i wake to an iron sky; without a sliver of sun to lighten the density of my mind. i look down toward the pond and find it frozen too; while sounds from the road rise up through the bare trees, leaving me tense, as if house guests or repairmen or deliveries or burglars are heading up my driveway this very moment. the woodstove burns well on a day like today, but i sit at the table with my second cup of tea, unable to kindle a flame inside. i feel every bit as hard as the earth, until i look out and see the snow falling, and i surrender once again to the sweet return of its gentle rhythm–the gift of winter–an old woman’s life-giving tears.
a trillium of trees
like sisters standing tall
ready for church
one dark, one small, one silvery white
one dying, I think
one slight and frail
sticking together even in the breeze
sharing the rain, the sunlight, the soil
roots bound together, through time, and space
As the one-year anniversary of the tragedy of 11/9 approaches, I sense in my friends, what I increasingly feel inside. A weariness. Of the soul.
Perhaps we’re surprised that our generation, so rich in freedom, could be surrounded by so much suffering. While equally astonished at how often our hearts must break.
It’s as if we’ve been limping through this year, lifting our heads up from each appalling circumstance to align with our vision of what can be (what should be!), again and again.
While all along our crushed hearts have somehow… enlarged!
Demonstrating an astonishing capacity. To grieve. To fight. To love. Beyond what we ever imagined, at such a privileged time in history, necessary.
And then, how many times might we make one last stop for ice cream–because the weather is so unseasonably warm…
To whom are we beautiful as we go?
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.
A sacrament of my senses.
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.
The art of the day trip.
1388 feet to sea level.
Steeper, in every way, on the way back.