Several mail art pieces have been incoming that are themed towards the Northern Hemisphere's Autumnal Equinox.  This year's fall season seems to be hurtling itself through the calendar days quicker than I have time to appreciate it.  So I am glad to receive mail from friends who have taken the time to contemplate and appreciate the season, and remind me that the Eleusinian Mysteries march onward through their ritual timeline regardless of whether I have time to observe them or not.  Here in America, our Thanksgiving celebration has passed and so the commercialism of the Holiday Season has descended upon us... already.  It's rather disgusting really.  This year, stores had shopping specials on Thanksgiving Day, utterly mocking the traditional maelstrom of "Black Friday" shopping specials that have been a hallmark of the commencement of Christmas shopping, and making obsolete the idea of a national holiday free from work--and shopping--when families and loved ones can gather for a quiet day of thanks and respite.


In contrast, Mail Art and correspondence friends do my heart good... a simple envelope in the mailbox filled with greetings of goodwill and reminders of the simple act of reflecting on our friends and blessings--that is what is worth giving thanks for.


Katerina Nikoltsou sent me some hints as to how to increase the visual embellishments in my blogs here.  So I am going to try her suggestions, and this blog is therefore dedicated to her!  Katerina recently mailed me an Autumn Mail Art 365 piece of hers that made my heart leap.  

Some might think this silly, but Katerina's autumnal leaves were a special nostalgic treat for me.  I was born and raised in Vermont in New England.  Although Vermont is known as the "Green Mountain" State (Ver[de] Mont[taigne]), in autumn the mountains there are anything but green.  Because Vermont is populated with so many sugar maple trees, the mountains become virtual rainbows against the sky, and autumn is one of the state's biggest tourist seasons.  Visitors come from all over to gawk at our foliage!  Native Vermonters are known to explete special curse words at the "flatlanders" and "leaf-peepers" who arrive because they drive so slow on all of our back country roads ooohing and aaaahing at the leaves on the trees.  Here in Washington State, 3,000 miles away, there is a little bit of color in the trees, but nothing like the mountains back home.  So Katerina's colorful leaves were a welcome blessing and reminder of more rainbow-filled vistas.


Isn't it amazing to travel places and realize that things "feel" so different in part because the flora and trees are such a different species from what we are familiar with in our own backyards?  I LOVE that Katerina sent me a little piece of Greece in the mail.  The elongated "painted" leaf imprints look like they could be a kind of bay leaf or linden variety.  Then there is one actual leaf embalmed in plastic that looks like it could be from a hawthorne.  Or I could be completely wrong!!  But that's what fascinates me is the variety of life and species from one place to another.  The number on the back of Katerina's artpiece was number 357/365!  Almost at goal, Kat!!!  I'm thankful for knowing you, wonderful Katerina.  


Another dear friend, Cathérine Petré, sent a spooky greeting in response to my Halloween mailing a short time back.  This time of year does give the spooks with the onset of dark nights, and howling windy weather, and reminders of the cycle of life and death.  Cathérine's artwork is scary indeed!  What terrible dreams did this mysterious creature come out of, Cathérine??!

Cathérine is proficient in so many art techniques that I sometimes am at a loss to know how she has possibly accomplished her latest feats!  This work looks like it may be art pencils or charcoal but then executed using an erasure technique.  Though I'm stumped how she created the grid or brick-effect behind the monster.  Cathérine could obviously give me a few master's lessons with her broad artistic knowledge and talent.  Terrific, terrific, Cathérine!  I'm thankful for the blessing of your acquaintance and friendship, too!


A festive and celebratory work of art from Monsieur Stefano Fossiànt Sini, also in autumnal rainbow hues...  The eyes that see, the eye against the evil eye, two bottles of wine--one for revelry, the other for a libation offering to the sleeping earth, a tree branch waved to the winds of fall, and sigils drawn in poetic reverence to the quieting world...

On the reverse of Stefano's envelope are three tokens: "Peace," "Respect," and "Love."  Three precepts that are worth more than all the merchandise sale specials and any store-bought present in the world.  I am thankful for the blessing of receiving your art as well as these sentiments of yours, Stefano.


More autumnal leaves from another correspondence friend--Paula Brown.  I'm not sure Paula knows the joy I experience upon receiving one of her letters.  Much like Stefano, Paula keeps things in perspective, and seems to realize that a positive attitude and filling the world with good karma comes back to visit a person one-thousand-fold.  Paula and I have already, in our short correspondence lifetime, both experienced life's little roadblocks and suffered sidetracks that life seems to have thrown us.  But, somehow, reading one of Paula's letters is enough to wash away any troubles and place a smile upon my face.  Ever had a word simply change one's stormy day into sunshine and happiness--well, that's one of Paula's letters in my mailbox.  So grateful for having you in my world, dear Paula...

That quotation on the back of Paula's envelope reads: "To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart." (Phyllis Theroux)  How true!


Jimminy Crickets! Do I know how to draw-out a long-winded blog or WHAT???! Enough words for this blog... you people probably need to go get a snack and take a nap after all that!  I am thankful that you participated in this appreciation if you have come this far.  And I am thankful for the long list of additional mail art friends and correspondents with whom I'm blessed.  You teach me and bring joy; you all lead by example in showing what flourishes when we communicate and make global friendships... new perspectives and realizations, and mostly discovering our similarities. 

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Comment by Thom Courcelle on November 28, 2011 at 5:40pm

Hello dears!  Lisa, I will have to see if I can send some Pacific NW care package to sooth your soul... I am a big hiker and Little Si is also a favorite hike of mine, although I haven't done it in a couple years--I've been focusing my trips more to the Peninsula of late now that my brother has a get-a-way property out just south of the Quinault Nation.

And Katerina, I love that the leaves you chose have "history" and story behind them.  I think Plato would be pleased at the gathering of friends under your leaves. Your samples below are vibrant-beautiful!

Here are a couple Vermont foliage pictures I quickly found on the internet.  I think like with so many things, photos probably detract from the colors that one's eyes can appreciate first-hand, but these ain't bad!

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on November 28, 2011 at 4:31pm

And the printed leaves are bay leaves...or laural leaves: "Dafniou"., the leaves that are used as crowning wreaths for Olympic champions! They are deep green all year round, no change of color in the Fall. Me being from the Midwest, I do this red-yellow-put-color-in-leaves-at-autumn...every year ;-)

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on November 28, 2011 at 4:22pm

Thank you for the thank you and for honoring me in this blog, Thom...along with these great mail artists! 

We who make blogs appreciate all the work and thought that goes into this activity...and you now have the secret method of loooong blogs on ning! Go for it!!!

By the way, the real leaf in the "lamination" is from the "plane tree", or the Platania as known in Greece because legend has it that Plato taught under this tree. It has leaves almost like the maples of Vermont, but not the stunning colors in the Fall (no frost here, that is why no vibrant reds and oranges).



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