Still Life

A maker’s life is never really a still life is it? Recently when my mother was staying for the weekend she said ‘Helen you never really stop do you?’

No. Not really. Although I hadn’t thought of it that way until she said it. There’s always something to do, something to make, something to work towards. Some days it feels like I’m just getting through what I have to do to get what I want to do, always with one eye up ahead to where the colour and the light and the making is waiting.

My mum also said, during her recent visit, ‘You’ve never really grown up, have you Helen?’ and actually she meant it in a good way. At least I’m mostly sure she did. She said it while Alice and I were crouching at the back door eating a ham sandwich while the chickens glared at us through the glass, wanting to be fed. We thought it was hilarious, the taunting.

Sometimes it takes someone else’s eyes to show us parts of ourselves we didn’t know were there. I mean, of course I know it’s fun to be on the floor with a two year old taunting chickens, but it’s just me. I didn’t know it meant I haven’t grown up. I just thought that’s what people with toddlers in their lives did!

alice in a tree

I am on the go, busy, fulfilling dreams and all the while, not growing up at least not as long as growing up means forgetting how to sit on the floor and be silly. Or how to take hours out of my day for making, for colour, for light, for things that are beautiful and soul feeding, not soul destroying.

Kindness, positivity, goodness. Getting up close to what is important, what’s real and what’s needed. I’ve been digging deep, thinking, feeling and trying to figure out what these things are for me. It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress. It’s called learning to live. Every single day.


In still moments, I’ve stopped and thought about this and I’ve been thankful that I can see, and every day that I learn to see a little more, what matters.



12 thoughts on “Still Life

  1. lovely post, bells! i don’t think it’s that you haven’t grown up, it’s just that you can still see the wonder and fun in life. should be more of it!

  2. I do agree that there’s lots to be done everyday & at the same time lots to learn & experience. When I look at my teenage girls, I always wonder where time went as I still remember them as little girls like Alice.

  3. Such a lovely, thoughtful post. I believe that is you ever stop wanting learn and grow, that you might as well give up. Being enthused and challenged by life is what makes it exciting.

  4. Oh, thank you, Bells! I’d be right there with you and Alice, ham sammy and all, teasing the chickens and giggling. I’ve always been the messy Aunt in our family. Kids go home from my place wet and dirty or messy with flour or paint. We play. Mom and Dad played with us, I played with our kids, and I play with any random kid who comes into the dive shop. If being a grownup means losing your joy in little things and the wonder of the world, then I don’t want to. Ever.

  5. Oh, you would have loved the train we rode on Saturday. It was perfect for kids, big or little. We had such a good time.

    I hope that being able to laugh at the world and taunt the chickens is something I want to do until I’m gone.

  6. I can’t imagine NOT doing, either, Bells. Even when I’m not “doing” anything, I’m at least knitting. Sometimes I envy people who seem to be able to enjoy themselves, just sitting relaxed,but I don’t think it’s who I am. And one of the things I’ve been working on trying to accept is that I don’t have to like to do things other people do – so I should just accept and enjoy that I can’t sit still, and not worry too much about it.

  7. growing up is an overrated concept, anyways 😉

    It is really interesting to hear how others observe you though, isn’t it? As you say, it’s “just you”, from your perspective.

    You’re beautiful, Bells, just the way you are! (which I think is kinda what your Mum was saying?)

  8. You mean there are people who don’t get down on the floor with toddlers? Or hop along the pavement with a hopscotching 6yo? Maybe I haven’t grown up either then. It’s fun:)

  9. Well, that’s how some people with toddlers in their lives are. Not everyone. While I find most phrases that use the term “grow up” to be curious, I’d say that if retaining a wonder, curiosity, and playfulness about the world is what is meant in this case by not growing up, that’s a good thing. (Clearly that’s different from not being a grown up by, oh, not being responsible, financially or otherwise.) Anyway, I have no memories of my mother playing with me. It’s no coincidence that I play with my kids. A lot.

  10. It is always interesting to hear what other people think of you (the general you, not you specifically!). Quite often the way others see you is not necessarily how you see yourself. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not! And sometimes what they think of as a negative is a positive (or vice versa, heh!). Always an interesting thing to consider, I think. It can help you (re)evaluate what you think is important.

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