Intermission

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Hello Dear ones!

It has been a long, long while since I last wrote. I hope everyone has been well and coping with what life has before them.

This has been by far the longest time I’ve spent away. I apologize if I caused concern – we are all doing fine. The frustration, grief and just all the emotions of our modern times sent me inward. I decided to take some time and spend it in different ways than I have in years. It felt like the perfect opportunity to do just that. Unplug and take the time that I spend scrolling mindlessly through my phone or laptop to do something that in time will make me feel the wholeness of the world – rather than that quick thrill of dopamine our technology constantly feeds us.

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Camping in Cape Breton Island in October 2020
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Hollyhocks in my Mom’s garden

I always imagined living a certain life. It was filled with doing things that I deemed meaningful. Reading books, writing letters, watching the stars in the August sky, making anything and everything, playing music, eating homemade meals with family and friends, walking down old paths with bubbling streams (just a regular girls dreams :P). I never had grandiose plans just a will to live simply. This dream never involved a smart phone or a laptop (alhough they can make life a lot easier in some respects). I never dreamed that I would make something with love and care and then jump to a small unsuspecting screen to share with an app that manipulates its’ users. I never imagined living through images rather than true nature. It sounds dramatic I know – there are some serious perks of using these apps. They have provided me with opportunities that I would never have dreamed of and friends around the world I only imagined existed.

After being fully submerged in the addiction of my smart phone, I started to become painfully aware that I was slowly being drawn very far away from the life my younger day- dreaming self had planned. What happened to the mountain of books I used to read every year? The new records? The old movies? The walks that were not about getting a photo? The music I imagined learning to play? All of these things simply disappeared in place of a small unsuspecting screen and dopamine hits. When I realized what the root of my imbalanced life was – I slowly started to ween myself away… this has been a couple of years now in the making but this summer was definitely the biggest break.

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Cape Breton at the Keltic Lodge Trails
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Our vegetable garden this year with Pangur in the freshly dug potato patch

I actively stepped away from what often occupied a lot of time and chose to *as cheesy as this sounds* follow my heart. What is something I have always wanted to do but decided for made up reasons wasn’t possble? Many, many moons ago when I was still a university student, I bought a mandolin. I love music. Jamie is a wonderful guitar player and I have just loved music for as long as I can remember (named after John Lennon’s mom, so you can imagine.. lol). Because of so may road blocks growing up, I never learned to play an instrument. In university, I bought a mandolin planning to learn to play in my off time. But then came along knitting for the Etsy shop that Meaghan and I started and my mandolin collected dust. I was too old anyway, wasn’t I?

After practicing on my old tinny sounding mandolin for a month – Jamie gifted me with this beautiful instrument! I am in love…. I’ll share more later ❤ * lol, also apparently I have a favourite sweater *

With the decision to step away, I decided to revisit that dusty instrument and kindle the dream of playing medieval songs in a mossy forest (yes, this is the plan). It… has been an amazing and rewarding process! Perhaps in a couple years, I’ll be skilled but for now, it is a slow learning process. I can tell you though, that learning to play an instrument as an adult is very fun (albeit, occasionally very frustrating)and I feel like I’m doing something that I was meant to do all along. It’s slow but I truly believe if I stick with it – the result will be worth while. I’m in love with this little instrument and so inspired because regardless of our age, I think we can accomplish whatever we put our hearts in. Okay, I’m never going to be an amazing mandolin player but just being able to play a simple tune for me at this point, is progress and magic.

Tomatoes actually ripened on the vine this year – we have more than enough for winter! Managed to use all of our canning jars for tomatoes 🙂
Lupins have finally naturalized around our home! It only took many years of hanging out in the ditch collecting seeds along busy roads 😀

But for now, the air is crisp! Jamie and I camped in Cape Breton last week and woke to a tent coated in frost. The leaves are a brilliant crimson. I can sense a great change in myself, I feel so much more motivated and gripped by creating and making. This year has been draining but brighter bigger things are ahead my friends! My mandolin practice has become routine at this point and I can go back to working on our beloved shop with care and attention (for yes, I need breaks from social media but I love working with our Etsy shop and creating all the things you see there). It’s such a conflicting world because on one side I do love sharing with you all – I love sharing what I create and being encouraged to create more and more and more! However, I’m saddened when more time is spent mindlessly being hooked onto my phone than making or learning something new – with focused attention. Vivre sans temps mort! I’ll try to seize the day and create more!

So – friends, I want to thank you for sticking around, reading my words and viewing my work while I take the time to re-focus myself and reclaim my time – my focus and attention! This summer was profoundly important to me to evaluate what I want in life, who I am, what I want to do and be. Simply to create and engage with the real world surrounding us. I hope my work reflects this.

Finally made myself a pair of thrummed mitts this summer with waste wool!
Drawing to go up in the shop – original drawing of my venerated deer skull that Henry found completely covered in moss in a Nova Scotia forest.
Latest sweater to join the Woodfolk World
Sweater completed! Knit on Prince Edward Island and photographed on a beach in Northern Cape Breton Island ❤
Sweater for the Sea
Mittens made last spring (or possibly winter) – finally rolling out the items in the shop.

Learning to play mandolin, I’ve been listening to a lot of music. I was so excited to find that someone named Allan Alexander wrote the exact books of my music playing dreams! Medieval Mandolin Music… anyway, while searching for his work on youtube I found this Lute player and I’m in love with this song. It’s so beautiful, I wanted to share with you

Many Autumn Blessings!

“Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

  Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1892)

7 thoughts on “Intermission

  1. So good to ‘hear’ from you again dear Julia,

    The song is so calming and profound… I’m happy for you, that you took this break and also that
    you started leaning to play mandolin! Your words and your believes about the addiction of social media are so true… we should all do the same, to take a break and live life as it comes every day.

    As always, your words and works are alive! Thank you!

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  2. Julia, I am smiling that you have found your rhythm for how to live your life. May you continue to find joy in the passions and dreams of your heart. You and your gifts are an inspiration of love for the world, no matter how often or infrequent you share them publicly. Thank you for sharing your heart and for the lovely mandolin music. I love mandolin and have toyed with the idea of learning it these past few years – even at my age! Autumn 🍂 Harvest Blessings to you and Jamie, my dear.

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  3. I loved this post! I’m glad you are back!! I have unplugged from so much social media and really only peek at Instagram for golden retriever puppies and knitting inspiration!
    All of you photos are so lovely. I also love how you are wearing your hair. I have not managed the skill to french braid my own hair. I am always moved by Walt Whitman, especially Leaves of Grass. That is a timely jewel.

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  4. It’s so lovely to read your words and see your photos and knitting again. I totally understand the need to step back from social media, it’s a very artificial environment, and even if it’s a good place to find people and inspiration it has a tendency to draw you in to a vicious loop of constantly checking your phone. I’ve deleted the Facebook app off my phone, and will probably delete my whole account soon, but I’m still so drawn to checking Instagram constantly, and the rabbit hole that is YouTube.
    I’d love to spend more time learning a language or an instrument (I’m thinking maybe a tin whistle, it’s portable and my partner plays the bagpipes so might be able to teach me a thing or two).
    Did you manage to catch the Ístex yarn sale the other week? I was so tempted to put in a big order, but I’m trying to use up my stash first!

    Emma x

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  5. I´m so happy to “hear” from you Julia and that you are doing well. I totally relate to your thoughts about this online world we all have to deal with and make decisions about. Your childhood dreams sounds a lot like mine (part from the mandolin/instrument thing). Love your slow blogging thing, it makes me stop and read in sections every time you posted, and really soak in the words and beautiful photos. I´m so happy you don´t stop it completely 🙂

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  6. Lovely to see you back here, Julia! You have been missed, but I respect so much your practice of taking time away from your phone and laptop to connect more deeply with nature, and the earth. It’s rather ironic that your posts here make motivate me to maintain my focus on my own dreams to live a life close to the earth and the tangible, rather than close to my phone. So hard to strike a good balance, but I think you’re getting it right!

    The mandolin is such a beautiful and magical instrument! You two seem made for each other.

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