Image | Sarah West

Tulip borders are abloom, scarlet petals compliment yellow daffodils. Cherry Blossoms and Japanese Magnolia’s lace garden paths. Azaleas proclaim signs of Spring are evident, and I cannot resist this opportunity to savor them. Early days of March are unpredictable. The sun invites one to disrobe, shed the layers and drink in the warmth; while chilling breezes send us right back indoors, reaching for sweaters and coats. Much like the seedlings who slumber within winter earth, I too, grow anxious to emerge.

In February, each year, I begin sifting through Spring recipes and contemplate garden plans. Recently, I designed two containers for new topiary installations for the gallery facade. I reference the local weather forecast, daily, on iPhone, only to see near freezing temperature predictions for the second week of March. I suppose it’s best that I’ve procrastinated in putting away those winter clothes.

Restless and wanting of the sun, I paint my way through cold days. I reach for more books and cook. I consider myself rather fortunate; it seems the books most read, resting upon my shelves, are those written by dear friends. While others reflect times shared with them.

I refuse to believe that anything happens to us by chance. Instead, I’m certain, that we choose our path carefully by our acts. We place one foot in front of the other. We walk to the bookshop on the corner. We purchase the ticket, attend the lecture, ask the author to sign the book, unknowing what the next chapters will render. We write them with every mile traveled.

The book leaped from the shelf. I’d already seen the movie; curiosity to explore more compelled me to buy it. The movie was good, the book was better. I re-read it time and again, and purchased the others. Then, I acquired additional copies to loan to friends, patrons and students. The rest, as social media so faithfully reminds me, is history.

Revisiting the written works of Frances Mayes restores the sunlight. As the seasons change and the light shifts once again, A Year in the World (Frances Mayes, 2010) has become my companion. She opens the door, revealing new passages within our world, showing they’re really not so distant. Proving that life as it is lived, celebrated and shared is the real adventure.

Seated at a cafe table, the lined table cloth ripples with the breezes. The scarlet hues of the tulips mimic the woven French Rattan chairs, while the aroma of Jasmine tea from lunch, still lingers. I insist on extending my time in the sunlight. Besides I have to know what the cafe’s cappuccino is like.

I open, A Year in the World,  and savor the next chapter.

—Art is Life Expressed— Sarah West

To learn more about the work of Frances Mayes, visit

Image | Sarah west