Inspired Chaos is... "Gathered."
As September mornings begin to grace us with a bit of relief from the late summer heat and more misty sunrises allow for crafty spiders’ webs to glisten, we notice that the days are ending sooner, and the dark is catching up to us just a little quicker. Summer begins to collapse
into fall, and we prepare for the chillier months ahead.
Folks start thinning out their summer gardens and proudly preserving their harvests for seasons to come. With teachers and kiddos back in school, sports and dance schedules are created and vacations ease back. We find a new rhythm and routine.
Growing up, the men in my family celebrated one “holiday” more than any other… opening day of deer season. My grandfather spent the entire year tracking the deer population at the family farm and hunt club in Doe Gully, WV. A few days before hunting season kicked off, the entire family would travel to Berkeley Springs. Our family would drive in from whichever state park my dad was stationed, and my aunt, uncle and cousins would venture in from Charleston, WV. My grandparents’ modest home would go from the sounds of Jeopardy on TV to children laughing and the men animatedly “discussing” and planning around the dining room table. Who was going to hunting where, who would drive deer to whom? It wasn’t anything I was too interested in as a little girl, but I could see the way the men in my family lit up around the occasion. It wasn’t about the hunting. Sure, the providing of venison for the family certainly made them feel good, but it was the comradery and companionship of the hunt – the time they spent together in the woods that felt like home. Later, I would get the privilege to go hunting with my father and grandfather. I would see the care and time they put into the hunt. I’d learn about trees and plants from them. I’d witness my grandfather, a man of few words to me and that I never knew to be religious, give thanks to God for the deer he would tag.
Filling our freezer and then sharing that venison with neighbors in need always made my dad feel so good. Seeing his pride over caring and providing for others still sticks with me today.
Every summer, my mama had a garden and each year, that garden grew just a little bit, until it literally took over our entire front yard. “Less for you to mow, honey…,” she joked with my dad. She’d reap the benefits of her tremendous hard work all summer long, and whatever we couldn’t eat or pass onto friends, she preserved for the months ahead just as her family before her had done. I can still smell the garlic and tomato pasta sauce my mom simmered and canned (my great Grandma Violet’s recipe). Our basement walls became decorated with a unique stained glass-looking art piece – mason jars filled with every color from whatever she’d collected and preserved from that summer.
Early autumn signified falling into a sweet simplicity, preparing for the cold and a bit more stillness from the hustling and craziness of spring and summer.
My mom would pull out her favorite LL Bean Sweater that she’d had since before I was born. (I’ve since stolen it.) Her favorite mug with stream rolling off her hot tea would be on the kitchen table next to books to be read and recipes to be tried. Everything just felt easy and at peace. As our families came together for the holidays, everything was perfect… it all came together effortlessly… we “gathered.”
Those cherished memories are what inspired us for our 2022-23 fall/winter theme. We’ll be bringing in rich tones, nature’s gifts and channeling all the Cottagecore vibes to hopefully create a heartfelt serene feeling. To me, the Cottagecore aesthetic is best described as “romanticizing your own life.” It’s filling your days with simple things that you love and cherish.
It’s gathering – gathering of beautiful things that make your heart sing - perhaps not expensive or grand things, but happy lovely little things. It’s gathering lessons from struggles to share with strangers, friends and the ones we love so that we can all grow together. It’s a gathering of laughter and humor to grace others when the world feels like it’s not fair or fun. It’s gathering starlight on the clear nights to shine through the darkness when we feel down and gathering the hot sunlight to carry us through the winter. It’s gathering things that may not mean much separately and maybe nothing at all monetarily - but when pulled together feels like being blessed with warm and wonderful riches.
“Gathered” is our decor theme at Inspired Chaos for the fall and winter of 2022/2023.
My mama and I always joke… “The most exquisite palace wouldn’t make us feel rich, but a tiny cottage in the woods certainly could…”
We hope “Gathered” makes you feel like you’ve walked into a charming cottage tucked away in an enchanted forest. We hope you feel welcome and wonderfully at home.
I thought the earth remembered me,
She took me back so tenderly,
Arranging her dark skirts,
her pockets full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before,
a stone on the riverbed,
nothing between me and the white fire
of the stars but my thoughts,
and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
Breathing around me, the insects, and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
Grappling with a luminous doom.
By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times into something better. (Sleeping in the Forest by Mary Oliver)