It’s been over a month since I traveled back from Washington. I sat down to write this post so many times, but it seemed to come up short. I don’t know that I could write about it with the soul space it really created for me. When I wrote about claiming my contentious label of Artist, I was just starting to process our journey.
This experience was quiet, grounding and enriching. I would love you to hear about it, but it’s almost hard to give away the memories to a public space. It was a sweet, sweet weekend with one of my dearest friends and my mom.
As I drove the rental car from SeaTac in the light rain north, we moved out of the dense city and the mountains seemed to rise out of the fog and darkness. The freeway shone like a beacon leading to the sweet life of my dear friend, Tara. She and her husband, Brennan live on a little parcel of land in the Skagit Valley. They raise a clutch of chickens, have a few sheep and lambs and are the homeplace to Well Fed Farms.
She opened the door, before we were ever out of the car. And I saw her glorious belly carrying a petit bebe. She tucked my mom and I in to a cozy little bedroom and then padded down the original hardwood of their hallway toward her kitchen. Her midcentury house seems like it still embraces the traditional, functional, winsome life it was created for. It smells faintly of woodsmoke, fresh air and vanilla and it invites you to settle deeply into your life– something, you rarely experience these days. Perhaps, it’s the landscape from which it rises or the people that intentionally inhabit the space, this house seems the carry the current of calm. If you have ever been to the Skagit, you know the the landscape is, indeed, indescribable.
Our first day there we poked around the area and haunted little villages filled with so much goodness. I have no idea how long it has been since I spent the day in the much-needed frivolity of ingesting beauty: cafes, quirky art stops, breadsmiths, book stores, coffee shops, vintage finds, conversations and memories. All with the back drop of grey skies, mountains and evergreen trees.
Can we talk? Please, just go to Tweet’s Cafe in Edison, WA. Tweet’s menu changes weekly based on what is available and what is in season. Eat breakfast, talk about real life for two hours. It is life changing. Then go get french macaron’s (or if you can eat bread, by all means go get bread, but don’t tell me about it) next door at BREADFARM. Then stalk the amazing artist work the Lucky Dumpster.
Before you know it, we were at the Train Wreck Bar for an early happy hour– before prepping our class for the next day. The food was amazing. You should drive to Washington just for a plate of their stupid-good edemame with brown butter and caramelized soy sauce.
You will thank me.
On Saturday to the Country Living Expo, I pulled my coat around me tightly, it was chilly for this Californian– wow, it didn’t take long for me to acclimate to the climate, did it?
We walked into the Stanwood High School gym to get our class materials and I realized what a huge operation this was, there were so many classes to organize and people to get to the right place! There were all sorts of classes to choose from Dahlia growing, Square Foot gardening, kidding and lambing, beekeeping, natural yarn dyeing, farm business classes. I could have gone to every session and learned something new, exciting and vitally important.
Each class held it’s own spark of joy. Our first session, The Family Milk cow was just for ideas and learning because, I am not sure we’re allowed a milk cow at in our mobile home park. I sketched some ideas for prints and, basically, just soaked up the cow and landscape photos.
And we learned a ton from the working-chemist and owner Holly of Holly’s Harmony. Her class was fascinating– I don’t know if I’m ready to take on the the responsibility of working with Lye to actually make soap. But with our notes, I may be able to eventually make soap, if I get up the courage.
We taught two sessions of Needle Felting. I was very new to the craft, so Tara led the way. She is a teacher through and through. She takes a could-be complex subject and thinks of all the ways to make it accessible and satisfying. She planned, coordinated and moved this craft into a place that you could just pick it up and go forward. I was so glad to help her facilitate this new exciting craft and open up a whole hobby (dare I say, addiction?!) for some of them.
The people I met seemed very connected. Connected to the land and to their communities, each person we met, had a connecting thread to another. Each person trying to make a good, honest life, living and livelihood.
One vendor really impressed me with his craftsmanship, Mark from Two3Woodworking brought incredible cutting boards and carved spoons for the vendor show. I picked up one of his hand carved spoons for Eric for Valentines day. We use it as a coffee scoop and it measures 12 grams, every damn time. And it’s lightweight, sturdy and so lovely. It is something that is utilitarian that I look forward to using every morning.
I ran into knitter Carol Losi in the restroom, she was wearing this striking hand-knitted scarf. She told me that she was the pattern tester for Vanessa Polo pattern called the Lluna Shawlette. And isn’t Carol luminous on a grey day?
Before you knew it, the day was over. With all this amazing information tucked in our back pockets we drove through the dusk to the Skagit Valley Food Coop in Mount Vernon for some treats and coffee. I really think they should make a food coop smell for a scented candle. All spices, coffee, produce and patchouli… I got gluten free ginger cookies the size of my face. Ohhh my… I should try to hack that recipe.
We packed up and said goodbyes early the next morning. And I felt like I had lived a lifetime in those two full days. I felt like we were really watching the weaving of thread, energy and connection. Just the energy, artistry and integrity of the people we met was a lifetime of inspiration. I wish that you will get to experience such a life giving weekend someday, it was such a blessing for me.