beautiful brew


Last weekend we went hiking both Saturday and Sunday and it couldn't have been more beautiful.  Thick fog and mist hung in the trees, bits of gold flashed and fluttered in the wind.  The forest was dark and soft and (human) silent.   We only saw a few other people out on the trail, another reason to love being out in the woods in the colder temperatures.

The weather at home has been all over the place.  Clear blue skies and bright sunshine one minute, charcoal skies and sideways rain the next.  Leaves are still hanging on to some trees, but the colors have largely fallen to the rain-slicked streets and sodden yards.  It's that messy, soppy point in fall.  A beautiful brew of not quite here / not quite there.  

It starts getting dark around 4:30 now, and the long dark evenings are just wonderful.   Most evenings after dinner I sit in my chair by the wood stove with a book (currently The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard or The Electricity of Every Living Thing by Katherine May), dimmed lights or candlelight, a cup of tea or a wee dram, and one very happy Pip next to me, but some evenings the moon calls and I set off down the hill, wrapped in a cloak of darkness, enchanted by the golden light glowing from windows and the mystery of each house.  

I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen for many years in town the other day.  It was one of those low days where I felt like I was failing at everything - motherhood, friendship, name it - and the hugs she gave me were like medicine.  It's a rare thing for me to have a close female friend, but we worked together and just clicked.  We were still pretty close for a few years after that, but, life, and I think the last time I saw her was when T was still little.  I can't wait to sit down and really catch up with her.  It made my week.  

I'm not sure what this weekend holds yet, we've made no plans, but I'm hoping for some more hiking, and, since it's supposed to be dry, maybe a meal around the fire pit.  I may not be back in this space until after Thanksgiving, in which case I wish you now the loveliest of celebrations with your families.  

slow notes:

  • I read recently that someone suggested an outdoor school for adults, for Oregon transplants who didn't get to experience it in 6th grade.  I went to outdoor school near Lebanon, Oregon in 6th grade, and it is a shining memory.  I'd go, again, in a heartbeat.  This, from OPB.
  • This, from Virginia Woolf:
    I need solitude. 
    I need space. 
    I need air. 
    I need the empty fields round me;
    and my legs pounding along roads; 
    and sleep; 
    and animal existence.  

    (I think I need to read more of her, soon.)

the quiet after


It's Monday.  A new month.  Welcome, November.  The sky is gray, a bit dark, and rain is falling.  I've been doing laundry and trying to finish my book, Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl.  I think I'll take a walk in the rain later, after the boy comes home from school - maybe I can convince him to come with me.  The day feels slow and soft after the whirlwind of yesterday's Halloween / Samhain activities.  

It was such a perfect day, starting with the three of us having coffee downtown, reminiscing over Halloweens past, pulling up photos of little T in his costumes.  Four Halloweens have gone by when he hasn't wanted to dress up or trick or treat, but this year he did.  I have to admit, I was overjoyed.  My favorite day of the year and I got to go out with him like the old days, carrying my lantern through the streets of this neighborhood I love, and my heart just about burst.  Early evening, we had a lovely candlelight dinner in the dining hall.  I made this pumpkin/apple/acorn squash curry.  Candles burned on the ancestor altar nearby, which held photographs, items belonging to and made by ancestors, and the flowered box that holds my beloved Klaus's ashes.  Later, after trick or treating, my husband built a fire and we talked while waiting for the last of the kids to come to our door.   I went to bed with a very happy heart.  

With all the rain we've been getting, the grass is lush and green again, the earth soaked and soft, and the ferns look like they hold a little more magic than usual.  (Speaking of ferns, I've found my dream mittens.   Really wishing I'd gotten past the dishcloth stage of knitting now.)  We're still seeing hummingbirds in the back yard, often, usually around the old apple tree.   Skinny (the squirrel that seems to live at our house) is always about, either on our front porch or leaping from branch to branch out back.  The scrub jays and the crows have frequent squabbles, the jays in the maple, the crows in the willow, each with very impressive vocalizations (but the crows forever have my heart).   

slow notes:  

I've long wanted to learn to quilt, but lately I've been more drawn than ever to this slow craft.  I'd love to someday be able to make a quilt of my own design.  My dad's mother was a quilter who made quilts for all of her eleven children, and then for their children, and so on.  I love having that connection to her and her time (personal time, as well as her era), knowing that her hands created it.  I think quilting is going on my to-learn list for 2022.  Online inspiration:  Grace Rother QuiltsPublic Library Quilts, Farm & Folk,  Salt + Still.

When I drove T to school this morning, Norwegian Soloists' Choir was singing Jesus Din Sote Forening A Smake on All Classical Portland and it was so beautiful, it melted into me.    When I got home I looked them up and listened to the other songs on the album, and they are all amazing.   I absolutely love this kind of choral music.

I'm feeling quiet, and grateful for this season, the magic of the natural world, and my family.  I hope you are feeling some gifts of the season, too.  Until next time ~

by mlekoshi