the quiet after

11.01.2021


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.  We set a place for loved ones no longer with us, and 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, I returned to the dining hall and left some soul cakes on the altar.  The candles were still flickering and I spent some time looking at the faces in the photographs, remembering each of them and the times we shared, until the candles all went out.  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 mittensWould someone please knit these for me?  Just kidding.  Sort of.  Really wishing I'd gotten past the dishcloth stage of knitting.)  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 don't have much else to say today.  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 ~


wavelength

10.26.2021


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

10.21.2021

 

  

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.

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 ~ 


by mlekoshi