You are always on your way to someplace wonderful if you will just allow it. Abraham-Hicks
We had finished stitching our hand-bound books together and were beginning to put away art supplies as the December 2012 Book Art Club in Joy Center’s creativity room was winding down, when Amber, our co-teacher, reached into a bag. Her mother had bought it four or five years ago, she said, at a store in Cadillac, Michigan, back when she was altering old books by painting and collaging in them. And somehow, this one that Amber was now handing to me at Joy Center a few weeks ago had ended up in a paper bag that her mother had brought to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for Amber, who also was creating art books by altering old existing ones. As Amber placed it in my hands, she explained that somehow neither she nor her mother had painted in this one, and, as she was sorting through things this past month, she noticed it and thought of me. It was the title that drew her in my direction. Maine Lines were the words scrawled across the pine-colored cover of this book from the early 1970’s, this anthology of poems by authors who had lived in Maine.
Amber surmised that I would love this book of poems from my home-state, with its images of sea and shore and the people who settled its craggy coast, but she wasn’t prepared for my reaction. “Amber!” I gasped. “Did you know that my Uncle Dick, my uncle, who was married to my father’s twin, my uncle who lived on the other side of the Point, just a footpath away from my mother’s cottage, was editor of this book!?!” Of course, she didn’t know. Sometimes I even forget that my tall lean Uncle Dick, who taught English to high school students and raised chickens and rode the ponies and renovated the barn at the family homestead was a well-known poet in Maine. So we stood there, Amber and me and the other participants in Book Art Club, flabbergasted.
How does that happen?!? How does it happen that a book that my uncle edited during my childhood years, one that I’d never seen or heard of, made its way to lower Michigan, to an address pressed into the cover page with a stamp, then to a used bookstore, and then to Amber’s mother, who somehow didn’t choose to alter it, and then across the bridge to the Upper Peninsula, to Amber’s house where it had sat in a bag for more than two years? How does it happen that this book found its way back to me, who now lives thirteen hundred miles from that craggy coast in Maine, at just this moment? The perfect moment. Because it was the perfect moment for me to receive such a gift, not only the gift of poetry by Maine authors both familiar and new to me, but also the reminder that my Uncle, who passed on in the mid-1990’s, is my mentor now as I gather my poems and essays and stories about that same piece of land that we both lived on into a book.
It is like that when we expect our lives to be filled with wonder, when we allow the wonder to fill in – in its own wonderful way. All we have to do is set our intentions, in general terms: May this be the best-feeling day. May our creativity flow. May laughter fill us to the rim. May we have fun. May our hearts sing a buoyant tune. May we be healthy and vibrant and filled with radiant energy. May we appreciate the abundance that is here for us always. May we love deeply. All we have to do is set our intentions, and allow the universe to fill in the details, in ways that surprise and delight us. I brought the book back to Maine with me in mid-December, showed it to my cousins and told them the story. My cousin, Karen, Uncle Dick’s stepdaughter, found the jacket, with its handsome photo of Uncle Dick on the back, for me to wrap around the hard cover. And the book, Maine Lines, now sits beside its unfinished friend, my Maine story, and Uncle Dick and these poems and their authors from the book that he edited are cheering me on as I revise and polish my own creation.
So here’s to a life of wonder, of allowing the details, the details that seem improbable to our human minds, to appear to us in ways that delight and thrill and inspire us again and again and again. And Joy Center is someplace wonderful, someplace to experience your own version of wonderful. So, peruse the January/February schedule and know that you are always welcome. Happy New Year everyone! May it be the best-feeling year yet!