hungry, I am reminded why we live. As an artist, as well as a writer, I look at life as art. 

Colors are beautiful when they are significant,I read in “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri, beside a warm fire. He died in 1929, but any artist who has studied the notes from his classes realizes his wisdom is timeless. 

Life is beautiful when it is significant. Many of us live life being simply present. Quoting from Henri on a day when I have nothing else to do because I am locked in by Mother Nature, I write as I read, It takes wit, and interest and energy to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is a great activity. One must be open and alive. It is the greatest feat man has to accomplish and the spirits must flow.

Life and spirit, I am convinced while surrounded by it, flow most naturally in nature. 

I look back on the ten years in the city and while I loved that time, I am happy to be back in the throws of nature. While in Birmingham, we took the time to explore every restaurant, outdoor cafe, music festival, and cultural event that we could fit into our weekends. We would drag the kids along, all in the name of exposure to the things in life,to Bible studies, art shows, festivals, garage sales, and plays. We would have date nights to motorcycling spots, RV adventures, beer pubs, wine tastings and fundraisers. We lost sense of what God was doing outside of our self-orchestrated circle of life.

Today, just a few days after the ice has melted and a warm rain plummets on the roof across the rocky yard and into the lake, the waterfalls blast with activity to again remind me of the power of nature. Just beyond the hilltops I catch a glimpse of one ray of sun piercing through a cloud as it illuminates the water for only a second before fading back to shadow. 

Tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, or whenever Mother Nature agrees to move onward, I will make a point to step beyond the porch and find what that moon has been up to. Again, I have lost track. Maybe right now I am missing a rainbow as I write. Art is always being created by nature even when we arent looking.

Heres hoping you have a peaceful run-in with nature. Until we meet again, be sure to gather those photos of you and your love of nature, the lake, or your love for anything for that matter. Because in life, the greatest of all is love, and it is February, the month for no excuses!

Photo: Allison Puccetti Adams

Colors of the Lake acrylic, by Allison Adams. 

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www.allisonpadams.com

MUNDANE MONDAY~ Mundane to Magical


SOMEHOW~ I missed the MUNDANE MONDAY writer’s prompt.
It read like this: 
Monday, Nov. 12 – From Mundane to Magical. Sometimes we can find inspiration in the most mundane moments, such as the wisdom I gleaned from cleaning out my closet. (You can read that post here: http://www.soulinstereo.com/2011/06/monday-motivation-in-closet.html) Take some time to think back on life lessons you’ve learned while doing seemingly dull or ordinary tasks or while out enjoying nature. 
So I looked around for something MUNDANE.   (as I had not fully read the description of our assignment).
At the time I was at the beach.
I thought about taking a walk by the ocean. I noticed yellow tape at the edge of our dunes, and bulldozers, about a dozen or so, parading back and forth to level the sand being pumped from the ocean to build back the hurricane ravaged beaches. So I sat and watched them for a few minutes, amazed at how fast and furious they worked all through the night. No mundane THERE!
I thought of sitting on the deck counting seagulls flying by.  Next door, the house that burned down over two years ago was being re-built and the crew was in full swing (set on fire by teens who thought they would distract the cops while they robbed the houses at the DEAD end road……they got stuck in the sand with all their loot and were caught, then went to jail for arson). NO mundane THERE!
This week on the holiday weekend the owners of what has been a vacant lot decided to put the roof on what has turned out to be a three story towering sunset blocker with walkover to the beach. I went through it after the workers left. There have to be ten bedrooms in there, all with small windows. I don’t understand that at all. But the porches will certainly give them plenty of view. Fortunately, the view to our house is something like looking down from a small plane. They will be able to see my bald spot if ever I get one. NO mundane THERE.
I thought, I’ll sweep the floor or do some laundry. That is my definition of mundane. But as I noticed all the sand, the dog bones, the shreds of paper that my daughter used for a collage, the rubber squares aligned from the kitchen to the den that she was also playing with, I thought, about all of the fun we had collected over the long weekend. Certainly sweeping wouldn’t be mundane! It would be like a scavenger hunt. 
So I perused the kitchen for something mundane. There were Christmas tree shaped dolly Madison snacks, chips of every size and shape, shells glued to a piece of paper from yesterday’s crafts. Nothing mundane about that! And then I spotted the one thing that made me think “ahhhhh”. 
There was a bowl of tomatoes, some green, some red, that I had bought on the way home from Dallas, Georgia the weekend before. I had displayed them on the counter at home in Birmingham and then carefully packed them to enjoy at the beach. As Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then Monday rolled by, they still sat there in the bowl. 
I thought about the joy of the tomato, not so mundane, but nonetheless intriguing. These I knew had come from the ground in a little town outside of Atlanta. They had been carefully planted by hand, tiny seeds, watered, nurtured. As the plants grew, someone reached into the green cover and popped them from their resting place on the vine and carefully arranged them in small bins to be sold to people like me. 
I stood in the kitchen looking at a bright red one, like the ones I used to plant in my garden in Montgomery. I remembered taking the time to tear open the seeds at the corner of the packet, seeds I had purchased along with those of cucumbers, watermelon, squash and zinnias (my favorite) one summer. My son who is now in college was only three. My hands were covered in black earth, his enveloped inside my gloves to keep from getting dirty. He helped me squish each one into the ground and water each hole.
When I moved to Birmingham I had two tomato plants by the pool. The vines grew up the fence and every once in a while I would see a glimpse of red through the leaves. That vine was right by the diving board, which would explain why I never got a chance to pick any of those. I saw them squished, tossed, splattered across the yard then eaten by the birds. Kids and gardens, nothing mundane THERE either.
So when I decided to slice those tomatoes that were so red and juicy, the seeds slid across the knife towards the plate. I slapped a wad of mayonnaise onto the top of it, scooped it up and ate it like I would a plum or an apple.
AAAAHHHHH GROSE, came from behind me as my daughter realized what I was eating.
Even eating tomatoes escapes the mundane at my house.
Allison Adams
 I Did NOT paint this but one day I will 🙂
I am guessing this is Paul Jackson’s but did not note for sure.
Allison is participating in a daily blog challenge. If you tweet, follow it or join in at #bloglikecrazy to read other participant’s entries. Also  she is taking part in ART EVERY DAY MONTH #AEDM2012. Check out those as well or visit http://www.creativeeveryday.comwww.creativeeveryday.com
to get involved.