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 female peacock 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 peacock.  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 magestic, 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.



There is magic in the air.  Clouds and rain have returned, my long lost old friends.  As fall approaches I feel an awakening, not only of the earth (winter always feels more alive to me than summer), but in myself, entering into the darker seasons that feel more like home than any other time.  

Summer has been a productive time, however.  We transformed our back yard from a small strip of grass to almost no grass, to garden beds overflowing with tomatoes, herbs, and towering sunflowers.  The tomatoes are still giving with no end in sight.  It has also become a bird haven and tiny frog refuge, and that makes me so happy.  Just a few weeks ago, aside from the bathrooms, I finished painting the entire interior of our house.  It is a small, enclosed-feeling house, and lightening it up has made me feel like I can breathe again.  

Our boy has been in high school for a few weeks now and things are going well.  I'm so proud of his focus and dedication to his schoolwork.  My husband started a new position in the company he already worked for and is adjusting to that, learning new things, and getting to spend more time in Portland every week.  I have picked up my knitting needles again to try and continue with the little I learned last winter, and I'm thinking about some sewing projects for the winter months.  My sourdough saga ended with the loss of my starter, but I am returning to regular bread making and possibly wheat-grinding, as my sister gave me her flour mill.  

I've been trying to simplify my online presence, letting go of things I read and subscribe to that no longer feel relevant or aligned with my personal beliefs, tone, or values anymore, while increasing my book reading and creative pursuits.  What are your pursuits and interests right now?  Do you feel awakened by the darker seasons, too?



It's been almost three weeks since we returned from Scotland.  It's funny how one particular location can get under your skin and all the rest kind of fall away when you think back on a trip.  My heart definitely belongs to one particular place we went.  I'm just now starting to go through all the pictures I took and hope to have some posts up in the next week or two.  

I have felt derailed of routine since returning and have had a hard time sleeping and going about my regular habits.  Does that happen to you?  I feel like part of it is anticipation of change.  I know it's still summer for well over another month, but seeing the garden winding down, everything looking so brown around here, and feeling heat in the 90s-low 100s has me just looking forward to fall.  Part of it is feeling like I'm in perpetual hot-flash mode, but I'm just so tired of feeling beastly hot all the time and am starting to get those end-of-summer twinges for darker, cooler evenings and cozier, quieter days.  It feels like we are in an "until" time.  

Last weekend there was a family reunion here in town for my dad's side of the family.  His siblings and their families (he is one of 11, there are 5 left) have held family reunions ever since I can remember, in various towns in Washington and Oregon.  It's always so good to see everyone, but after four days with lots of people I was more than ready to get out into the woods.  My husband and I took a long hike in the Blues.  Wildflowers are still in bloom, the ferns still verdant.  The sights and sounds of the forest were a symphony for my soul.  

lake & 4th


It feels really good to be getting out every weekend again and nice to finally be able to get further up the mountains to trails that were inaccessible over the winter.  We tried to get to Jubilee Lake about a month ago but the road was still closed due to snow.  This past Saturday we finally made it back and had warm(ish) temperatures and the trail mostly to ourselves.  My sister came with us and that made it extra nice. 

On the 4th, we got up early and road-tripped to Portland, Salem, and then Monmouth to spend the day with my husband's family.  My brother and his wife just moved to Portland from California, and we stopped to visit them and see their new place.  It's going to be so nice to have them so close and see them more than once a year.  At my sister-in-law's place in Monmouth, we caught up with family we hadn't seen for a while, ate, and watched all the kids/cousins having a blast together.  After dark/fireworks, we headed home, bringing one of Thor's cousins with us.  We got home and fell into bed about 3:30 in the morning, so were all a little blurry-eyed yesterday, but it was well worth the trip.  

We have been counting down the days to a very exciting adventure.  In a week, we will be somewhere we have never been but always dreamed of going.  I cannot wait.  
by mlekoshi