November 8, 2016


The deer have been coming through.  The little ones still have spots, although not for long.  When they stand still with their mothers on the the periphery of the woods, they’re invisible.  If you wait, they’ll resume their leisurely walk, ears and tails flicking, foraging for food.


About two weeks ago, I watched a documentary about the history of military camouflage.  Normally I wouldn’t have seen it, but I was really sick and couldn’t do much besides watch TV.  I was totally dumbfounded by the intersection of art/commerce/war.


I think my illness was in response to the intensity of the events just prior. I was traveling when I got a call that my mom had fallen again.  We went straight from the airport that night to see her.  She was heavily medicated for pain, but she smiled when we got there.  She did her best to rally, she really did. However, three days later we said goodbye.


Things are out of focus right now, and yet there are moments of clarity.

Today I was thinking about the deer, with their sleek Darwinian coats.  I was also questioning the wisdom of talking about my mother’s death.  The grief is too nuanced to manage neatly; I haven’t had enough time to sit with it, to be still and listen, before I forage again.


I’m lucky that the simple act of getting dressed is nurturing.  Today I chose my father’s hat, my daughter-in-law’s earrings and bracelets, plus other bracelets that include gifts from my parents. I chose pieces that I made and bragged about when they were featured in a magazine, fulfilling my promise to my dad that I would do it.


After he died, she would get upset that he hadn’t been by to see her. She worried that her parents didn’t know where she was. She gazed at me and marveled that we’d been friends for so long, and weren’t we lucky?

Yes, absolutely.


Details: Skirt, scarf, armwarmers: upcycled by me from thrifted materials. Hat: my dad. Shoes: on sale years ago. Hand woven top by Judi Gaston: thrifted. Handwoven vest by Yasuko Kurisaka: purchased recently at local boutique. Handmade brass earrings: Lynzee Lynx.  And of course, the bracelets and rings: 40 years of gifts and collecting.






16 Responses to Camouflage

  1. Feda on November 8, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Jean I can see the beauty/clarity in all the wonder and amazement of life’s mystery. The deer story is so beautiful. Such graceful and present creatures. It’s sad they get hunted down. I can relate so much to you wearing your emotions and uplifting yourself through adornment. Sending you so much love during this transition. Your mom will forever be a part of you no matter her physical state. This post was courageous and inspiring and you are breathtaking in all your layers.

    p.s. That skirt is fabulous and you wear your fathers hat so well!

    • Jean on November 9, 2016 at 12:15 am

      Thank you my love. Your friendship always sustains me, through all the highs and lows. Love you!!

  2. Melanie on November 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I’ve taken in all your soft words and photos. I feel that by saying more I risk marring the delicate and beautiful clarity you’ve created in some way. I’ll limit my stumbling to this: I am thinking of you.

    • Jean on November 9, 2016 at 12:20 am

      There were so many threads that didn’t quite get woven in as I was writing, ideas and correlations that didn’t get refined and connected. Thank you for your understanding. Miss you. xoxoxo

  3. Natalia Lialina on November 9, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Dearest Jean, I want to give you a nice big warm hug now. It’s hard to say goodbye. The comfort is in loving and knowing that your connection will never disappear, and most probably become even stronger. Your words are so deeply touching – such a deeply connected soul and talented writer you are! The photos, the colors, the layers of your outfit, all of it together, so beautiful and expressive. Sending you all my love!

    • Jean on November 11, 2016 at 11:10 am

      I appreciate your kind words! As you know, writing and dressing are forms of self care and self preservation. I’m so glad to have friends like you who understand the process so profoundly. Thank you so much for your loving presence. xoxoxo

  4. Elizabeth g. Arthur on November 9, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Dear Jean, Thank you for sharing these beautiful, personal thoughts. Sending love and blessings to you.
    Elizabeth. xx

    • Jean on November 11, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Thanks Elizabeth. It helps to write and it’s lovely of you to take the time to respond. Sending much love back. :-)

  5. Sarah Webb on November 9, 2016 at 4:17 am

    What a beautifully thought provoking post,Jean. On this awful day( for all of us), it is uplifting to think of nature, mothers and daughters ( I must phone my mum today), and the comfort of clothes and jewellery that mean something to us .x

    • Jean on November 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Yes, you know, on so many levels!! I’ve been culling my closet to bring a small bit of order to the overall chaos.

      I’ve been pondering the proverbial Invisibility Cloak, as something that makes you impervious/invisible to external gazes or unwanted energy when it’s necessary to get out in the world. Somehow layers with “meaning” provide a similar protection while I still feel so raw and fragile.

      Hope you mum is well. I’m definitely going to be sewing in the next few weeks and look forward to your IG inspiration. xoxoxo

  6. Vix on November 9, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Dearest Jean, I’m so so sorry about your beloved Mum. I’m glad you saw her one last time and that she managed to smile. Take comfort in that.
    Your story about the deer and your beautiful outfit enhanced with items passed on with love are sublime.
    I felt strange writing about both my parents’ deaths but it helped burst the bubble of grief and unspoken words that were holding me back.
    Sending you all the love in the world. xxx

    • Jean on November 11, 2016 at 11:34 am

      I know you understand, and I’ve always loved your posts about them. I remember writing one post barely able to see the screen because I was crying so hard. You’re the best. One day, someday, we will hang out for real. I’ve known that since I first “met” you, years ago. LOVE YOU. xoxoxo

  7. pao on November 9, 2016 at 10:24 am

    oh Jean, you look a pilgrim among the camouflage of nature. Nothing to say, nothing to do, only being. being hazy. Loving vibes emanating from me to you, babe. and all across the universe.

    • Jean on November 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Yup. That’s it. Well said. Lazy, hazy Love vibes, all across the universe. And sew be it. Thank you Pao.

  8. The Style Crone on November 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Dear Jean, I can feel you through your words and how beautifully you write of your mother’s death and the days following this painful loss. Wearing the important pieces from you family honors them and I am touched by how you express yourself through creativity during this time.

    You have been an amazing caregiver for years now. The camouflage, the deer, the history of fashion. Storytelling is one of your many talents. Wishing you peace and healing and sending much love. Thinking of you. xoxo

    • Jean on November 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

      I could’ve written virtually all of these words to you, dearest Judith, through the years. Your empathy, beauty, and wisdom are a gift. Thank you for being my friend. I love you. xo

Leave a Reply to The Style Crone Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *