stirrings

2.10.2022



January was slow and quiet.  Its calm and nothingness felt so soothing after the busyness and social activities of the holidays.  The chance to decompress and go inward was deeply appreciated.  I inhaled soft silvery fog on long morning walks and spent  many  dark evenings with a book in my chair by the wood stove.  We took four trips to the coast, where winter's king tides luxuriated on our favorite stretch of sand.  High winds came to visit our town more than once, scattering gifts of soft mossy branches with each gust.  Clear blue skies and sunshine were often present, too, giving us a lovely balance of the natural forces.  We baked bread and made stews, deep cleaned and decluttered.  We had movie nights and music nights.  We bird-watched and book-browsed.  

As we now approach mid February, daffodil greens have pushed up through the sodden ground and the towhees are back in the camellias.  Trametes versicolor (turkey tail) is taking my breath away on trails by the river.  Buds swell on the end of branches in joyful rebirth.  Baby cleavers, so delicate and bright green, tell me that the wheel is turning.  I can hear spring gently journeying up through roots and rocks, whispering sweet promises of fragrance and color and things brand new.  

I can feel the lists of flowers I want to plant / vegetables I want to grow / projects I want to start all beginning to germinate in the back of my mind.  I dream of tomatoes, hollyhocks, suppers outside under the twinkling lights, bats swooping through the trees, and bare feet in touch with the earth once again.  But, for all of these stirrings, I'm not ready to part with beloved winter just yet.  That soft silvery fog is calling again today and I'll happily fade to grey once more for the chance to be wrapped in her magical spell.

∘∘∘∘∘

slow notes:


passages

12.31.2021



Here we are about to welcome a new year (even though the calendar says that starts tonight, Solstice has come to feel more like the start of a new year, as it marks the start of the slow passage through darkness into light) and I think we're all ready for it.  It's been a rough year for many, perhaps for most, and I'm hoping 2022 holds better things for everyone.  

Last night was a night of very little sleep.  I laid in bed for hours, ears pricked to every sound, eyes wide open watching the wind in the tree branches just outside the bedroom window.  When I finally drifted off, I had strange dreams.  One was full of moths, toads, and an orange tabby kitten.  In another, I found a mountain of tiny bird eggs in varying intensities of blue resting in a large nook of a tree near the barn at my childhood home.  (Those blues again, like the snakes I dreamt of in May.)  A hole in the nook was a passage to the heart of the tree.  Are these dreams showing me grief and hope as the year winds down?  Danger and new beginnings?  Showing me where to find comfort or ways to let things go?  

I've been thinking about daily practices and what I give my time and attention to.  Someone gave me a beautiful nature journal a couple of years ago and I'm ashamed to say I never got started with it, but I've done nature journals in the past (given to me by that some wonderful someone) and it's a lovely, lovely way to walk through the world, observing the seasonal changes.  As they say, the more attention we give to something {nature}, the more sacred it becomes to us and the more we will do to ensure its care.  

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slow notes:  

  • I shed some tears for more than one reason when reading this, at Terrain.org.   Orca rituals and celebrations - so beautiful.  "Have we reached it yet?  The point where we circle up and take turns, holding and pushing a collective grief?  The day we leave our denial behind and come up for air?  On this dimming horizon, with everything on the line, can a matriline rise?  Embracing a maternal instinct to protect lives beyond our individual fingerprints, willing to die in the process like the Chinook guarding their eggs? Can we gather like the J-Pod and hold what is precious—centered in moonlight—even as the moon moves?" - Christina Rivera Cogswell 
  • Speaking of moths, this, from the Aeon+Psyche newsletter. 

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As far as intentions or goals, I think that mostly I'll just take one day at a time and do what feels right in the moment.  I'd like to keep my attention on the present and savor what is happening right now.  Despite damn COVID and heartbreak and tragedy (I don't want to diminish what has been lost, and some have lost so much), there are still sweet and wonderful moments and discoveries happening all the time in the world around us, and I hope we can see past the detritus and notice all we can.  

Wishing you peace, much love, wonder, joy, and good health in the year to come.  xx 


high moon

12.18.2021


  

Last Sunday morning when I woke up, I had a message from my sister telling me that Anne Rice had died.  I loved not just her books, but her.  We had just been talking about her a few weeks ago, as at the time I was listening to the audiobook version of one of my old favorites, The Witching Hour.  She was the first writer I truly loved.  I haven't kept up with her more recent books, but I first read Interview With the Vampire in the mid '80s when I was 18 and was immediately smitten with the dark, conflicted, fringe-dwelling characters and the gorgeous detailed scenes she painted in my mind.  The rest of The Vampire Chronicles followed, then the Mayfair Witches; I devoured them all.  Many years ago I actually emailed her, something of a fan letter I suppose, but also asking some personal questions about her life, and she sent me back the loveliest note.  I was so surprised to get a response at all, but one came the very next day, and it was such an open, kind one at that.  As her son said last Saturday, I hope she is now finding answers to some of her cosmic questions.  

The holidays are ticking right along.  I can hardly believe Christmas is just a week away.  We had a nice Thanksgiving brunch with my husband's sister and her girls, then a simple, light dinner in the small hall that evening, just the three of us.  The next day we traveled to Walla Walla to see my family.  My mom had emergency surgery the day before Thanksgiving, so things didn't quite go as expected, but we were anxious and glad to see her, as well as my dad who is still recuperating from his broken hip.  We were all able to help celebrate their 70th (!) anniversary while we were there.    

Last weekend we drove up to Detroit to look for snow.  There wasn't a lot, but we found a good dusting starting just before Detroit Lake and then past the town and on toward Idanha.  It's still startling to drive through acres of burnt trees, or barren stretches where they have been logged off, but there will always be magic to be found along that blue-green ribbon of river we love so much.  

The holiday blues I used to get have crept back in a bit lately.  There have been some personal and family challenges and changes this year, but overall it has been a very good year and I have absolutely nothing to complain about.  My heart goes out to those who struggle with their (or someone else's) mental health, to those who struggle to make ends meet or give their family the Christmas they'd like (or any Christmas at all), to those who feel alone, forgotten, unworthy, invisible.  If that's you, know that you are not alone.  I am sending you all the love. ♥︎

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slow notes:

  • When I need a pick-me-up, sometimes I let myself fall down a YouTube rabbit hole of old Hollywood dance mashup videos, like this one.  
  • From The Velveteen Rabbit:  He said, "You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
  • From Sting:  Moon Over Bourbon Street, inspired by Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire

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I sent a few packages off at the post office Monday, picked up a few more stocking stuffers midweek, and have just a couple of things left to wrap for my local people this weekend.  It's time to relax and just enjoy the season.  Today that means an extra long walk and getting started on a new book from a friend.  It's the last full moon of the year tonight, the Cold Moon or Long Night Moon (highest and longest in the sky of the year), and I'm hoping to spend some time beneath her glow.  Next week is solstice and we'll begin the slow journey back to light.  Until then ~ 



A blurry photo of the near-full moon a couple of nights ago.


by mlekoshi