There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

endless summer

THIS SUMMER has been an unbalanced liquid mixture of emotions which tilt to one side or the other and give me the feeling that I will never regain my sea legs. I've been thrown off balance like never before through a lost relationship and other surrounding turmoil. That's why I haven’t posted on my blog for a while. But with time as our most constant and dependable friend, things have a way of finding equilibrium and balance again. One really finds out who their friends are during times like these. I've realized that instead of giving all my love away, I have to begin with a good portion for myself. It's definitely one of life's hardest lessons to learn (and relearn). Once again, I'm finding my way back, finally. And again, I'm sure I'll forget, because when I love, it's from a deep place in my heart and soul and I lose my head in the clouds of what could have been.

BEACH BEAUTY | This festive tree combines a beach-inspired assemblage of mercury glass shell ornaments; starfish ornaments of all shapes, colors and kinds; glittered "sea creatures"; mother-of-pearl covered orbs; and tiny mercury glass ornament punctuations of teals, greens and gold.
EVEN THOUGH I haven't made a trip to the beach since last November (to Mexico), the abundance of the summer rain this year has been a welcome relief from the heat of a landlocked city. Fortunately, an effect of this seems to be that there has been a cleansing of souls all around. Astrologically speaking, June and July this summer were dominated by what is called the Grand Water Trine. According to Michael Lennox, a newly discovered astrologer I've enjoyed reading (and watching), it’s an astrological configuration created by Neptune in Pisces, Saturn in Scorpio, and all of the planets that have recently been in Gemini entering into the early degrees of Cancer—the three water signs. When the planets line up in this way, they create a harmonious flow between them, offering up the benefits of such a flow of energy. And water simply moves around and over any obstacle instead of getting trapped. This so-called Grand Water Trine assists us in finding the flow.

SEASHELLS by the SEASHORE | A thoughtful mixture of sea-themed ornaments creates a magical memory of the beach.
THIS BEACH-THEMED TREE celebrates a shift toward a much-needed matriarchal softness in the world that the recent astrological events are supposed to bring. My previous posts entitled Under the Stars and Heartstrings were mostly laments. Ironically enough, this post’s tree was planned well before either of the former posts, as I've carefully gathered the elements for it for many months, starting last autumn. It has been a process-oriented gathering, which I could never get to come together because I always felt something was missing. What was missing was me, and my ability to pull myself together—I had all the elements in place all along, but I have to say that a few key items were added to the mix along the way that made a symbolic difference. This tree has the bright magic of a subdued summer Christmas, which is entirely appropriate—at least figuratively. 'Tis the season.

LUCKY STAR | This pressed tin star (Hecho en Mexico) is a symbol of my last trip to the beach in Tulum, Mexico last November. One of the last additions to my gathering of decorations for this tree, I bought it at Atlanta's High Museum Shop during their fantastic Frida and Diego exhibit this year (now closed). Associations like this give resonance to the ornaments I use to create a tree.
BOOK of DREAMS | Available here.
The preface of the summer section of my book based on this blog still resonates and amplifies the metaphors I associate with the ocean. Memories of childhood trips to the beach, riding the waves and soaking in the summer sun have replayed in my mind all my life. Reality has caught up with me again and I'm metaphorically (and astrologically) riding the waves created back to solid ground again. Devin literally saved my life when I was overwhelmed by the ocean waves in Tulum, Mexico one day last November, and now I've found myself having to save my life all on my own. It's funny how reality can become metaphor again. Here is the preface of the summer section of my book in its entirety (as adapted from my original blog post):

ONE OF MY FIRST MEMORIES is of pointing to the ocean. Throughout my life my parents told me that the first word I uttered was “see” as I pointed out to the sea. A trip to the beach with my parents and siblings was a yearly summer ritual. In true road-trip fashion, there were few finite plans made before hitting the road. The drive to the beach would begin before the crack of dawn to ensure we could find a place to stay before nightfall. Since I was the youngest of four siblings by a ten-year gap, it was always a middle-of-the-backseat trip. I would lean with my elbows on the back of the front seat between them. Daddy's Lincoln Continental was like a smoothly cruising land yacht sailing to paradise. Because he was so anxious to reach our destination, it was almost impossible to get my father to stop during our trip. Once there, we would check out the scene at the beach before finding a motel with a vacancy. The limitless horizon of the ocean and the rhythm of the waves never cease to lull me back to that place where the breezes cool even as the sun warms my face. Recalling and projecting in my mind's eye the flickering Super 8 movies my father made of our summer vacations, I can ponder the limitless possibilities in life and death. In my dreams, summer never really ends.

SUMMER SPREAD | The opening spread of the summer section of my book (which gathers decorating ideas for celebrating the four seasons).

TOP SHELL | I simply removed the cap from one of the mercury glass shell ornaments and turned it upside down to produce a unique tree topper.

READ IT AND WEEP | Remember the 2010 Gulf Oil Disaster? Still buying gas at BP? Read this scathing article

Please revisit my original post lamenting the BP disaster if you missed it in 2010 or have forgotten about it (I refused to ever call it a "spill"). In a season of beach-themed trees for The Decorated Tree, it's entirely appropriate to get mad about the BP cover up all over again. I hope the beauty of the beaches you visit and the lull of the ocean springs you back into action to do something to raise awareness to keep this sort of thing from happening again. (Regretfully, the stickers my friends and I made—detailed at the end of the post—to remind people about the devastation that was happening are no longer available). 

collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland


  1. What a gorgeous tree.Well written!! How inspirational to think of says at the beach how they signify extreme fun and yet wash our souls to get ready for the "worK' of the fall. Like a lamplighter who dangles us breezes and sea washed sand to us we are quick to learn that which is fleeting is most remembered and lives inside of us always.

  2. How appropriate to read this post in your blog about childhood memories and the sea, at this moment. Not 10 minutes ago, I waved goodbye to my son in law, his wife, and their children ages 11 months and 4 years. They spent two days with us, "Nana Ann and Papa Dave", at our cottage on the lake. Reading your words just reinforces the importance of the fruits of our labor. Its watch these two - so full of energy. And so incredibly worth it. I wouldn't trade a single second. When they're grown, its my wish that they have loving memories of these summer days and continue the tradition with their children and grandchildren.