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I am UmberDove.

And by that, I mean an artist.  One who hears stories in the wind, who paints because it is what her soul tells her to do, who smiths because the muse moves through her fingertips, who loves nothing more than the promise of an unexplored trail, the sound of the ocean in her ears, and scent of a serious cup of coffee.


Sketchbook Writings


It was entirely too delicious out to hole up inside today, even though my studio is spanking clean and looks like one of those kitchen photographs that are too perfect to believe anyone actually uses the oven. That will change all too soon, but for the moment, I'll glory in all that is fresh and squeaky.


I left the house today with the singular intention of Serious Errand Running, you know, pick up the mail, grab some epson salt, buy two more finch sock bird feeders (the original feeder suffered the craftiness of the crows who managed to sling it up and over it's bough, then rip huge gashes in the fabric in order to gluttonize on the sweet sweet taste of thistle seed.  I can never find it in me to be upset at the crows; I have too much love for their iron will to thrive).  But when I tossed my sketchbook in the back seat of the Jeep, I knew other plans would arise.

I needed to write, to pour out the words that were bound up tight between my ribs, shortening my breath.   I also needed coffee and and an almond croissant, but the words were what gave me back my joy.  And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to share it with you in the name of all things honest.

- From my sketchbook writings, November 1st 2010 -

Last week dragged me through more mud than I was prepared to admit.  I thought I had finally learned how to deal with chemo, learned what to expect, learned that I could lay low for a couple days after an infusion and then jump right back on the fast track to Doing.  To Work.  To Life.  But this last round, this new drug, snuck up on me like a snake in the grass: I was striding freely, raising my head to greet the dawn, the first break of light blinding my face when he bit me hard in the achilles.  I fell and forgot how to crawl.
I'm climbing this ladder to nirvana, this ladder of self-discovery and self-truth.  I've learned a certain gentleness I've never know over these past few months; I've surprised myself with how carefully I can hold my own soul.  My feet have found their steadiness on this particular rung, and the words I've tried out now feel comfortable on the tongue.  Be Easy.  Forgive.  Your worth remains an untapped source.
But we are never static creatures.  And what worked before will not always work now.  The discomfort and exhaustion of now requires a new looking glass entirely.  And so I must reach up a hand and grab the next rung, feel my fingers grip firmly and trust that the ladder will hold even though the sunlight dazzles my eyes and my knees shake.
I think that's the key.  To see clearly, to observe myself from across the room and say "you there, sitting straight-backed and cross-legged.  You ARE where you are intended to be and these trials are lessons if you can only see them.  These events may etch themselves on your skin but they do not determine who you are.  
You are still worthy, 
still progressing, 
still creative, 
still lovely, 
still filled with light,
still exactly who you are meant to be."
I would wrap myself in a prayer flag made of kindness so that with every step I took, the wind would carry that message to the four corners of the earth, alighting like raindrops on the eyebrows of every person reaching blindly upward for that next handhold.