Lift Up Your Spirit with the "Song of the Hills"

I made one of my own small format donations for Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) during a difficult time. A time when I sought solace in beauty, in nature, and in poetry. I looked to the faraway hills from a window of the home I was staying in this summer in Anchorage, Alaska.

My brother lay near death, in a nearby hospital. My mother lay on a couch surrounded by another brother who stayed behind to care for her in our childhood home on Douglas Island, near Juneau, Alaska, just about to enter her 8th year of Alzheimer's Disease.

Our childhood home is set forward from the protective embrace of Mt. Bradley, and facing the protective walls of Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts on one end and what my father always called "Old Man Mountain" further along down the Gastineau Channel. That channel may separate Douglas Island from the capitol city of Juneau, but it also funneled so much power and majesty along its path from so much beauty and bounty, as well.

We grew up....myself as the oldest sister of four younger brothers. And now, the first brother down in age from me, was fighting for his life. Two months of the 'flu' followed by pneunmonia, then MRSA, then brain inflammation and horrendous brain seizures.

Two more brothers had flown up immediately to be with our brother, Doug, in Anchorage, as I had, when we heard the news of the severity of his illness. While others were filled with fear, I kept myself calm and as at peace as I possibly could and my heart sang with the hope filled song and spirit of the mountains. I looked out that way, and centered myself..each and every morning as the sun rose above, and again as it set at night.

I needed to feel the peace, the positivity of something greater than just hope, and I need to feel close to the divine.

As a symbol the mountain has often been equated with all that is most high, with reaching upwards to the heavens and to the heavenly spirit in whatever name we called it. Old Man Mountain is the father, the others, his son, and in Oregon we have mountains known as the "Three Sisters".

Whether gods or goddesses, heavenly presence or symbols of reaching upward to perfection and peace, the mountain gives such a sense of power and of peace rising above our daily and lives of stress and strife.

My brother survived his first challenging month of fighting for his life. He was medvaced across mountain ranges from Anchorage, and over Juneau, to Seattle where he lived in another hospital for another month.

Now, he is near in Oregon...where if his hospital window could only face and allow him to see..he has many mountains ...both in Washington and Oregon, that he might view from the distance.

The power and the beauty of those mountains everywhere sing to us all. The rivers gurgle and the waterfalls dance.

And we are all entranced and lifted up by their "Song of the Hills."


11,086 - Song of the Hills

Michele Bilyeu
Salem, OR USA
Width: 12" Length: 9"
Designer: Original design
Materials/Techniques: Batiks, hand dyes, and commercial cottons, Shiva paint sticks, ink jet printing, and metallic threads.
Artist Statement: The poet, Rabindranath Tagore, said of his beloved Himalayan mountains:
"I touch God in my song as the hill touched the far-away sea with its waterfall."
These words were my inspiration, and this this poet, my muse.

Dedication: In memory of those whose lives have touched ours, as the mountains touch the sea. And to those who have inspired us to reach out with our hearts, and touch others lives in return.

My AAQI Quilts:
1954 -The Heartbreak of Alzheimer's  ($30)
1955 - For Better, For Worse ($30)
1956 - What Dreams May Come  ($30)
1957 - You Don't Bring Me Flowers  ($30)
1958 - Each And Every Day Is A Gift  ($30)
1959 - Love Is All There Is  ($35)
4946 - Liberated Rose   ($45)
4947 - Transitioning Between the Polarities   ($80)
4948 - Alzheimer's: It's More Than Black and White  ($40)
5211 - Mama's Brain Got Tangles...but Mama's Still Inside (In Traveling Exhibit)
5625 - The Butterfly Upon the Sky   ($75)
5626 - The Parasol is the Umbrella's Daughter   ($75)
5969 - Fish Tales  ($79.59)
5970 - Pickled Mushrooms   ($40)
6077 - Within the Depths ($80)
6078 - Far, Far, Away   ($130)
6165 - Twilight Dreams ($60)
6399 - The Alzheimer's Prayer (In Current Traveling Exhibit)
6439 � Fly Away Home   ($80)
6598 � I Want to Go Home ($75)
6761 - Sparks of Heavenly Fire   ($165)
6956 � The Alzheimer�s Prayer   ($87.16)
7148 � Bah Humbug!   ($50.46)
7322 � Topsy Turvy ($75)
7656 � Remembering Laurel  ($50)
7820 � Laurel Points the Way   ($45.88)
8227 � Rainbow Snout   ($59.64)
8228 � With You All the Way   ($64.23)
8500 � Froggie Went A Courtin�
8501 � A Heart Filled With Hope and Love   ($85)
8672 - Rock On   ($55)
8673 - Country Cowgirl at Heart
8674 - Come and Play
8738 - The Power of Transition   ($55)
8953 - Don't Worry, Spiders
8954 - Let Me Entertain You
9125 - Change and Transition  ($175)
9400 - A Dream Within A Dream
9648 - Changing the World   ($90)
9992 - Tied Together By Love   ($55)
10,006 - One World, One Shared Challenge
10,281 - Longing For Freedom
10,680 - Ethereal
11,086 - Song of the Hills
11,372 - At Peace In My Garden
11,682 - The Shirt Off Their Backs
11,819 - Bright Heart of Many Blessings

With Heart and Hands: What is the AAQI QAM?

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!