“I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness — in a landscape selected at random — is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain … It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with the sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern — to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.” — Vladimir Nabokov, “Speak Memory”
© Mary Garner-Mitchell. Pastel on paper. “Flower Camp” garden in Buckingham County, Virginia
December, 2013 / As someone who can “smell snow” on its way, I feel in my bones the coming winter is going to be a cold one. But as the chill sets in, I have a good store of sunshine on my back and joy in my heart set aside to keep me plenty warm.
© Mary Garner-Mitchell. Sundown
Such fullness has me almost welcoming this change of season, as I reflect on the tapestry of experiences that were woven into my summer and fall. In early spring I sowed seeds of resolve to make the most of my time. It took some tending to, but I harvested a crop of experiences that only time allows. Time to hike a forgotten railroad tunnel and explore a forlorn and unforgettable grand estate with best friends. Time to putter in my garden for the better part of most mornings. Time – a whole wonderful week with my sister – reliving old and making new, precious memories. I played with pastels in a plein air class, and …
© Mary Garner-Mitchell. Charleston, SC
… spent a few days in Charleston (a city that has always haunted me — in a good way), right on the heels of digging in dirt where Dolley Madison and her kin once trod. Any one of these experiences, in prior years of twisted priorities, I might have made excuses to forgo. But I didn’t. I made a not-so-secret pact with myself to not believe in time as limited, but limitless.
© Mary Garner-Mitchell. “Twisted Twig”
November, 2014 / Obviously, I indulged myself in “taking time” to the extent that I didn’t even post the above musings, nor did I write a single entry into this blog over the ensuing seasons. Now I find myself an entire year later with an even heftier weft to add to the warp in this time tapestry. Yes the winter was as long and cold as spring was long and lingering. And the oncoming winter by all indications is to be the same. These months have been so full of activities, weekend retreats and extended travel. A wedding and ancestral search in northern Italy consumed much of the mid-year creative brain trust, but my, what a swath of color that trip weaves into the “magic carpet” ride that was this past year.
© Mary Garner-Mitchell. Gordon/Trible Wedding bouquet. Merate, Italy, 2014. Mary Garner-Mitchell floral design: hydrangea, David Austin and spray roses, dusty miller, seeded eucalyptus and vintage brooches.
Gardening took a back seat to many creative pursuits that I found as engaging, such as figure drawing and jewelry design and woodland hikes with kindred souls who like to study birds, tree bark, rocks and sky. Instructing a flower arranging workshop in September forced my hand at doing what I probably do best, followed by a long, solo visit with my mother, brother and sister in Georgia that reminded me of what is truly the most important thing in my world — family — my immediate family, of course, but not exclusive of all the loved ones that are the threads and binding of the thick carpet that daily warms my soul. Yes, I am “one lucky mortal.”
© Mary Garner-Mitchell. Flower Camp friends