poetry and prose about place

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creating my niche

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create: 1: to bring into existence;

2a: to invest with a new form, office or rank;

2b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior;

3: cause or occasion;

4a: to produce through imaginative skill;

4b: design. 

– Webster’s Dictionary

I am very interested in creative endeavors and I like being creative.  I am happiest when I am writing, painting, drawing, sewing, weaving, knitting, and so on.

Although I best like to write, I find creative activities substitute for one another. For example, when I am not writing for an extended period of time, I am often embedded in some other activity, such as painting.

Weaving exemplifies the lure of my various creative undertakings.  The producing requires knowledge and skill, and builds confidence.  The process is enjoyable and time is made available for thought and concentration.  The threads and fabrics are luxurious to the touch and the colors are bright and joyful. When I am finished a project, I am so proud of the resulting textile, I want to show the world.

My loom is a simple floor loom, 24 inch wide.  I bought it at a country auction, about 20 years ago.  My sister and I were among the stragglers at the auction, trying to outlast a heavy rain.  In the corner we saw a bundle of varnished wood and some metal parts.  “I think that’s a loom”, whispered my savvy sister.  When the item came up for auction, there were few bidders remaining, and no one know just what ‘it’ was.  At $25, it was a huge bargain.

My loom and I have not been steady company.  It takes forever to install the warp threads, and sometimes weaving is hard on my back.  But the fabrics we make together, my loom and I, are beautiful and comfortable and good for the soul.

What creative endeavors shape your niche space?  What materials do you use and what do you love about them?



yellow line


the road is fabric

weave of asphalt

ditch and yellow line

warp of guard rail

fence and heddle


trees in plantations

lines on the hayfield

shadows on road

hip and curve of the earth

weft as she turns in her sleep


shuttle piloted

through landscape

and watershed

textile in folds

texture the yearn of the loom


faults in the granite

potholes in pavement

rifts in the fabric

where weavers might falter

revisit work of earlier times


learning the lesson

taught by the loom


choose your weft wisely

balance color and texture

maintain your tension

fix mistakes as you go


rest when your back hurts



to the whisper

of weave

of yellow line



All my best,

staying at home, staying safe,

Jane Tims


the yellow line

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

my ideal niche

with 6 comments

I have a picture of the late Tasha Tudor, the children’s author and illustrator, standing in her hermit’s weeds, clutching an armload of branches for the woodstove.  Her lined face and straightforward relationship with nature exactly describe my wished-for niche. 

I imagine myself as living with the land, growing all my own vegetables, foraging for food I cannot grow, living off the ‘grid’ with solar panels and wood fires, pumping my water from a dug well, patching my roof with pitch from the spruce trees… you are getting the picture.  I do few of these things.  My garden is pitiful, no sensible fish would attach to my line, and I have to keep a few litres of water in containers in case my electricity-dependant water pump succumbs to a power outage.

The niche I actually occupy is satisfactory when measured by many standards.   It falls short of my ideal, but I am not willing to sacrifice.  Even in the simple matter of the woodstove, I have only achieved partial success.  We have pleasant fires in the autumn when the days are getting cold.  But in winter, I rely on electricity to keep me warm.

wood gathered for winter

If my ideal niche is not possible, I do find joy in the bits I have achieved.  I think of my successful row of beans, my healthy crop of mint, my knitting of socks in winter, and my walks in the grey woods, as a ‘close approximation’ of my ideal.  I admit that I would like to leave my cosy electricity-dependant niche, and acknowledgement frees me to stay. 

'Odd Socks' ... I knit them all winter...

I accept the truth … the ideal niche is a difficult goal.  It takes determination and stamina to achieve.   


a close approximation


Dolbear’s Law states: the number of chirps a cricket makes in fifteen seconds, plus forty, is a close approximation of the temperature on a summer night


warm September   evening  

I sit on the stoop    consider

the timid wind chime    the silent screen door  

the unmetered patter of rain


soothing after a month of dry


the rain    picks a song

over stones on the river

dolce vivace




where does my mantra take me?


away, to the songs of a summer night

at the back door    on the concrete step

where crickets sing   from cracks in the sidewalk


strung together    patio lanterns

notes from a Spanish guitar

the insect refrain


behind me    light from the kitchen

potatoes at boil   the voice of my sister

the tap of her shoe


beside me   the metal rail   rings at my touch

cool on a night   so hot and so dry

the pavement cracks


out in the yard    the insect chorus





molto vivace



too quick

to count


Published as: ‘threshold’, Spring 1997, Pottersfield Portfolio 17 (3)


© Jane Tims

'summer night at the back door'

Written by jane tims

September 23, 2011 at 7:51 am

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