These last days of March

March is slowly coming to its end and I can honestly say it has been a strange and unexceptional month. Probably you will agree with me, isn’t it?!

I hope you’re all in good health and are doing well despite the changed circumstances as the coronavirus has taken over our daily lives!

In Belgium we have a light lockdown for the second week on a row now but it will surely continue for at least a couple of weeks.

Our girls are at home all day and have quite some schoolwork to do. We’re trying to find some kind of rhythm that works for all of us. Although it isn’t always that easy for me to adapt to another daily structure and we all miss the things we usually do like spending time with friends and other favourite outdoor activities.

I’ve noticed that the normal and basic things in life are becoming more important as all the other things or distractions fall away right now. All over the world, the response is to pause everything, to slow down.

I tend to believe this period of lockdown can be an opportunity to show it’s possible to live simpler and at a slower pace, closer to and with more respect for nature. Perhaps we’ll experience we don’t need to have that much as we think we need. We might learn to appreciate the ordinary things again. Noticing the details of our simple daily life can really be a source of joy.

I’m really enjoying these Spring days and we’re blessed with beautiful and sunny days. Well, you know, “one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”

In the afternoons you can find me outside, working in the garden, enjoying the warmth of the sun and inhaling the fresh air. My husband and I have done already a lot of garden work which urgently needed to be done. And now we have had time for it!

I have prepared the beds to sow spinach, lettuce, peas, kohlrabi and the first radishes. It always feels like a fresh start to clean up the mulch on the veggie garden and put the tiny seeds in the rich dark soil. And now I’m waiting for the miracle..

Every time I walk around in our garden, I discover something new;

a fresh green leaf,

the first blooming blossom of our prune tree,

this pretty apple blossoms that will open soon,

tiny white Viola odorata in the grass; almost invisible if one doesn’t look closely,

purple blooming honesty along the rhubarb which I will soon use to make the first pie,

These garden surprises fill me with gratitude and joy when everything around me is shifting and changing. While we have to deal with the challenges the corona virus is causing.

My garden and and running in nature are the places where I find comfort and rest, where I can unwind. Do you have a special place you love to go where you can charge your inner batteries?

Have you ever looked closely at a tiny daisy in the grass? These flowers are mostly overlooked as they are so common and often not wanted in the “perfect” lawns. But who can not not love these pretty and delicate flowers?

I try to keep working in my studio but many ceramic markets are already cancelled. Unfortunately I also had to cancel my first Spring workshop. Some days it’s difficult to keep motivated and make new work while it’s not sure when I will be able to present it.

But when I come across so much beauty in the garden and nature around me I can’t resist the urge to create. Trying to capture it in a new porcelain creation. One of the things I’m currently making are daisies for a new glass dome. Yes, I’m quite in love with these tiny daisies at the moment!

There are strong and drastic measures in our country at the moment but happily we’re allowed to spend time outside. Last Sunday we took a cycling trip to the French part of our country which is quite nearby our home. It was a sunny day with a very strong cold wind which made us cycle longer than we planned!!!

We came across this quiet place along a little stream where we rested and enjoyed a small picknick.

I had baked some oatmeal with pear cookies the day before but they weren’t tasteful at all (probably too healthy, I suppose!). And because a picknick without a homemade treat isn’t a real picknick, our youngest daughter had baked a delicious cake.

Having to stay at home and keeping busy in the evenings for a long time with only 2 books from the library, is quite a hard thing for me. I really miss visiting the library! I usually read in the evenings. But now I have to be creative to find other activities.

I decided to embroider a new little purse. As all the shops are closed I had to look what I had in stock at home. Some leftover linnen from cushions I once made, a recycled zipper from an old skirt and embroidery yarn I bought some years ago. Enough material to start!

I made a simple botanical drawing and started to embroider, without knowing how it would turn out. Quite exciting but I really enjoyed this creative outlet! It’s so rewarding to make one’s own things. So easily we buy what we need in a store without thinking to make it ourselves. There’s so much joy and satisfaction in making something ourselves. I think this is one of the valuable lessons we can learn during this lockdown.

And too soon it was finished! I still have to look for some other activities to do in the evenings …

I wish you all a good health, strength to take care of each other and the vulnerable ones, courage to make the most of your days, creativity to look at life with other eyes and may there be heavenly peace for troubled and anxious hearts.

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