Moon Snail Shell # 85, watercolor painting

Moon Snail Shell # 85, watercolor painting

 

“See what a lovely shell
Small and pure as pearl
Lying close to my foot,
Frail, but a work divine,
Made so fairly well
With delicate spire and whorl,
How exquisitely minute,
A miracle of design.”
— Alfred Lord Tennyson, from “Maud”

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
— Kahlil Gibran

Bare feet -- a family

Tender, bare feet

” . . . barefoot, we’re almost always at peace.  We’re gentle and tolerant with our fellow man.  Stress and anxiety evaporate and grief itself seems bearable as long as our feet are free . . .”
— Barbara Holland, Endangered Pleasures:  In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences

Pottery Studio Tour

August 2, 2010

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”
     — Leonardo da Vinci 

Meeting St. John's University's master potter

Richard Bresnahan, master potter at St. John's University

Richard Bresnahan, a potter with his pots

The retreat participants were indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to meet St. John’s University’s master potter, Richard Bresnahan, and tour the remarkable pottery studio.  The studio was created over three decades ago in 1979, and since its inception it has embodied green principles and reverence for craft.  For example, the clay comes from local materials; the glazes are made of natural materials such as sunflower hulls and navy bean straw; the giant four-chamber kiln is made largely from recycled materials; and it is fueled with wood kindling made from dead fall trees in the St. John’s woods.  The structure and workings of the studio are the embodiment of Bresnahan’s philosophy of life and art.  It was a privilege to watch him work at the potter’s wheel. 

Pottery awaiting the next big firing in the kiln

"We are the clay, and Thou our potter, and we all are the work of Thy hand." Isaiah

"Things men have made with wakened hands, and put softly life into, are awake through years with transferred touch . . . D. H. Lawrence

Turning the wheel

"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran

"Peace comes from attending to every part of my world in a sacramental way." Joan Chittister, OSB

“More than that, manual labor, work with our hands, is work that makes everyone equal.  The rich do not sweep faster or better than the poor;  the educated do not wash clothes better than the illiterate;  the professional does not shovel snow more easily than the farm laborer;  the cleric does not change automobile oil with more delicacy than the mechanic.  Manual labor is humility is practice.”
     — from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today by Joan Chittister, OSB 

Richard Bresnahan at work

You can read more about St. John’s Pottery Studio at this link:  http://www.csbsju.edu/Saint-Johns-Pottery.htm.

Barefoot Days of Summer

June 19, 2009

Bare feet ready to walk the reflexology path at Bastyr University

Bare feet ready to walk the reflexology path at Bastyr University

“The frost was working out of the ground, and out of the air, too, and it was getting closer and closer onto barefoot time every day; and next it would be marble time, and next mumbletypeg, and next tops and hoops, and next kites, and then right away it would be summer and go-ing in a-swimming.”
     — Mark Twain

I never did run around barefoot too much in my childhood.  I think my mother thought there were too many hazards in the lawn and farm yard — broken glass, rusty nails, chicken poop from the free-ranging chickens, sharp stones and twigs… Yet I still associate bare feet with hot summer days.

I was reminded how rarely I walk around barefoot when my friend Ann and I took a short day trip to Bastyr University to walk the reflexology path there.  The path is a 64-foot length of embedded stones, and as you traverse it, you massage the points on your feet that correspond to vital organs, muscles, and nerves.  Needless to say, my normally shod feet are sensitive, and walking the path was a bit painful.  I trust that I realized some health benefits even though I do not understand much about reflexology.  But I’d volunteer for a foot massage any day.

Slowly walking the reflexology path

Slowly walking the reflexology path

Reflexology foot chart from Bastry University

Reflexology foot chart from Bastyr University