Thursday, September 25, 2008


"Where am I?" She sat up, heart pounding, with no idea of how she had gotten here, or, indeed, where 'here' was. Trees. Her mind registered trees. Tall trees. Lots of trees. A forest. Okay, she was in a forest. It was a rather nice forest; the ground was soft and mossy; the air was comfortably cool, and it was shady, but not too dark.

Looking more closely, she identified pine, and hemlock, and perhaps an oak over there; but trees were not reliable landmarks, it was not in the least like recognizing restaurants or boutiques. One could simply not place oneself with any confidence by identifying trees.

Surely she was dreaming? No, this was entirely too real. She gradually became aware that her jeans and t-shirt had been replaced by a gown of something soft and perfectly fitted to her; she stretched, and it stretched with her. Her feet were sheathed in boots of the finest leather; they were quite the prettiest shoes she'd ever seen. She turned her foot one way, and then the other; admiring the look even more than the fit.

"How odd," she thought. "I really should mind this more than I do."

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Seed beads, vintage glass, and lampwork by Melissa Vess of Inner Realm Creations. Hand fabricated, princess length necklace using traditional needlelace techniques in beads.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I thee wed

How long had she been planning this day? Since before she could remember, she'd dreamt of being a bride. She lifted the lid of the old cedar chest that would one day be hers, and gently took out her great-grandmother's veil. The silk netting was gossamer thin and the color of heavy cream; the lace was handmade and as delicate as a spider's web. Under it was more silk; yards and yards of embroidered antique silk, gathered onto a bodice that clung to her every curve and fit like a dream.

She'd always known that she would wear these things; she'd grown up looking into this cedar chest and dreaming of this day. She didn't want a new dress, a new veil, a trip to a trendy and expensive fashion designer's salon. She wanted to greet this day clothed in all the love and lace that her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother had handed down; she wanted to bring that love to her husband and share it with him.

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Seed beads, freshwater pearls and gold-filled findings. Hand woven and embroidered bead lace. Hand fabricated.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A matter of perspective

She looked out her kitchen window at the waves, and found herself unconsciously moving in concert with them. She picked up a dish from the counter, dipped it in the soapy water, and set it in the dishwasher with the same tumbling motion of the sea. Her fingers whirled and dove like pelicans, dislodging the bits of stuck food and retrieving errant silverware from the bottom of the sink.

How many meals had she planned, cooked, served, and cleaned up after in her lifetime? Perhaps not as many as grains of sand, but more than she could calculate. Every move was now automatic; she no longer thought about it. Her mind was free to focus on the view; she danced in the waves and soared with the gulls.

Pop! went the plug, and the dirty water swirled down the drain.

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Sterling silver, lampwork by Melissa Vess of Inner Realm Creations. Hand fabricated, filigree and chain maille, necklace and earrings set.

In private collection

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sand and sky

It was after Labor Day, and she was on the beach. In her swimsuit. Her mother would have been horrified; when she was growing up in New York, swimsuits were banished the day after Labor Day. She remembered swimming all day long, trying to store up enough of the slippery cool wetness and hot sun on her back to last a whole winter.

Not that winter started the day after Labor Day; nope, even in New York there were lots of warm days left after Labor Day. The lake stayed warm and inviting right into October, some years. But no one went swimming after Labor Day. Not ever. And, after awhile, she'd stopped asking why, stopped trying to argue her swimsuit back down from the attic, and absorbed the rule into her own way of looking at the world.

There was no swimming after Labor Day.

But here, on the California Coast, they didn't seem to know that rule. She wasn't alone on the beach; there were lots of other people basking in the sun and cavorting in the waves. Toddlers building sand castles with their young mothers; older couples walking hand in hand on the hard sand; single people, like her, their towels and cell phones marking their boundaries and connections to the real world. She made circles in the sand with her big toe for awhile, checked her messages; then, self-consciously, got up and strolled down to the ocean.

Looking furtively around for any sign of her childhood, she defiantly waded into the surf.

© 2008 Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

14k gold-filled chain maille, seed beads, and lampwork beads by Melissa Vess of Inner Realm Creations. Hand fabricated, bead embroidery princess length necklace.