In Wonder Together

A couple of days ago I had an art open house. My husband and I hung paintings, along with the stories behind them, all over the walls of our house, and we turned my art studio into a concert room for my brother, who came from Asheville, North Carolina to fill our house with his wonderful music. A dear friend loaned me all these tiny fairy lights that I strung up EVERYWHERE and it truly felt magical to me. To see all these people who I love walking around my home being stirred by imagination—it reminded me of something from long ago.

Moss grew everywhere so my memories are forever in brilliant shades of green.

When I was growing up I played outside all the time in the woods behind our house. A creek meandered through the forest and behind it rose a steep, rocky mountain. Moss grew everywhere so my memories are forever in brilliant shades of green. This was the backdrop of a hundred stories—my world of make-believe that I came back to again and again. One large mossy rock a little ways down the creek was an evil queen's throne. Hours of imaginative play revolved around the queen, the diamond mines, and two sisters—runaways. One of the sisters was me, the other was whichever friend happened to be at my house at the time. My friends entered straight into my stories and added their own strands, making the whole thing that much richer, that much more fun. 

I realized the other night, that this is what I love the most—inviting people I love into my stories and watching them enter in and make it richer than I could have made it on my own. This is why I love to create books and paintings. Every book and painting that goes out into the world is a mingling of my stories with other people's stories. And I find myself a child all over again as we walk in wonder together. 

~ Amy

Everywhere I Look, I See Stories.

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I absolutely LOVE the feeling of the beginning of a good story. I don't just mean when I'm reading a book. I mean in life, when I meet someone or see something out of the ordinary that feels like the beginning of a wonderful story. It gives me chills. It happens really often.

There's this one walk I like to take where I pass a number of big rambling, mysterious houses. They are mysterious because I never see any people outside and I have no idea who lives there and what they do all day. One of the houses has lots of windows and the curtains are nearly always drawn, except in one window at the very top of the house, and the yard is full of perfectly spherical shrubs. I cannot even tell you how fascinated I am by this. I love it! Stories fill my mind when I walk past, and I've written some of them down. I call that house "The Circle House" because of the shrubs. There's another house that is really huge and sort of looks like a castle. Over and over again I see three big black crows in the yard. Why? I don't know, but I find it wonderfully fascinating. I like to imagine that the crows are actually the people who used to live in the house, and they're wondering when in the world will someone—ANYONE—realize they've been turned into crows!? Wouldn't that make a great story? And I've noticed that bats fly circles in the air above this one house high up on a hill when it's getting dark outside. That is totally like a story!

I think that looking for, or at least being open to, the beginning or the unfolding of stories can make life more beautiful. It transforms the mundane, and it helps me to regard certain moments in my own life story with curiosity—with a sense of wonder regarding what might be going on underneath. I think that sense of wonder and curiosity is intertwined with faith—the idea that something really is going on underneath. There really is a story. That idea is powerful. It fights against fear and it grows courage the way that seeds grow flowers.

~ Amy