white space holds the beautiful cull 1

I thought it might be time to tell you where my call to white space began. As I have told you, the first stirrings were with beautiful Kyle, but the second wave came two years ago.

Do you start your January with a word or phrase as a theme for new year?

Do you think you choose it or it chooses you?

Have you ever been afraid of it?

Two years ago in January a single word kept rising to the surface, not a word I used in everyday language, a word I held vaguely just around the edges. I knew just enough to keep hoping for a different word, but none ever came.

C U L L.

At the time, I thought I got the gist of the word. I had no idea.

cull [kuhl]
to choose, to select; to gather the choice things; to pluck;
to reduce or thin as in a herd

From the Old French coillir meaning to “put through a strainer”

From the Latin colligere meaning “to gather”

I went away to a Carolyn’s lake house to celebrate our friend Debbie’s birthday. It was January in the Pacific Northwest so it was rain on top of rain, but we didn’t care. The lake was silent and wore a veil of fog. She was beautiful in her stormy way.

We had each brought our raincoats and baskets of materials to share for late night creativity, so we were set. We had paints, stamps, paper, canvas boards, paint brushes, wire, wreath forms and scraps of all sorts. We took walks in the rain gathering woodsy stuff and came home to make wreaths from twigs, spongy mosses, shells and sprigs of evergreen.

We hung our coats to drip dry around the house, Carolyn built a roaring fire and we set to work in the warm glow with mugs of tea. We laughed, we talked and we held the silence as old friends do. We have history among us; children, church, faith, being mamas and non-profit work. Between the three of us, we have 13 children, 5 boys and 8 girls, who all went to school together. At that time, we didn’t know my first grandchildren were right around the corner and cull was just a word.

Here is the little painting I made at the dining room table after the wreaths from our rainy walk.

You can see I called it “The Beautiful Cull”.

I was marking what I heard on the wind, acknowledging the whisper in my soul. By springtime I would need to remember it was beautiful.

In the moment, I was thinking of my youngest daughter leaving for university, or needing to clean out my house for that season of birdies taking flight. I was pondering what it might look like as Mike and I headed toward a sometimes empty nest in the following year. I was hoping for the plain, ordinary, naturally occurring edits that come with that season.

Oh, but the Beautiful Cull was sharp and would go deeper than that.

I will tell you about it tomorrow.