This is not the editorial that I intended to write for the spring issue. In fact the magazine is just about to go for its last zoom through proof reading and off to the press and I just pulled my completed Editor’s Letter to write something that is a little truer to my present mood. On the weekend I learned some very sad news about someone incredibly special. She is a friend to many and an inspiration in the artist community. She is a beautiful woman, a loving wife, mother and daughter. She is a creative mind and soul and now she will wear another badge of honor as a warrior as she begins her battle with a devastating illness.

In early February I went to visit Susan Tilsley Manley at her home and studio in Durham, Pictou County. We had a cup of tea and a great chat about her work. I was struck by the painstaking detail of her projects. From the preparation of the vegetable dyes for her fabric to muscling through the workout of the rinsing and wringing process in a giant tub full of snow that she puts her own back into. When the heavy lifting is done she transitions from the big picture to micro manage the most intricate details, tiny pieces of her hand dyed fabrics and threads that will eventually reveal an image and often a message. Her studio is bursting at the seams with ideas, works completed, works in progress and dreams to be realized. We joke that she will need to live to be 200 to accomplish her to-do list. We select the pieces we want to photograph for the Off the Wall feature in the magazine and I am out the door. All seems right with the world and we make a date to chat again when I return her goods. That chat has yet to happen. A week after our visit Susan’s life turned upside down as quickly as you could flip one of her throw pillows.

In the other Editor’s Letter now sitting on the desk beside me, I touch on the ideas of impermanence, mostly related to the changing season and our openness to let go of the old and welcome the new. I make a whimsical relation to impermanence in regards to the rituals of spring-cleaning and again as I think about our direction as we move forward as a community and our ability to relinquish some of the comforts of tradition to gain a collective momentum. What I didn’t talk about is our own impermanence in this world.
While I have faith that Susan will once again be well and with medicine and miracles she will have lots of time to finish all of those projects, we are all biding our time on this earth and what we do with that time is what really matters.

Most days my life pretty much resembles a feverish game of Whac-a-Mole. It starts pretty much as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning and the GAME OVER lights don’t flash until I fall back into bed at night.

The mantra is the same everyday. I try to be a good mum, wife, daughter, sister, friend, citizen and I try to find a few moments to be good to myself. I try to hit the target on the things that matter most to me but sometimes I can lose focus and spend too much time trying to Whac something off the list that really doesn’t matter. We all have clutter in our lives be it things or thoughts. Letting go of the things that matter the least makes the ideas of impermanence a little less scary because it means that you have less unfinished business in this big beautiful world.

We have a lot of fresh ideas and faces in the spring issue. Lori Byrne is always on the Threshold of the latest in local design and another wonderful woman from down the shore, Sheree Fitch has created a little something just for us. For a real breath of fresh air let Jennifer Hatt introduce you to Jake Chisholm, a young man with no boundaries when it comes to building community.

It’s spring in Nova Scotia. Don’t despair if there are still a few traces of snow on the trail and you are still scrapping your windshields for a few more weeks. Instead of looking at what Mother Nature leaves on the ground look up to the sky for a little constellation called Aries. She marks the vernal equinox that makes it all official. Happy Spring everyone, embrace all that you love, all that is new and say a prayer for those who need one.

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Crystal Murray
Crystal likes to think about her forays in journalism like interval training. " I have had a wonderful freedom to be home when I needed to be and work when the spirit moved me. In the spaces between I have learned things about myself, my family and my community that I hope will find a rightful place in the new and refreshed pages of At Home on the North Shore. "