Warmest Wishes on a Rainy Autumn Day

As I sit and shiver in bare feet first thing this morning, I can hear the sparrows flitting under the eaves against the rain. Cars go by on the street, accompanied by the sound of streams and splashes after them. It is still wet and cold here in Missouri on this November day and all I can do is think of things I should be doing to stay warm. Things like tea and quilts and soup and steam. . .

It helps if you have a friend with magical powers as well:

Peter Paul Rubens-Old Woman with a Basket of Coal

As I look at this photo of Rubens’ chiaroscuro, I am reminded of what staying warm once meant to generations that came before, stories my mother told about going down to the railroad tracks before breakfast to gather coal for the stove on mornings like this.  I imagine my great-grandparents as immigrants, in their dark wool coats and scarves, their mittened hands grasping  at the dark and shining stones fallen alongside the shining steel and gravel.  I imagine how good it would have felt to be back inside, the scent of sugar being stirred into black coffee in the kitchen as they gathered at the table to give thanks.

Jozef Israels, Peasant Family at Table. Oil on canvas, 1882. Approximately 28" x 41". Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Here is to staying warm, to friends and family gathered around a table, saying thanks. Thanks for one more day of sustenance and shelter.

Dearest Readers (please post your links to images here as well if you wish),

*So what memories of warmth, thanks, and family do you carry in your heart? Have you explored this or a similar topic in your work? What about light and dark? Chiaroscuro?

Do you knit or crochet to stay warm? Maybe it’s cooking, quilting, or sewing that does it. Maybe it’s something as simple as chopping wood for a gorgeous roaring fire. How do you keep the tradition and history alive? What stories and keepsakes of warmth are you making for them now?

--Tess Farnham "Alice," original collage on paper

 

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4 responses

  1. Many years ago I went to a Longingberger (sp?) basket party and the lady giving the show had cornbags for sale as well as the baskets. They are the most wonderful bags. I started making them myself about twenty plus years ago and still make them today. You place them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and they give off moist heat for about an hour. I love to put one under the bed covers in the winter to keep my feet warm. Reminds me of the stories from my grandparents of warming bricks to heat the bed.

  2. It’s amazing how humans survived without our modern technology! In addition to my furnace and blankets, I cuddle with my Ogre to stay warm. Sometimes we drink Irish coffees and spiked hot chocolate, too. ;D

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