dark shadows




Yesterday morning I awoke to wind and rain coming through our open bedroom window, and I knew I had to get up and out in it as soon as I could get my raincoat on.  It was still dark out.  It was absolutely magical to hear, see, and feel the elements, the scent of rain and damp earth carried on the wind.  Amber light glowed through windows as neighbors began to stir and ready themselves for the day.  Leaves swirled around my feet.  Rain tapped out notes on every surface.  The trees swished and swayed as the wind whispered through them. (Did you know there's a name for this?  Psithurism.)  It was an autumnal orchestra that made my heart race.  The full moon energy was palpable.  

Last evening we had a full moon supper in the dining hall, a simple feast of roasted root vegetables with warm sourdough bread.  Afterward, we sat by the wood stove inside, raised a glass, and then took one last walk, by the light of the moon.  These dark months always feel like home.

I think I've decided to delete my Instagram account.  I've been off and on over the last couple of years, and in recent months have been off more than on.  I'll log back in at the end of the year to save some pictures but most likely will say goodbye then.  I crave quiet time, to slip more easily into who I am / who I want to be, without external distractions or influences.  I've been feeling out of place there, so instead I'll probably be here more, quietly sharing what's currently in the orbit of my heart. 


Autumn feels so alive to me, but it reminds us all of the dark shadows we either battle or walk beside.  This thin season is a time for introspection and accepting our dark sides, for making connections with past and present.  I read somewhere that the thinnest parts of the day are sunrise and sunset.  Dusk definitely feels like my thin time and I'm making it a point to be outside then as often as I can.  I'm going try to tune in ever more to the animals and trees and the currents between our worlds (I'm already the eccentric lady on the hill who talks to the trees, squirrels, and crows), and to work on trusting my intuition and looking deep into the dark shadows.  

slow notes:  

➢   My sister sent me a link to Laura Makabresku's amazing photographs a few days ago.  I'm completely captivated.

➢   Hallowe'en/Samhain is just ten days away.  I've been thinking about new ways to celebrate this year.  As usual, we'll have a nice dinner at home (perhaps setting a place for a beloved ancestor this year), an outdoor fire, and do a lantern walk through the neighborhood.  I adore Miss Wondersmith and pretty much everything she does.  She made a great post last year with ideas for celebrating at home, which is where we like to be.  I love her idea of an herbal bath to wash away the baggage of the year.

➢   Our evenings of late have been starting early and include sitting by the fire with a good book for a spell.  Going inward, letting go of the heaviness that summer brought.  The theme of death is still with me, and I've been reading The Journey Into Spirit by Kristoffer Hughes, and so far it really resonates.  I'm also re-reading the beautiful Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue.  

Wishing you a windy, wonderful weekend.  Until next time ~ 

dream journal / 1


May 5, 2021

All my life I've had dreams that leave me feeling unsettled the next day.  Those I can't quite remember but still manage to stick with me all day are perhaps the most disturbing, like fingers pulling on my consciousness to drag me back into the dimly lit, abandoned, and vaguely apocalyptic environment of my usual dreams.  But over the weekend I had two dreams that, if not sweet dreams, were beautiful, thought-provoking, and filled with vivid color and light.    

In the first, I was walking on a narrow trail up an open, dry, golden grassy hill, the evening sun casting shadows and deepening colors.  I stopped for a moment and saw snakes at my sandaled feet - the most beautiful snakes I've ever seen - lapis blue, with a lighter sky blue stripe right down the center of their heads and backs.  There were tiny ones and large ones.  I somehow knew they were harmless and was unafraid.  As I looked up the hill in front of me there were hundreds of them flinging themselves up toward the sky in what felt like an act of unrestrained joy.  Awestruck, I couldn't move.

In the second dream, I saw an old woman sitting on the far side of a large dark room.  I very slowly moved toward her.  She was very wrinkled, her eyes barely visible.  As I got closer, her skin began to change into something that made me think of the surface texture of the skin of an elephant.  Still closer, her skin started to appear reptilian, then like feathers.  Even though she still had a pale color, other colors seemed to be coming up from beneath the surface.  A deep rosy flush spread down from her temples to her cheeks.  A beautiful translucent emerald green slowly encircled and spread out around her eyes, like watercolor as it hits the paper.  Her eyes, now unobstructed, focused, and clear, held my gaze, silently saying, "You can see me now.  This is who I've always been."  

I have my own ideas about these dreams, their timing, and what they are saying to me, but I'm sure they could be interpreted in many different ways.  And maybe they were just some crazy dreams (but I don't really believe that).

on death & weather



What a spring and summer it was.  Being in a new (old) house had us working on so many projects, and I think we still will be for quite some time.  In May I found out I had colon cancer.  To make a long story short, it was caught early by colonoscopy (my first), in August I had surgery, and things are looking good now.  I'll be monitored every few months for five years and hopefully all will remain clear during that time.  If it's time for your colonoscopy, just do it.  I put it off for four years.  I had no symptoms, no medical issues, and I really was not worried.  If I had procrastinated another year, things probably wouldn't have turned out as well.  

I was texting with some friends over the weekend and we were talking about fear of death.  I didn't quite know how to say how I feel to them, but when the spectre of possible death suddenly felt all too real to me, my feelings were complex.  Do I want to die?  Definitely not.  But I can't help but feel that death is an experience, a bridge, to whatever next adventure lies ahead, so I'm not sure I would say I really fear death, at least not my own.  The fear of losing members of my family is very real and always has been.  But I'm fascinated by death and what may happen to us, our souls, our spirits, and where we really go from here.  Any fear around death is more about its consequences, about what I leave behind - my son without his mother, my twin without her twin - and the sadness of my whole family who have already lost so many.  I do also feel some guilt; I got cancer but came through it as I did, when others I know have suffered greatly (some for years) and/or lost their lives - people beloved far beyond just their families who have given to the world so much more than I ever have.  I feel unworthy.  Perhaps if we approached death as Buddhists do, we would all do better with it.  Death is inevitable, and contemplating and facing our impermanence can help us deal with aging and death in a realistic way and encourages us to live a meaningful, compassionate life.  See, complex feelings.

All of the above had me thinking a lot about a couple of dreams I had a couple of weeks before my diagnosis.  I typed out these dreams in a draft post the day after because they were so unusual, and reading over the draft again yesterday I realized I had forgotten some of the details of the dreams and it brought everything back so vividly.  Maybe I'll share those next time. 

Phew, I'll lighten up a bit now.  Thank you for staying with me. 

Autumn is here! Aside from the stunning changes happening outside, one of my favorite things about fall is the house always smelling of woodsmoke.  We've been having early morning fires almost every day, more often than at night because nighttime is for walking.  After dinner we like to bundle up with Pip and walk through the tree-lined streets past porches twinkling with lights to the park.  Walking all the way around the outer edge of the park and back home is about three miles, and it feels like such a good way to end the day.  I go for long walks in the mornings, too, but night walks are magical, senses attuned to the unseen.  

A few weekends ago I went to Portland to spend a couple of days with two online friends.  We stayed in a condo in Northwest, and we ate and talked and walked in the rain and shuffled through the cards and the thoughts they brought up.  I'm so glad I didn't let my social anxieties keep me from going.  I feel so lucky to call them friends.  

In the last two weeks we have celebrated T's 17th birthday and our 19th anniversary.  This season feels chock full of celebrations, of nature and of life (and death?).  We've moved into the freshly made-over dining hall out back, and have brought our rickety table that's been on the deck out front to the covered patio in the back.  I've been having breakfast there, no matter the weather, but dinners are usually in the dining hall now, unless it's around the fire pit.  Mushrooms are pushing through the earth, leaves are swirling in the wind, and, on the best days, rain is falling and it feels like everything is waking up and alive again.  Last night at dusk we went to the park by the river and took a muddy trail in the pouring rain.  As it got darker and the rain heavier, it felt as if I were floating above the trail with joy, out in the trees after dark in the glorious wild weather.  How are you enjoying fall?

slow notes:

⩥     This, from Center for Humans & Nature by Christi Belcourt.

⩥  Currently reading:  The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram.  I'm only a third a third of the way through this and am already a huge fan.  More here

(I want to take pictures for this space again and am dusting off my camera, but honestly, I hate lugging it around.  Does anyone out there know of any really good small cameras that are easy to use?

Until next time ~




Cow parsnip has come and gone. Queen Anne's Lace is suddenly everywhere in abundance.  Lawns are brown, potted flowers a bit leggy.  My kale grows tall under the warm sun, watered daily but rarely cut.  I've noticed the last two nights that it has been dark earlier, and this morning it was still dark just a bit past 5 when my husband got up to put the kettle on.  We're slowly turning with the wheel, feeling leggy.

For weeks some things were weighing on me that I couldn't shake enough to do much of anything, but as some knots have unraveled my spirits have lifted and I've gotten back to work on some projects I abandoned in May.  I abruptly stopped painting the house exterior and deck railings, but Thor has helped by picking up where I left off, and the entire front is painted a creamy white now, the railings a deep smoky brown.  It's a bit overwhelming, but I figure if we do a little bit every week, before the cold weather comes it *should* be done.  And it's so nice to work on a project with my son.  The red shed's exterior is now that same smoky brown, the interior that creamy white, with ochre window panes and shelves, and a new floor in place.  I wanted it to feel like a cabin in a dark forest, the ochre windowpanes like golden candlelight spilling out.  I love it.  

I bought a juicer back in May, and the slow and meditative process of choosing, cutting, and processing fruit and vegetables has become a favorite part of my day.  This is part of an effort to boost my body's defenses against cancer, as well as just being something I've always wanted to do.  Now it's habit, and that feels good.  

We got rid of our microwave a few months ago.  It's not that I think microwaves cause cancer (though I can't say I'm completely comfortable with them either).  We needed the counter space in our tiny kitchen, and I really enjoy the process of slowly stirring something on the stovetop or carefully watching it in the oven as it warms up.  Not everything needs to happen lickety-split.  Slowing down this way also makes me appreciate what I consume more, as I'm putting more time and care into it.  

slow notes: 

⩥  Last Sunday was World Listening Day.  I love the concept of acoustic ecology (touched on here), concerning the soundscapes of the earth, natural and human-made.  I often think of this in positive terms, as in paying attention to the sounds of the natural world, but I also worry about the effect of noise pollution on wildlife. 
⩥  I've just read Kerri Andrews' book Wanderers: A History of Women Walking.  I am a little bit obsessed with the idea of going on a walking trip.  As in, a trek through the Scottish highlands, along the coast of England, or through the forests of the Pacific Northwest.  Long gone for me are the days of wanting to be a runner.  I have always loved walking, as you can take in so much more of your surroundings.  The plants, trees, flowers, wildlife, houses, sounds, textures, and smells.  The sensory benefits are high, and that feels like it's good for my brain and my well being.  The NYT has this to say.  
⩥  Still in keeping with listening, this from Hakai Magazine's podcast, The Sound Aquatic.

Aside from being a dining room in general, the shed out back was also intended to become a special place for moon dinners.  Full moon, new moon.  Any reason to celebrate the moon.  I can't wait for these to commence.  I intended to get the interior set up today but we have decided to escape to the sea this afternoon.  Either way, we will raise a glass tomorrow night and think of all others basking in her glow.  

Until next time ~ L.

a quick catch-up


Hello.  I've been trying to write this post for a few weeks now but just never made the time to finish it.  I wanted it to be more eloquent and thoughtful, but my time is limited at the moment so forgive me this quickly-written note. 

Monday morning I drove through the Columbia River Gorge in 116 degree heat to my parents' house in eastern Washington.  My mom has been in the hospital or a rehabilitation facility for a couple of months now after having some issues (breaking her back among them), and my dad has decided to sell their house and move into an assisted living situation.  While I think this will be good for them, it's hard.  The last two days we've worked on dismantling their home, life as they have known it.  

In May with routine testing I received a diagnosis no one ever wants to get.  After CT, ultrasounds, and three biopsies with three different doctors, things are looking better than I could have hoped for in the beginning.  I have one more scan later this week, and then I hope to hear a firm plan of treatment.

In better news, late spring/the start of summer has been absolutely gorgeous.  Flowers everywhere.  We've made friends with a squirrel that likes to come up onto our front deck every day.  A couple of crows caw at my bedroom window in the morning and walk the front yard when I'm out watering.  A young woodpecker loves the gum tree in our front yard.  The Towhee that used to fling himself against the kitchen window has a family that lives in the camellia out back.  Every now and then I see or hear a raccoon along the back fence perimeter.  I love making these connections with the creatures that share our space/the world.    

I'm keeping this short today as a quick catch-up, but I hope to be back here soon, and next time I'll have some slow notes for you.  

I leave you with the song that has kept me going these last several weeks.  I've listened to it countless times and it never fails to soothe my anxious heart.  The Water, sung by Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling

"...the water sustains me without even trying..."

x - Lori

by mlekoshi