Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week 10: Baby's Blanket

Recently, I was reading Mary Oliver's latest book of poetry, A Thousand Mornings, Poems. Reading her poems is like having a conversation with a song. Oliver's poems are about common things that make life beautiful or real... window sills and chubby robins... or coffee and sunbeams... about the love of a child...about fear and sadness. The impetus for this week's Book-of-the-Week, Baby's Blanket came from two things: an old watercolor landscape I had been saving, and Mary Oliver's poetry. 
A patchwork paper cover with letterpress title plate and little hearts...
Another stiff-leaf book, Baby's Blanket is constructed from a watercolor painting of a winter landscape done by one of my children years ago. The watercolor landscape had been kept safely in a box in the closet for the past 15 years... seen daily by the dust mites and the silverfish, and every decade by me when I was hunting some family relic. Recently I pulled it out into the daylight and decided to use it as illustration for this book. I cut it into three pieces and wrote a poem about a particular snowy day in my memory. Then I printed the poem onto the triptych using antique Cheltenham type and a Vandercook letterpress. This is the poem Baby's Blanket...

Page 1
On the morning of your birth,
the snow fell
A soft white baby's blanket
covering the earth

Page 2
It was mid-March and the sun
had shown warm and bright
the day before.
I was filled with energy
and anticipation of your coming
I mopped the floors
and cleaned the house.

Page 3
On the morning of your birth
the sky alit
with the pure white beauty
of a snow-covered landscape
and you.

   It's March now and spring is probably here... last week there was snow in the Northeast and we had some cold nights and nippy days. But today in North Carolina the sun is shining, trees are budding, daffodils have been blooming for weeks and we're back to daylight savings time... It's the time of year the earth is reborn. It is the birthday for the earth!

...And I have ordered my seeds for the garden, have begun to burn the last of the kindling in the studio woodstove, and have tidied up the winter's debris of fallen tree limbs and piles of leaves. We are painting things around the house and making lists of Things to Do. It's time to get ready for the party that is spring in North Carolina... a time of year that promises healthy gardens, blooming flower beds, and peaceful natural beauty... the wonderful youth of the year. I wish you a wonderful spring in your own area... and a rebirth of hope, joy, industry, and art!

...and to my darling son, born March 16,  1980... Happy Birthday!