As I write this, rain is pouring, wind is blowing, and I can hear Yaz's Only You coming up through the vents from the garage downstairs where my husband is working.  The weather has been stormy with rain and high winds, both here and in Walla Walla where we were visiting family over the weekend.  My 89-year-old dad has been in the hospital for two weeks after breaking his hip, and it was so nice to put my arms around him and look into his eyes.  It's hard to see him diminished; he's always been active and mobile, his life lived working outdoors as a farmer, a maintenance man, a construction worker.  He's been a lifelong gardener, a marathon runner in his 50s, and he has always been the man who would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need.  He is healing well, though, and he is going home today.  

I hear people complaining about this weather, but I couldn't love it more.  Daily walks are truly magical in these conditions.  I can't bear to keep the windows of the house shut just yet.  I know the day will come when it will just be too cold, but for now I'm willing to put on more layers during the day and pile more blankets on at night so that I can feel the wind on my face and hear the rustling leaves and the creatures of the night more clearly.

Our suppers in the dining hall are a favorite time of day.  My husband and I seem to be taking turns making supper - he's a much better cook than I am, but he indulges my desire to make warming, garlicky, vegetable-heavy meals.  I made this last week, substituting coconut milk for the heavy cream but otherwise as written.  If you have any good autumnal or winter soup / stew recipes, please share.  I've found that adding turmeric to my daily juice or blend for warmth is really quite good.  I mostly juice vegetables, with ginger and some citrus or apples, but citrus is out of season now and not nearly as good, so I'm relying on my standbys of carrots and beets, plus cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, and kohlrabi.  I save all trimmings, stems, hearts, what have you, to juice.  Nothing goes to waste.  

When my parents sold their house, I was given a box of photographs they'd collected over the decades.  I've been going through some of them today to pick out and frame, and while I'm at it I think I'll set a few out in the dining hall for our Samhain supper.  

Over the weekend I finished my two favorite books I've read so far this year:  David Abram's The Spell of the Sensuous, and Lyanda Lynn Haupt's Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit.  I loved both of these and how they talked about our relationships with the non-human world.  I don't think there's been a book I've so personally identified with as Rooted since Elaine Aron's The Highly-Sensitive Person.  So much of what Haupt says already lives in my heart and speaks to my personal feelings, experiences, and wishes. 

slow notes:  

Michael Sheen performing the Welsh poetry of Dylan Thomas, here

Did you know it's BAT WEEK? Over the summer we were talking about putting up a bat house - we'd often see them flying around the trees of our back yard when we lingered out there late.  I love them. 

Dr. Andrew Weil is where I first heard breath work talked about many years ago.  I've been trying to take time for this practice every day recently, sometimes as meditation itself.  His CDs of meditations with a focus on breathing ("go back to the breath") led me through my first attempts at meditation and is still my favorite form.  Plus, there's that middle-of-the-night and general social anxiety it could be helpful with, too.  It may seem funny to think you need to learn to breathe, but there seem to be some clear benefits to these techniques.     

Just back from a walk and came home with a handful of unripe but very beautiful persimmons from a sidewalk stand that said "please take, for your health."  

Happy almost-mid-week to you.  Until next time ~

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 possible.  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.


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

Until next time ~

by mlekoshi