“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." - Rachel Carson

Friday, March 1, 2013

Love Thy Neighbor

When we moved to our house four years ago it took us a little while to realize that we were living next to two incredibly lovely people, Alice and Jerry. Since we've gotten to know our neighbors, we feel so lucky to have them next door. In addition to being all-around great individuals they are both artists- she makes extraordinary quilts that have been featured in books, and he is a very talented watercolor painter, dabbling in charcoal too. Rowan loves going down the hill to visit Alice and Jerry- we usually have tea, play a game, or read a book, and sometimes she gets to do art projects. Not only do they frequently babysit for me when I'm in a bind, or watch our chickens and cat while we trot off to Hawaii, but they graciously open their studios to my budding artist. Last year Jerry put together an art box full of materials for Rowan and built her an easel to work at when she visits. They even matted, framed, and submitted one of Rowan's paintings to a local art show last year and she got to experience showing her artwork in a gallery at age 3!

A year or so ago Alice also took on quite a project with Rowan when they started sewing a quilt together. Alice patiently let Rowan rifle through her stash of fabrics, and gave her lots of artistic license in choosing the color combinations. She has a large flannel-covered wall in her studio that she uses to layout her quilt squares, and Rowan loved getting to stick pieces of cut fabric to the wall, testing out different designs. When it came time to sew pieces together, Rowan and Alice worked out a system where Alice would sit at the machine and feed the fabric through, while Rowan jumped on the foot pedal until Alice said, "Stop, that's good!" Then Rowan would cut the thread. They made quite a team.  These work sessions often involved listening and dancing to classical music, or getting to take cookie breaks. Of course, 3 year old concentration is a bit short-lived and spotty to say the least- Rowan was easily distracted, so Alice had the good sense to put the finishing touches on their quilt before Rowan's interest waned, and after about a year of crafting together, they have a completed work of art. It is truly a gorgeous quilt, incorporating Rowan's favorite colors, with a special inscription written by Alice on the back.

When we moved we mostly hoped we wouldn't have creepy or annoying neighbors, and we felt like we hit the jackpot when we realized that we are living next to two wonderful people that feel more like family than neighbors. Having contact with the people you live near can be so rewarding. All too often we keep to ourselves, rushing from car to house but it can be very worthwhile to reach out and get to know those around us. Thank you Alice and Jerry!

1 comment:

  1. What a thoughtful and well written post. And I love the pictures. Alice has been my best friend for 40+ years and Jerry has become one, too. I know they derive a lot of pleasure from time with Rowan. I'd say you both hit the jackpot.