Three Things Thursday: Flowers, Grass, and Sculptures

Each week, I post about three things that have inspired or informed me. Lately, I’ve been using this day to “pay it forward” and recommend artists or authors to support. This week, I’m only going to feature one artist, then I want to share a couple quick things about the land I work with because it’s been too long since I’ve posted a garden update!

Wild Sculptures in the Thousand Islands

A sculpted crow by Will Salisbury at the Thousand Island Art Center in Clayton. NY. Photo by M. A. Phillips 2020

Though the pandemic is keeping most of us from museums these days, the Thousand Islands Art Center in nearby Clayton, NY installed an outdoor exhibit featuring the spectacular metal sculptures by artist Will Salisbury. Locals may be familiar with some of his iconic pieces such as the Three Crows which can be viewed on route 81 driving away from Alexandria Bay. There’s also the magnificent muskie statue at Frink Park in Clayton, NY. My husband and I recently went for a date along the river, and enjoyed strolling through the Art Center’s grounds. If you live in the North Country and are looking for some socially distant culture to engage with, I highly recommend this whimsical installation!

Garden Update

Sunflowers and broom corn – photo by M. A. Phillips 2020

We’re veering toward the end of August! I’ve been insanely busy with writing work, but I make a point to go outside to tend to and enjoy my garden each day. This is the best year I’ve ever had. When friends and family ask how I did it, my answer is three things: hard work, good soil, and a positive relationship with the land. I don’t think my garden would be so happy without my attention to sustainable practices like composting, companion planting, organic pest management, spaces set aside for pollinators, and regular offerings to the local spirits. What a glorious thing it is to celebrate the month of Lúnasa with sunflowers and broom corn taller than my husband!

Wild Grain for Imbolc

Wild grasses going to seed. Photo by M. A. Phillips 2020

Every year in August, I make a point to pick some of the grasses that have gone to seed. I do this in preparation for Imbolc. Though Brigid’s holy day is half a year away, I know that, if I wait, crafting Cros Bríde (Brigid’s Crosses) will be a challenge. While in Ireland it’s traditional to gather green reeds as January transitions into February, everything is under layers of snow and ice that time of year in Northern NY. Rather than use pipe cleaners, I’d rather mark the occasion in a way that keeps me intimately connected with the cycles of the land I live on. Thus, during the month of Lúnasa, I reflect on and prepare for Lá Fhéile Bríde. The holy days are not solitary sign posts. Rather they are akin to the warp on a loom, and the weft of our lives weaves in and out of them all, over and over. Sometimes, I see other Pagans lament that they feel little to no connection to Lúnasa. My suspicion is that they aren’t as connected to the land or culture that births the holiday. Perhaps, in sharing how I’ve linked these high days in my own practice outside of Ireland, it will inspire some of you.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

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