I am often amazed by my family. We are a clan full to the brim with frighteningly clever and successful people: lawyers and academics and doctors and physicists and presidential advisers and urban planners and marine scientists and environmental lobbyists.
But what I am thinking of right now are not these measures of success, but rather about my aunt's and uncle's house in Olympia, Washington. I am remembering how I scampered through it as a child, usually on the prowl for cats, only to get caught up in running my fingers over the stitches in my aunt's quilts, down the smooth and rough edges of my uncle's woodwork.
Their home was such a tactile place, full of things just begging to be experienced: the bathroom with its huge tiled bathtub (big enough for swimming, at least if you were small enough) and its attached greenhouse and its fish tank in the window; the waterbed irresistibly perfect for (gentle) roughhousing; the fruit leather drying in the oven after an early morning harvest in the back garden; the workshop full of found wood -- jagged and sharp and giving off that unmistakable tangy scent of cut trees.
I've been thinking about this tonight because a friend shared this link (thank you, Constance -- it's lovely, and yet so easy to get lost in) and it reminds me of my uncle's kaleidoscopes. I have two of them, gifted to me for my high school and college graduations, and more recently a gorgeous bowl which now lives on my Dan Bookshelf and houses my bead collection.
I love that in the midst of career and family lives, so many of my relatives have a certain tendency to lose themselves in creating earthy beautiful things: quilts, wooden bowls and clocks and kaleidoscopes, soaps, sketches and watercolors, gardens overflowing with flowers and herbs and fruits and vegetables.