Seasonal amnesia. All this unseasonable weather lulls me into a sense of suspended summer; so when I hear a roar (was it yesterday morning or the day before) moving through, what? the trees? down the mountain? across the land? in the sky? What was it–A truck? A plane? An invasion of some kind?
Oh, right, that’s the sound of wind, a Winter Wind.
Summer brings me to the water and into the garden, while Autumn invites me into the woods, and onto the paths that wind in the afternoon light–the crunch of leaves, the pine needle carpet, the fallen birch tree–until I arrive back at the house, with a stop at the wood shed to add my labor to the stacking–an overwhelming prospect at first–until the rhythm of wood upon wood finds me, and the pleasure of order and reward has its way, so that when I step back I am surprised and sweetly satisfied that my effort lent one more row to warmth this winter while the pile in the driveway is that much smaller.
Shut down the water to the outdoor shower & tub.
The wheel turns.
the frost is heavy. the sun barely over the trees. the house cold. the woodstove ready, but not yet lit this year. i watch the icy crystals begin their surrender to the day. a greening circle around the fire pit (though it hasn’t been used in weeks.)
is there memory of heat? of communion? of love?
if my son was here, he’d explain it, scientifically–why that particular spot warms first, but i prefer to imagine something greater than understanding, like the way this circle of green in a sea of white suspends my attention as i hurry through the morning routine…
welcome back squash & soup & socks
Once upon a time Casey & I were the types to come to New England on long weekends like this one. Leaf Peepers, you called us. We wore wool and sipped cider and gushed at pumpkins on farms and gasped at colors on hillsides. We’d return from our jaunts in Vermont to spend afternoons in the backyard of Casey’s grandmother’s house–in the Berkshires–gazing at Ceil Mente’s blazing Maple and beyond that, the ever-compelling presence of Mount Greylock.
At the Jersey shore, we had to chase after fall–at craft shows and historical villages and wishing we could wear sweater–but here, Autumn was in our laps.
How many times might we make one last stop for ice cream–because the weather is so unseasonably warm…
I’m desperately grasping.
Toward what remains.
All that is local–from the earth right here in my garden or the farm stand up the road or the farmer’s market downtown tucked beside the brook encircled by trees.
Yellow peppers sing in my mouth.
I don’t know what they’re singing
But I can feel the vibration.
Parsley. Dill. Leafy greens.
What tomatoes do, is so intimate, as to be unspeakable.
There is an odd, but precious, stillness to this morning.
No lawn mower or chainsaw or hunting rifle.
No voices of campers across the pond.
No dogs barking. No cars passing. No planes overhead.
No trucks out on the highway even.
No sound at all really.
Except for me sipping tea on the front porch,
and the purr of the Whetstone cascading through the falls,
and the honey bees buzzing in the arugula flowers,
and the snake rustling through the leaves ahead of my step on the stone path to the shower,
and the birds in the cherry tree and the red maple and the pine.
I gave up my book and my health to the month of August, to my sister’s wedding, to my roots rising up from the sea and arriving in the mountains, en masse, consuming me, until I’d forgotten why I’d left home, who I ever was without them, and where I’d been heading.
It’s been more than 3 weeks since they’ve retreated, and still I am combing bits and pieces out of my hair, like seaweed, after a late August swim.
I loved it as a kid. Not to eat. Never. To lift up from where it had been drying in the sun and the sand and press between finger and thumb.
Too wet and it would squish.
Too dry and it would crumble.
Just right and it would, POP!
What seaweed remains on me has long gone brittle
or is so mushy as to be unworthy of an attempt at popping.
I could complain about the weather, beautiful from the depths of my feverish days on the couch, and now that I’m standing again, dark and dreary and so cold.
But there’s Houston. And friends with cancer. And the White House. So what does my weather matter.
Still, it’s Tuesday, the last Tuesday before school steals summer, so there are cookies at the Farm Stand up the road.
Tiny chirps let us know that the eggs in the nest above our light fixture have hatched,
and so this year, having failed yet again to prevent her nesting there,
we re-arrange our tiny porch to better accommodate feeding & flight,
which is to say: poop;
while eagerly awaiting the sight of little heads popping up from her moss wrapped nest.
She comes every year.
Last June Casey saw each one of her chicks take flight.
She’s been my steady companion this cold spring–flying out each time I arrive home or depart,
and then as the weather warmed, flying back and forth to the nest as I watched from the kitchen, fixing meals for my family, while she fed hers.
Last week I introduced her to a friend.
We’re all Mamas after all.
But then a day went by, and I realized I hadn’t seen her, and then another, and I was almost certain I hadn’t, so this morning, I asked Casey to check.