Watch for signs. That's what mystics and people who believe there's another layer of knowing say when they talk to others about finding a way forward. Be still and watch for signs they say.
Hurricane Lee passed through yesterday and in the days leading up to its arrival, we noticed a lot of bird activity. Dozens of small birds swarmed the side yard—a herd of wrens?
And fishing boats all along the East Coast reported small birds—hundreds of them—flitting about their boats. Like nothing they'd ever seen, they said.
Maybe was the storm pushing them northward, maybe they're migrating.
For the past few weeks I've been looking for something to make. A hands-on project. Something that doesn't require a lot of new tools and isn't too difficult to learn or master. Something I can pick up when I need a distraction and easily set aside when I'm busy.
And above all, something that won't add inches to my waistline.
I'd been considering paper mache and got excited about cardboard sculpture, but couldn't (wouldn't) commit.
Until this week, when I decided to go with paper mache.
For two reasons.
1. We've been walking early in the morning and have stopped to talk with the man delivering newspapers. We've seen him delivering papers ... for years. Even had the paper delivered for a while. Last week when we stopped to talk, he gave us a copy of the Sunday paper. The following Tuesday he dropped a newspaper on our porch. I'm sure it's a soft-sell sales push to encourage us to sign up for delivery, but nonetheless, I was thinking about paper mache and had no newsprint (a crucial ingredient). Now I do.
2. And, then, once I had the newsprint, the birds appeared. They're everywhere.
Are these signs?
Who knows, but when I decided to jump in with a small project, I decided to make a bird.
Entirely freestyle. I'm not even sure what kind of bird it is, but I'm leaning toward a crow. It's taken days to get this far: build the shape, add strips of newsprint soaked in paste, let it dry overnight. Add another layer. Wait. Repeat.
It's a slow process, but it's rewarding to see the bird come together.
Once he's got his feet on the ground, I may commit to more ... unless, of course, there's a sign pointing me in a different direction.
What do you think? A coincidence or a sign? I'm not sure, but it's definitely more compelling to think of it as a sign.
If you're interested in paper mache, this is a good starting point. I'm using the glue/water mix. Seems easier and less fussy that the flour mixture ... and it doesn't spoil.
To see the paper mache process, paper artist Diana Parkhouse posts videos and offers advice. Her small-scale animals are a delight.
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