ebb & flow


Snow has been falling and melting and then falling again in the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon.  There comes a time when a lot of roads seem to be inaccessible for the winter up there, so we are going as often as we can, while we still can.  During this, the most magical time of the year, I feel like we are playing hide and seek with all the spirits and creatures of the forest, seen and unseen.  I can feel them more strongly than ever, whispering through the trees.

At home, the weather is warmer, but we are still leaning into fall.  Pumpkins are on the porch, leaves swirl up and down the street, flannel sheets and extra blankets are on the beds, candles are lit nightly, and I have taken once again to the rocking chair by the fireplace (where I am now) to read or knit or catch up with online things.  I make time to sit on our little front step and gaze at the moon before I go to bed.  Most nights we are in bed fairly early, and we are sleeping a little bit later in the morning without loud birdsong or any light coming through the cracks in the blinds.  This bothers my husband who is normally an ultra early riser, but it just feels natural to let our bodies ebb and flow with the seasons, the rhythms of the earth.  I fully surrender to this slower, darker time of year.  What most would probably call an ebb, to me feels like flow.

I've been listening to Arvo Pärt and falling quite happily under the spell of his music.  We are going to a concert next month featuring some of his work and I'm trying to learn all I can.  I especially love his more minimal, melancholy work.  Read more about him here.  (I find and listen to his music on Spotify and watch performances on YouTube with my basic, free accounts.)  

Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake does not represent any of my favorite kinds of classical music, but we got season tickets to the symphony and last weekend went to see and hear just that, performed by the Walla Walla Symphony and the Eugene Ballet, right here in our own little town.  I was very surprised that as soon as the curtain went up I was struggling to keep big tears from spilling over onto my cheeks.  It was an overwhelming emotional response, one that I could barely control.  Art - its beauty can split you in two.  I loved it, and I want more. 

I've gotten way behind on posting and have a camera full of pictures from various outings getting older by the day, so I'll try to be back here again soon.  

Samhain / Halloween is in five days, new moon in one - are you ready?  How do you celebrate?  Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries is one of my favorite resource for, as she says, establishing a deep relationship with the earth. There's so much good to read on her blog, Woolgathering & Wildcrafting. Read her ideas for celebrating Samhain here.  



As an introvert and hsp, I've always felt most connected when I'm in the woods with my closest friends the trees, and definitely more comfortable around animals than people.  The unspoken is understood.  If I can gaze into an animal's eyes, or feel the spirits of the natural world (or otherworld) around me, that communication is everything.  I've written about it here before, that nature accepts, that nature nurtures.  Without a doubt, nature is my greatest ally.

I've been listening to a new-to-me podcast, Fair Folk, by Danica Boyce, and her interview with author Nigel Pennick has been on repeat.  (I now want to read every single one of his books.) He talks about "eldritch," the otherworldly within our world and how you can experience the eldritch world, such as in natural places where something of the earth comes out, like a tree, a river, a well, but also in hidden and unexpected places.  I feel this every time I'm out in the woods.  I now know this name.  Your experience could be an encounter with an animal.  This particular possibility struck a chord with me, as I have had several what I would consider magical encounters with animals, the most recent just last week. 

I was walking my usual path one morning and thought I saw a very large bird through the trees on an open patch of grass.  As I came up a small incline where the trees opened up, a peahen was there.  She turned sideways and looked at me.  I stopped cold and kept my eyes on her.  I really wasn't sure what kind of bird she was at first.  She had a light brown body and emerald green neck and head.  It was only when I could see a wisp of plume I thought she might be a pea hen.  We stood still just gazing at each other for what was probably mere seconds but felt like an eternity, and then she slowly walked into the trees.  I'm sure that most people would not think much of this other than "where did this come from?" ... but what I felt was an indescribable connection.

There have been others, but the most memorable animal encounter I've had was around 2012 in Salem, Oregon late one night on River Road.  I went around a corner and saw that just ahead in my headlights was a buck.  He was beautiful and majestic, a truly magical creature.  I stopped, a shiver running through me.  He didn't run, he just turned his gaze toward my car for, again, what felt like an eternity.  I can still see his massive antlers very slowly turning.  At the time I felt very strongly that it meant something, for me to see that being at that time, to feel such a connection when I so needed to, and I still do.  

I don't know if it's the magical yet natural turning of the wheel, where my mind is at right now, if I'm just reading into things or because I'm feeling very open to things, but in other ways as well it has felt like the natural and the otherworldly are dancing not only in my peripheral vision but in full view of my open heart and mind.  Even when it appears there is nothing, look deeper, open up, and you might see what has been there all along.

by mlekoshi