When I was eleven I sent away for my first Burpee Seed Catalog. Today, the bookcase in my home office contains a shelf dedicated to instructional volumes on the art and science of gardening. In a winter ritual when the robins first appear, I pull the books down and spread them out in a part of the house that gets good light. On frosty days I aerate them, flipping through their pages and moving different titles to the top.
The truth is that I've never lived anywhere I could keep a substantial garden, and relocating to the Oregon coast means I'll be lucky if I can eke out an August container crop of Green Zebras. Still, my potted rose geranium and lemon verbena plants have wintered over, and a treasured copy of Betty Crocker's Kitchen Gardens serves as a magic object on my nightstand, scenting my midwinter dreams with honeysuckle.
I hope the Sitka Center's 2019 Workshop Catalog serves as a magic object for you. Like a lovingly woven nest, may it keep our inner painters and poets warm, incubating our natural creativity and coaxing us to wrestle free of our shells and explore come spring.
The work of pastel artist Sondra Holtzman, whose image is featured on the cover of this year's Sitka catalog, holds this power for me. Gazing into Holtzman's night sky, I am eleven years old again, lying on my back in the grass on a warm night, feeling the earth rotate out from under me, stirred by an innate and awakened sense of wonder to deepen my understanding of the world beyond the boundaries of my own back yard.
With special thanks to Carrie Hardison, Sara Haug, Ernie Rose, and everyone who helped bring the 2019 Sitka Workshop Catalog to fruition,