Thursday, January 15, 2015

"that happy in the heaven of earth"

I got a book of poems by Mary Oliver out of our library a couple of days ago.  I love Mary Oliver.  With age, I think, comes a real affinity with, a real understanding of poetry.  Every word counts, painting a panorama in your mind.  I first heard of Mary Oliver from "The Road Home", an excellent 1-hour program on CKUA, a listener-sponsored radio station in Alberta. You can stream it, and you won't be sorry.  A more diverse mix of music on a public radio station just does not exist out there.  But I digress a little.

Here is Mary Oliver's poem, which I read this morning, entitled "Luke".

I had a dog
  who loved flowers.
    Briskly she went 
      through the fields,

yet paused
  for the honeysuckle
    or the rose,
      her dark head

and her wet nose
    the face
      of every one

with its petals
  of silk,
    with its fragrance

into the air
  where the bees,
    their bodies
      heavy with pollen,

  and easily
    she adored
      every blossom,

not in the serious,
  careful way
    that we choose
      this blossom or that blossom---

the way we praise or don't praise---
  the way we love
    or don't love---
      but the way

we long to be---
  that happy
    in the heaven of earth---
      that wild, that loving.

I feel this way towards quilts!  I could figuratively (and literally too, let's be honest) dive into them, head first, loving them all without judgement, without comparison.  Each one holds its own beauty; each one has been made with love, has been finished with wonder and pride and satisfaction.  Even the old 6" red and black squares wool quilt that was tied and made by my grandmother is worthy of wild love.  How I wish it was still around...the weight of it--!!  I recall many a time seeing my Uncle Bob taking a much-deserved nap on the couch under it...up with the sun, in the fields, "choring" cows, never-ending, back-breaking work.

Scraps of Calm has all her stitch in the ditch stabilizing done with Gutermann thread, her meandering done with Sulky Blendables in blue/teal/violet variegated, and some more intricate quilting started in the zigzags with Isacord.  I had to make a pitstop after yoga and dogwalking/lunch with John and Brandy today though, to buy a deeper shade of green thread for the mottled fabric.  I love the way the Isacord is stitching up!  I love the way this quilt is coming together!  Last night on FaceTime, Brady said, "Nana, know what you should knit on there?   Your name!"  He loves that I quilted his name on his I Spy quilt very prominently, outlining it with pebbling.  I also quilted it into the meandering on that quilt as well as on his Christmas quilt--our secret, so we always know they are HIS quilts, is what I told him.  What a profound and appreciative child to think of ensuring that I do that on my own quilt.  He also asked if I was going to sleep under it last night.  Incredible boy.  He's 6.

We also had to make a second pitstop at Alma Sue's, my, well, one of my LQS's!  Deep in the Amish area of Sarasota, I love going in there, see the ladies handquilting around the frame, hear the Dutch (I think) being spoken.  I was on the hunt for some flannel for the backing for Uncle Bob's quilt.  Talk about being, to paraphrase Mary, "wildly happy" when I found THIS:

Uncle Bob is, always has been, and always will be a horse lover.  This is flannel.  It is masculine.  It is not juvenile. It is perfection.

What's with the pink and bluey-lavender fabrics?  Um ya.  They were $5/yard!  And they are in the Tula Pink City Sampler I'm making, as well as the one I made last winter, Over and Under.  I'm nearly out of scraps of the pink, and I'd never seen the blue, so 1/2 yard each for now just jumped onto the cutting table (ya, I might be going back! I'm thinking binding...backing maybe...she had a ton of each of these).

So, like Luke, I am bounding around with happiness and anticipation at finishing up Scraps of Calm, quilting Dell and June, and maybe sewing a few more of those 100 Tula Pink blocks!!

Confession:  I really am "that happy in the heaven of earth--that wild, that loving" of my life, and I feel so very blessed.  Thankful on Thursday.  Indeed.


  1. Can't wait to see your Scraps of Calm all quilted up. I really like what you quilted in the light green.

    It is always fun to find that perfect fabric and it seems that today was your day!

  2. Oh yeeees, Grandma's quilt! I have only very vague memories of that. What a shame it's not around, just wore it out?! It'd be almost 100 years old today!

    Uncle Bob will LOVE that, great choice and meant to be! :D

  3. I knew exactly what Mary Oliver meant with her poem. It is a beautiful, thought provoking poem. Thank you for sharing it with us. Sandra, you are wonderful at painting pictures with words too! Quilting really is a bit of that heaven of earth - I feel that way too. I'm glad we're not quilt show judges, because it is much more fun to enjoy it in a "wild love" kind of way.
    Great fabric for Uncle Bob's quilt back! It will be so very soft and warm too.

  4. You wrote that post, around the poem, quite beautifully. I like how you went from the poem to your quilting experience. Thank you.


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