She's talented.

My niece picked up a hula hoop yesterday and rocked it with apparent ease, a big ol' satisfied smile across her face as it went round and round. Of course, it eventually wobbled its way down around her ankles, but she picked it back up - her grin never fading - and gave it another go. In my head I was thinking, "she's so talented." Outloud I said, "I don't have the hips for it."

Then, I remembered all the conversations with people I've had along the same vein about art and reminded myself I'd never given hula hoop more than a couple minutes before losing patience with myself.

With hula hoop, the apparatus has to be available. My niece has access to one, felt that spark, and practiced practiced practiced (also, I've seen her grandma rock a hoop too and grandmas are pretty much the greatest source of spark in the whole world).

The amazing thing about art is the apparatus is everywhere. You can draw in the dirt with a stick, dig through the garbage for sculpture or collage pieces (you don't even need scissors you can just tear!) and things to draw on, bend sticks into nests, stack rocks, paint with just about anything that leaves a stain or scrape and on and on. The only barrier to entry is a big dumb brain that says you must produce something breathtaking for Instagram or some other purpose. Shut that thing off and enjoy the process! That's what it's about.

Next time I'm around a hula hoop I will remind myself that.

All In

I probably lingered backstage longer than I was supposed to (mostly frozen in awe at how fast my kid is growing - in so many amazing ways), but I'm so happy to have caught this moment. No adult prompted them, they just all put their hands in the middle and released with a cheer. It was the beginning of me melting into a huge pile of mush. I saw the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker on Friday and, beautiful as it was, these kids put on a better performance. Perfection just can't compete with imperfection.  

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Character Sketch - Sarah

Sarah shifted her weight behind the podium to her right leg, pinching off her bladder as the heat and pressure of suppressed laughter bore down. She shifted back to the left. The heat rose to her chest and then her throat. After the words escaped her mouth, she bit down hard on her right cheek in a last-ditch effort to stop her body from erupting. It worked. She felt powerful.

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Lummi Island - Thanksgiving Nest

We went to my Aunt and Uncle's on Lummi Island for Thanksgiving. The possibilities for outdoor sculptures there are endless. Mossy trees, pre-historic sized ferns, branches galore, fallen leaves. I settled on a recently chopped stump. At first, the nest resembled an orange tree fungi. I really liked the layers of the greens contrasted against the crumpled brown leaves. Life springing from death and vice-versa. The back became an web of twigs, corridors of orange light shining through the nest cavity. The front began to morph into a heart inspired by my Uncle. He makes (among other amazing things) awesome valentines where hearts are stealthly inserted into whatever scene is being depicted. All my grandma's children are converging this week to place her ashes in Lakeview Cemetery. I thought of her and them while building - it was definitely a labor of love.

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Valentine by David King

Valentine by David King

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Harstene Island Nest

Today, I had a little help building a nest on the beach from my friends, which was really cool!  Michelle was tentative at first - she didn't want to "break it." It's hard to break something you have no plan for, ha! So no worries there. Plus, my favorite part is when things fall apart.

A twig breaks, then another and another. After some time, I figure out which ones are brittle and which aren't. If they are all brittle, I have to figure out ways to make them work. Sometime the whole damn thing crumbles to the ground (profanity follows) - repeatedly - forcing me to rebuild and look at the whole project in a new way. It's so fun. It started to pour today, but I couldn't stop. I spent almost 3 hours building this sucker and enjoyed every minute.

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The hardest goodbye

I promise to post happier photos in celebration of my grandma's life soon, but right now I'm still stuck in this moment where I could feel the warmth of her head against mine.

I don't know if you remember the full moon last Thursday (10/5), but I will never forget it. It was bright, crisp and powerful. I hosted a women's circle that night and we talked about coming face-to-face with the obstacles holding us back in life. I didn't yet realize that, at that moment, my grandma was also working to smash past her own obstacles and make it to the other side. 

My grandma was always, ALWAYS, well put together. I have memories of her sitting at her dressing table brushing powder on her face from when I was a small child all the way up through her early 90s. It didn't matter if she had a cello performance that night or was just heading down the stairs for a day at home, she looked radiant.

Even in her final hours, her glamour shined through in ways I'd never noticed before. Studying her ear I realized what an incredible and beautiful instrument it was, the curve and shape completely unique. Because she was so frail, the undeniable power of her heart was also exposed. I watched as it worked to keep her alive and gave her strength to open her eyes as her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren arrived and said their I love yous.

On Saturday (10/7), surrounded by three generations, she very gracefully took her last breaths. I feel so lucky to have had such a close relationship with her and to have been there holding her hand. I know she had a long and full life and was ready to move on to the next journey on her path, but all I want in this moment is more time with her hand in mine.

Heather Brincko