In an attempt to bridge our love of materials and making something new with our love of collage and chance, we found ourselves enmeshed and enacting our own kind of alchemy- fabricating a fantastic (in both the literal/figurative sense of the word) fusion of elements both felt and forged.
Brianna Colburn, my dear friend (and Waxing Poetic’s official poet), performed a sublime reading of one of my most favorite poems during dessert one evening at a small dinner party I was hosting. Her tender voice, along with the empty space of the most beautiful pauses, echoed the frailty so beautifully rendered here by E.E. Cummings. The metaphor of small acts and small ways as transformative and powerful… like many, many small drops of rain… always keeps me conscious of the beauty and potency of the tiny and true.
somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
You can also find this beautiful poem in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters”… a “wooing” gift (oldest trick in the book I think!) from Michael Caine to his sister-in-law, with whom he is in love:
Saints preserve us! Or something like that. We’re fairly certain that heavenly help is readily there for everyone, regardless of creed, belief group, background. After all, look up anyone in a Lives of the Saints book and with notable exception, he or she started out ordinary – and then for assorted reasons, most often driven by conviction, faith, or some other ethical engine, opted to change directions, help others, make faith-leaps, take risks, give/love selflessly, and be transformed, and later on…people started to talk about them, remember what happened, and trace miracles and marvels back to the story.
So…we found some of our favorites, and made our own renditions, because in a way, that’s what saints did anyway.
When we first saw the news about the devastating Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona at the end of June, we were horrified/amazed/overwhelmed/etc., but it was still ‘just’ a news story – the ‘just’ in here is important, as is its fleetingly appropriate use… Arizona isn’t that far from Waxing Poetic HQ, after all, and California is an equally flammable place in terms of native foliage/dry seasons/high winds. We are neighbors, and friends.
When we learned from one of our longest employees that a friend of hers from high school, Sean Misner of Santa Ynez, was one of the 19 brave members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots (the semi-official name of the inter-agency firefighting crew deployed to the scene) gave his life to stop the fire (and save the lives of countless others – humans, wildlife, pets, and passing strangers all alike…), it stopped being only a ‘story,’ or a ‘tragedy,’ but became, in an admittedly protracted way, familiar.
Nothing is ever ‘just’ a news item. No one is ever ‘just’ by themselves – and yet sometimes, too often maybe, we forget. Life is precious, fragile, and sometimes far too short. One might make the last part of that assertion is certainly the case for the firefighters who passed away in the Yarnell inferno, but we’d beg them to consider another possibility: that the heroes lost on that day weren’t lost so much as given, of their own will + selflessness, to the cause of life for everyone else.
Of Sean Misner, his friend and our Waxing Poetic comrade told us this:
He was kind. He was brave. He played football with her brother. He was always smiling. He liked to make people laugh. He made people’s days on a regular basis. He was the brightspot in her doldrums-of-summer summer job, as well as the bright spot in probably everyone’s job that summer at Los Olivos Grocery.
We also heard this:
He loved his wife, fiercely and deeply. He loved his job. He loved his family, his life, and his particular chances. He had found his own ‘worthy vocation’ in being a firefighter, and never once wanted to do anything else thereafter.
Welcome to Nota Bene (both Latin and Italian for “note well,” which we do around here!). At Waxing Poetic, we make things, and get the chance to see them made real (and loved, and changed – by all of you). Here you will find tiny actions, tiny pieces, and tiny particulars of our process – the small (and not so small) things that matter much.
Enjoy! Patti Pagliei, Founder
Waxing Poetic’s personal, imaginative designs are crafted of sterling silver and mixed metals, and also in a variety of antique inspired fabrications.