still the days


I woke up on the 14th buzzing with happy anticipation of the day.  Not only was it Valentine's Day - a day we have tried to make special in a very noncommercial way the last several years - it was the day we were packing up the car and driving to the Oregon coast for the weekend.  I think all three of us were more than ready to get out of our small town for a few days, and to visit Portland and Salem on the way.  

We took our time as we were in no particular rush, driving by our Portland house and visiting my beloved trees behind it, then walking  around Salem and riding the carousel that Thor rode so many times when he was little.  By the time we made it to our little cottage at the coast it was dark, stormy, and we were very hungry.  After checking in, we went to the closest market to pick up food and drinks, and quite contentedly spent the rest of the evening in front of the fireplace listening to the ocean that was just past our window.  

The next day we took Pip to meet the ocean, first below our cottage, then at Otter Rock.  He ran in big circles just like Klaus used to do, and it made us so happy to see.  It was  windy, pouring rain, and we had the beach entirely to ourselves.  After that we wandered a bit, going to Depoe Bay, Newport, eating in Nye Beach, then eventually settling back into our cottage as darkness fell.  

The days with Thor are increasingly precious as the window of time  he will still be at home grows smaller.  When we were in Salem, the memories hit me hard ... those were such happy days in his young life, with neighborhood friends coming and going, and endless outdoor adventuring by the three of us. Selfishly, I don't want his childhood to end.  But, there are still a few years left.  These are still the days.  

We talked a lot about how much we love this side of Oregon that is so much a part of us, that someday we will return there.  The time is right for us to be where we are for the next few years, but the pull of the forested, misty, fern-filled side of Oregon will take us back there someday.  

perhaps twenty


It's early, 4:30 a.m.  I can't sleep, so I decide to start my day since it's not that much earlier than my usual wake time.  I slept well, despite waking around 3, which is not at all unusual for me.  My mid-life night sweats have long conditioned me to a familiarity with the darkest hours of the night.  I normally lie awake, eyes often wide open and staring into the fathomless darkness, my mind relentlessly going over things - things I am worried about (a long list) or things I want to get done when daylight arrives.  But today I am up and making a cup of green tea under the soft glow of a string of lights in the kitchen, intending to continue reading a book I started yesterday (this book is introspective, quiet, and so lovely) but ultimately letting these words tumble out here instead.  

The early morning silence is delicious.  The clean slate and brand-newness of the day spreads out in front of me.  I take this time to pause and ponder what the day can be, what I have the power to make of it.  How can I do better than I did yesterday, or last week?  Seeing my parents every day is a reminder that these days are not to be wasted.  Time is a precious gift.  How will I use it?

"How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?  Perhaps twenty.  And yet it all seems limitless." - Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

Imbolc : hope


Friday at my parents' house I noticed that their daffodils have pushed through the earth in rebirth.  I've always strongly felt the seasons and been drawn to Celtic things, but the last couple of years I have been learning more about the wheel of the year and the ancient seasonal celebrations that somehow feel so appropriate and needed now.   

Imbolc is a festival in the cycle of the Celtic year marking the beginning of the agricultural spring, the midpoint between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  One interpretation of Imbolc translates to "in the belly," and referred to the start of the lambing season, when ewes would give milk just before giving birth.  It is when farmers would ready for the first plowing of fields in anticipation of planting new crops.  Days grow longer, new life begins to appear.  The natural world reawakens.

Yesterday morning I opened the window, letting fresh cool air flow in.  I took the flannel sheets off the bed, replacing them with the lighter sheets of spring and summer.  We had decided to spend part of the day by the river, so after breakfast we made the short drive over the state line into Oregon for our walk.  The river was powerful, rushing and loud.  I took two strips of linen to soak, and as I put my hands into the water I could feel her energy, her lifeforce.  I hung the strips on a tree to impart wishes for hope, healing, and goodwill.  It began to rain, a soft but steady rain.  I found myself walking faster and faster, energized by the elements.  It's so much drier here than Western Oregon, I forget how good hiking in the rain feels.  My husband commented that it felt like home, that all the mossy rocks reminded him of our hiking adventures in the Santiam/Willamette National Forest, some of our most precious memories.  

Once home, I went to the walking path near our house to see if the snowdrops I usually see in January there had come up yet.  I was thrilled to see that they were there, flowering and imparting hope.  Along the creek there was a dead opossum, perfectly laid on one side.  I gazed silently at it, wondering how it came to be there, hoping it was not too painful a death.  On my way back up the path I noticed the plastic bag stuck in the branches across the street that I see every time I drive out.  I ambled down into the gulch beside the road but the bag was too far up and deep into the bramble and I couldn't reach it.  It was sickenening to see how much garbage is down there that is unseen from the road.  I've often seen deer walking through the brush there and now I know they've been walking through our human trash.  I used potato chip and cereal bags that were blowing around to put as much trash in as I could, but I'll have to go back with a bigger bag to collect the rest.  

As I was coming out of the gulch I saw the female peahen I wrote about several posts ago moving through trees on the other side of the path.  I took this as a great and wonderful sign of hope.

Last night we lit a white candle for rebirth and an orange candle to welcome back the sun.  

There is so much more to Imbolc / St. Brigid's Day, but this is how I celebrated this year.  I hope you feel the hope of the new season, whether you choose to celebrate or not. ♥︎
by mlekoshi