Yesterday was a no camera day in which I was able to move my body gently and rest it in appropriate ratio and measure. Today I woke after five deep sleeping hours. Stayed up late because fibro is like that sometimes and also to wait for the predicted rainfall between midnight and one. Wanted to see how hard the rain would fall. The basement seedlings are fully hardened off and ready for planting in terms of dramatically vacillating temperature/full sun exposure but they've had zero rain/wind experience.
The rain was gentle. I stood inside J's office looking through the french doors with the overhead deck light on for a moment quick enough to prevent waking T who sleeps just beneath the blaring light's placement. It was enough to see the seedlings would get their first real natural soaking. That's an important first experience for them. I feel it enlivens their natural intelligence at a level that becomes more individualized and richly encoded via collectively shared experience.
My gardenia bush was right on the other side of the glass. Just after I turned off the light I stood in the dark with my forehead and palms against the glass panes in the door. This plant and I have spent 20 plus years together. I could feel her leaves thickening and growing glossier. Their leaf-green color darkening. Water beading for graceful distillation within the upturned leaves. I smiled and turned towards sleep in which I dreamed of her flowers.
The dreams, though consciously un-recalled, insure my perspective is overwritten by the gardenia flower medicine spirit: lightened awareness in mind and intention. Regenerated and purified soul & spirit. Yes. It's one of my favorite vibrational signatures. Known to some who read here as a single essence - to others within the blend Sight Unseen.
Not-bothering J during his work-related portion of the day - I stepped outside to be greeted by Mama mewing with a note of rebuke atop the lower deck's picnic table. She was waiting for our shared morning inspection tour. Usually I'm ready an hour or so earlier.
above is a tree coming to life on our watch. A dogwood I'm currently unable to locate in my tree ID link cache. So many are from sites long gone. Perhaps someone knows and will refresh my memory. We have a few of this species that I'm encouraging to settle into the spaces where they've appeared.
The walk down to the stream from the back dooryard is fairly steep. New trees grow at a 45 degree angle that eventually follows their strongest nature and sense of rooted gravity.
Birds are by now fully nested and thus situated for their summer family life to come. Wild rose canes we missed in earlier sweeps won't be eradicated until the year round wrens etc. have safely situated elsewhere in later autumn. Carrion vine I pull up whenever I see it. Pulled up a youngish vine with a very long root just before I reached the bridge. Mama prefers to sit at the rim of the incline and observe my navigations from a level-footed perspective.
I'll still be able to pull some vinca closest to the bridge. But most of that will also have to wait for later autumn. Each day it gets harder to come down the slope and enter this landscape within the larger place and think about things like responsible land stewardship. My gardenia dreams already had my mind dropped into a calm and glowing awareness of collective Earthstar energy. As the greening elementals and rising life force of everything from the stream bed to the rocks envelope all layers of our carbon form(s) it is an invitation for ceremonial and experiential laying-down of those forms. It is a time frame close enough to my birth to feel myself beginning to steep in awareness - to re-fit myself within the pure essence of human spirit as I most organically embody it. And then to feel my spirit take a soft leap beyond that. I feel a glimmer of starseed formation. The particles of pure light and cosmic life force/energetic essence I contain.
co-mingling. knowing exactly what peace and co-operative alliance feels, sounds, smells, and tastes like. A microcosm of inter-mingled life-forms co-creating abundant pockets of nourishment and mystery.
The water's continuing to move in a steady way but there's far less of it. I can get lost in the slow steadiness of its path through the rocks and plants. This is an excellent spot to amplify the giving and nourishing practice of gratitude.
In the next small chunk of time we must commence scything the violet colonies, dandelions, etc. in order to have a clear view of the pond edges and, hence, Snappy. After a day of ongoing study I see the creature isn't really any bigger than it was last fall. Upon first sighting both this spring and last my brain registered a much larger animal. From formative memory and also because that's the way my neurology encoded earliest life danger-trauma. It doesn't have to be a familiar danger it just has to represent legit threat. When it is legit everything about it mushrooms in size and scope-of-threat.
all the more reason to keep the ground around the pond tended to. This area is the green world's energetic epicenter. Every year we cut the violets to keep the area less attractive to ticks. But I like to wait until this later point in spring so that the hosts of flower have had their full unhurried chance to sing in unison right here in this lodestone of life and regeneration.
The massive wild rose warren above has sheltered many generations of various wrens and tiny warblers. There's another at the edge of the field and a third in a place we always mean to cut back but, as per usual, other stuff took precedence. I'm not-so-secretly pleased. That particular warren yields fledglings who get all their earliest flying instruction at the edge of our top deck and the foundation rhodies around the corner of the house. They fly from the rhodies to the maple branches beyond. They fly from there to the electric wires and back down to their starting point on the railing of the top deck.
The lessons coincide with the point in late summer when my studio is intolerably hot during the day. It's sweet compensation to sit with watercolors - quietly exploring color until the excited noises of wren fledglings changes the script completely. I turn slowly enough to be soundless on the other side of our dining room's front windows. They can hear through the screens. Their mother is stationed closer to the ground in a strong crotch of the rhodie. Her instructions are unmistakable to mothers everywhere. be careful. remember what I told you. I don't care what your brother/sister/the other children are doing you focus on what you're doing. Now do it again. be careful. REMEMBER WHAT I TOLD YOU!!!
I treasure those weeks of the year and smile wide to spend these moments capturing memory into words. For the next few months the green backdrop of these images shelter and amplify all manner of bird drama and behavior. I love nearly all of them equally but my favorite birds who share their lives with ours are the catbirds, the goldfinches, and the hummingbirds.
A wealth of sweet rocket - all descended from the single surving seedling I brought from the old place - are now in bloom at the edge of the field. Note in the background the self-seeded plant growing through the center of the gooseberry bush.
On the afternoon and evening when I spotted J's use of the augur we stayed out late enough to catch the first wave of blooms release their scent to the cooler air. I can now say with authority that every third year there's a blast of sweet rockets blooming as far as their dispersal radius allows. It's a very wonderful thing to see - an accepted and beneficial introduction to the landscape.
[while writing this I heard the season's first nearby calls of the peregrine falcon who spends much of their summer and autumn time in the part of our land where we never go. The falcon is a signal of constancy amidst humanity's state of devolving chaos. Have been considering what I seek in place of anything my brain conjures for the word normalcy. Rather than replacing various aspects of what the word must come to mean why not change the word I use for what-is. Especially in the context of what-is it about tangible reality that holds the most value for me?
Constancy. That's my word for what I most need, seek, and intend to build/grow/dream into my life, home, and this place.]
The whiskey barrel above contains assorted beets. The stone in Mama's direct background used to mark the ground just beyond the original tilled bed. Now it's a good 10 to 12 feet within the enclosure we're creating. J took a day off and then went out yesterday afternoon to sink posts for the two sides with augured holes. Then he dug holes and sunk posts for a bit of the third side. Just up to the first gate post. I saw the accomplishment around 6:30 in the evening with a great deal of surprised admiration. He was all oh yeah this was the goal for the day but it didn't make his goal's successful accomplishment any less amazing to me.
It wasn't simply the physical task breakdown of the day's effort bringing our intentions closer to fruition. It was the vision behind the way he'd tilled and planned the expansion's shape and how the fence would be shaped beyond the new beds. He'd explained - oftentimes right on location while gesturing helpfully but I don't see beyond what's-there on the same wavelength. In these moments I do what he does when we stand in the same general space and I'm the one explaining and gesturing. Reeling off plant names left and right - trees and bushes too as the gestures grow wider in scope:
Nod. put together words like oh yeah uh-huh sure. I can almost see it.
He has discovered post extensions via a buddy. So that's how we're fixin' to solve the issue with the metal post lengths. The wooden posts are taller to begin with. All the same, thanks to Jamie's comment we're considering ways we might baffle below ground. Burying in a deepish trough some of the left-behind scraps of wire fencing that isn't as sturdy but could be tied together in doubled panels. My vote is to wait and see what, precisely, breaches the perimeter. But I have ideas.
Posted at 03:58 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, always choose joy, cohesion amidst chaos, direct retrospect, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, flower medicine, gardening with purpose, juniper, making something new, maple, providence willing, quantum healing, self-sustainability, shift resiliency, trees are the answer, viriditas, walk with me, water Ways | Permalink | Comments (13)
Clearly the biggest news of late is the reappearance of Snappy. My first sighting occurred on this same date last year. Recall my grandmother's Way of driving me to contemplate snapping turtles to help myself drop down into a quieter center of personal gravity. Knew instinctively what I was looking at there on a rock ringing the frog pond and yet hoped to be wrong about the species. Snappy was fairly tiny at this time last year and s/he's still pretty small. Between 5 and 6 inches. In the interim everything about the creature has grown into its cellular etching, natural form, and patterning. Like all turtles this is a very well designed creature. Plus, of course, it bites to devastating degree. J and I were both hoping s/he'd moved on at nature's urging. But. Realistically that was two people hoping there'd be no need to deal with yet another problematic Thing just now. Why on earth would s/he move on when s/he has a pond stuffed to its gills with plump tadpoles. there's a lot to Snappy's story and the amount of time/thought/reluctant turning to heart space I've put into the situation.
Saw Snappy for the first time yesterday when I was on my way out to the firepit to process two essence bowls. one joins my flower & stone roster: aquamarine and celandine. that was planned. Once I'd set down the bowl I looked at the self-resurrecting (deer systematically eat it down to bare earth later in the season when they take to bedding down in that corner of the field) strawberry patch. Collecting flowers in the bowl brought open-crown hyper-realism to my awareness of the individual blooms. I'd never fully noticed the perfect green pentacles formed by the sepals' frame of sparkling white flowers!
Strawberry's flower medicine spirit was an enveloping mantle of good cheer. Simmering just below the walking-around crust of what the day contained. I felt it rise and caught a few breaths to comprehend what the experience was teaching me. Any plant or other form of sentience can do this. Our particular species is probably the slowest learner to be found - but still. I was enveloped by Strawberry's healing signature and the organic nature of its medicine spirit. I have no prior experience with something so spontaneous, complete, and fluid. Strawberry entered my senses and enveloped every part of me with ease and confident optimism.
I was invited to linger within my collection process - to treat this specific experience like a spiritual cleanse and soulful picnic. And so I jumped into a whole other way of being. Instead of monomaniacal focus on The Process and its undeviating Procedure I took off my shoes and socks. Used a set of the filters from the aqua/celandine bowl to saturate the soles of my feet until I felt a tingling gratitude for the nourishment. took the next filter and moved into the urge to swipe it from my forehead to belly. It was the most relaxed and organically meaningful experience of my week so far.
Later in the evening my much anticipated order of Blue Vervain/Verbena hasta arrived via Fed Ex. The plants were in transit for two days and are still un-kinking themselves on the back deck. Had originally planned to get nine then dropped back on both expectations and plans in the wake of T needing the biopsy followed almost immediately by J's layoff. Will plant in two groups of three or three groups of two. Probably the first. Hope for enough seedlings to take hold so I can raise them as the third group I originally envisioned.
Here's a lovely( 4:13 minutes) blue vervain primer from radiant bee loving Deb Soule.
Read through the company's unpacking/further acclimation info. I've only ordered live plants once before - from this same company in the wake of their annual seasonal clearance sale. I remember being impressed and grateful for the careful packaging - as I was this time. But based on the size of the plants I received previously I'd imagined the six above would be roughly half the size and age they are. These are very well established plants. I know where I'm planting them but first they need some days to acclimate and harden off. They're joined on the top deck by the basement seedlings.
The picture above documents my 2020 'nurture babies' having their third day on the deck. It's their first experience with dappled morning sun. Am leaving them outside for progressively longer periods of time. They still need protection from wind and rain in addition to the shock of NE night temps.
This morning I got up early. Motivated myself in roughly a tenth of the time that's become my hunkered-down slow poke mode-of-choice. Was determined to get the shallot sets in the ground - plus do some other field-based chores - before the sun lost its cooling slant from the east. Planted ten rows of 5 sets. Have a means to safely and effectively share the overage that thrills me in its simplicity and the organic way the opportunity/connection came together. Once I'd hustled myself out I took my mindful-mode time getting things in the ground. Was deeply appreciative of J's level of care in the removal of thickly matted grass clumps and stones of all shapes. And the careful way he'd mixed in topsoil so all I had to do was add rows of lobster compost and be equally careful mixing everything together. Enjoyed rattling over this year's shallot site so much that I walked through the whole garden in various configurations while rattling. Figuring out where the tramped-down pathways will be once the fence is up.
You are asserting yourself. We welcome you as one.
Same acknowledgement and encouragement as the other day.
My first layer of clearing effort has now reached a point I wasn't sure I'd be able to achieve. Now I need to put muscle into eradicating some of the wild pea vines that are a story unto themselves. My plan is to get as much clear soil as I can - in patches here and there if need be - in order to broadcast amaranth with deliberately placed clusters of sunflowers. A sunflower house is too much fussy work for all the other Things. But I'll raise just as much joy as possible growing bird food for the many different species who live here ringing the field with their songs and activities.
Posted at 04:24 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, alchemical rituals, always choose joy, cohesion amidst chaos, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, flower medicine, gardening with purpose, herbalism, how to make a flower essence, medicine making from scratch, plant geek eyes, quantum healing, self-sustainability, shift resiliency, stand still with me, viriditas, visual autobiography, water Ways | Permalink | Comments (6)
pics taken at four different times over the course of two days.
Yesterday I weeded, re-topsoiled, and thoroughly amended a whiskey barrel in which I'll grow beets. I got a mixed variety packet because mixing varieties has led to family favorite side dishes. Today I did the same with two whiskey barrels in which I'll grow carrots and finocchio. J's been in the field a lot doing a second round of rototilling. Tomorrow I'll seed two of the whiskey barrels and plant shallots in a bed he amended with the lobster casting soil conditioner and two bags of top soil. It's late to put them in but I've been as late as the first week in June and still managed to reap a full year's harvest. I find they do pretty well provided the soil's still cold enough to hold the night temperature for at least half the day.
Today I had a responsibly quick visit with a favorite local friend. Haven't seen her in person for upwards of a two and a half months. The garden-oriented place where she works has set up online shopping and I timed my pick-up around when she was there and free to take five minutes. We spoke of what was good and whole for both of us but also spoke of exhaustion and its many derivations. We laughed. Behind our masks we were both smiling. I brought home thyme, rosemary and the last sage plant in stock. And If I'm honest - this is the first time I've been out in the larger world that I wasn't incredibly saddened by all the many things there are to be saddened about/over in these ever-shifting days. It's pretty much the only time in a bit over two months that I've done something containing a social component as opposed to staying rigorously task-oriented and steeped in the nobody must linger vibe. Lingering for laughter and traded confidences is the part of my former experience I've missed the most and the thing about my personal i-me-mine aspects that leaves me feeling most out of whack.
And so I didn't think/contextualize about anything much - I was just in that moment socializing. The masks didn't matter or in any way infringe on a single one of our combined Liberties & Freedoms. It was sunny and warm enough if we stuck to the sun and the wind wasn't blowing. Also had a chance to suss out the shape of this year's garden there in a different yet utterly familiar garden world. The person who fulfilled my order was worried I didn't know much about plants or I never would have ordered three thymes. My friend was asked to make sure I understood it spread farther and wider the happiest it was. Nobody else could conceive it was true I knew quite a lot about plants and yet ordered 3 Thymes. We laughed and laughed about that (I told you THREE THYMES now she isn't kidding when she says she was raised in a garden) and then pivoted back to our evolving days.
J also socially distance socialized today and arrived home with four generous bags of well rotted horse manure. His friend has a connection. They had it in the works for a week or so but J didn't want to raise my excitement level before the transaction was complete. This is an invaluable development given all the newly tilled space we have to amend.
Some of the pictures above were taken yesterday evening. The sun came out just in time to cast that magical glow that steps everything out of time and space itself. The last two pictures were taken yesterday morning about half an hour after it stopped raining. Other pictures are from today in both morning and afternoon.
Tomorrow I'm turning off the heat mats under the plants in the basement. Some, that have had two weeks without under-heating, will be moved upstairs to begin their hardening off process on the top deck. This transition involves getting them situated in their transplant pots tonight and/or tomorrow morning. There's a very beautiful co-creative wind at my back and I'm eternally grateful for that in these unsettled and unsettling times.
Posted at 07:58 PM in 2020 growing season, abundance of care, alchemical rituals, always choose joy, cohesion amidst chaos, direct retrospect, feed what feeds you, field wonderings, free association, gardening with purpose, making something new, medicine making from scratch, place/keeping, plant geek eyes, providence willing, quantum healing, seasonal shifts, self-sustainability, shift resiliency, visual autobiography, walk with me, water Ways | Permalink | Comments (4)
So here's a sentence I wouldn't have imagined needing to type a week ago -- My son had a biopsy day before yesterday. The results came in this morning and I'm relieved to report he's facing the most manageable and least scary thing he could reasonably expect given his symptoms. His condition will be manageable "but highly annoying" as T. put it. Six months from now he will most likely be fully stabilized or very close to it. I know him to be physically resilient and mentally determined so I have a lot of confidence and faith. Also - as a cancerian mama's mama with venus and mercury in that sign - I deeply cherish the blessing of being able to care for him myself as much as he needs/will allow. so there's that.
and then about three hours after the guys got home from the hospital
J. sent me a text stating he was being laid off from work. As in - this was happening right then and there while I was smiling into space thinking right now I'm two-thirds as relaxed yet also ready to stand tough as I can hope to be in today's world.
So okay. Those things both happened. As I sat with my gratitude journal that evening I realized my two biggest what-if fears that have seeded themselves since the pandemic officially became our collective reality - those two enormous things I made an effort not to consider or otherwise 'call' into our general environment - neither of them require diligent ongoing CBT type management any more. I'm now set on the path of dealing with my fears* however they play out day to day. Rather than periodically scaring myself with them or otherwise letting them manage my state of mind. I don't have to prepare (or even more to the point of my own pointy personality - 'fail' to prepare) for these things happening as an abstract exercise. They're now what IS happening at the ongoing life level. So ... okay?
The pandemic is an ongoing constantly obvious feature here in MA. We will use an abundance of care and precaution same as we've been doing for the past however many weeks it's been now. All three of us are so into the groove of what we make of our days and strange domestically distanced evenings that we no longer ask each other how long it's been since This began. We don't care what was or for how long. We care about seeing this through one piece at a time. We care even more about each other and all those we know who are going through incredibly mettle-testing experiences - several directly involving The Corona. Mercifully enough there have been no additional deaths to process and grieve. Wish so much and so hard that could be true for everyone. everywhere.
My sense is that J. will land on his feet one way or another because that's his best and brightest Raven trick-of-many. It's helped unwind and stabilize my own pulse rate to witness how his friends and tech colleagues have rallied around him in the past 48. He has a modest array of options that probably put us in a rare percentile of folks suddenly faced with this all too common scenario of the times.
We remain grateful and committed to living our own version of a best life. Once we had T's diagnosis this morning and understood the time frame involved with him beginning to feel more physically comfortable, we both loosened up enough to go pitch-dark with our humor level concerning This Other Thing. We laughed a great deal all things considered.
If it's not pouring rain or snowing we've been outside working the land as much as our bodies will allow on any given day. As you can see the little stream is looking mighty fine as Spring finds a stronger hold on the landscape.
*something that's been running through my head & heart ever since T. texted us to say he needed a biopsy - a quote I may be paraphrasing inadvertently. Over time I've noticed it periodically resurfacing. Attribution goes to one of the native american men (forget name. Didn't see it in reading quickly through my choice of linked material - if you know please put it in comments) who physically created much of NYC's skyline. "Mohawks don't try to smother our fear - we deal with it."
The first time I saw the words it was in an old Life or Look magazine feature on NYC skyscrapers. I remember myself as being tween-aged but I could have been as old as my earliest 20's. The idea seemed so radically pure and liberating that I adopted the contextual message as personal words to live by ever after.
J. and I hit the local road on Monday so I could document some important missing links in my WaterWay project. The vast pond above is "our" river's orgination site. Since it's a pond that's part of another river's watershed I'm not sure of the correct technical name for such inception points.
It's not normal for the ice line to look this way so early in the calendar year. Nevertheless pics say it's happening. While we were there the entire parking lot, and a great deal of the closest ice, filled with vigorous skilled ice sailing people. All-hands staffing level of Emergency and fire department vehicles from all the local towns. Multiple videographers and scads of encouraging well-wishers but zero info to be found about any of it when J. later looked through the local papers and websites.
We moved on to a presumed quieter location. This is a scant mile or two down-water of the pond. A resident of the outer bank not visible in this picture showed us the exact place to stand where you can more or less see the pond's first snaking venture south. It's a strange location - the bridge where I stood to take this picture. Not Robert Johnson's Crossroads level strange but odd and out of whack in a way that makes you want leave a good deal sooner than you thought you would.
[I can now add to my catalog of unwelcome local experiences the aforementioned resident of the outer bank suddenly approaching us as I was photographing an interesting tree anomaly shouting in a tone that managed to embrace an awkwardly misfired attempt at sarcastic humor and slight but deliberately obvious menace:
ARE THOSE HAZARDOUS TREES YOU'RE PHOTOGRAPHING? ARE YOU ENVIRONMENTALISTS?????
With something approaching outward calm I explained I was documenting the river I'm documenting. Along the way I take pictures of interesting trees. I then post them on my blog. He found this COOL and then after he asked again about our environmentalist affiliation - J. told him quite firmly 'we believe in trees' - we began The Extrication Process.
(but am unlikely to go back and discover what sort of trees they Are)
thus we move onward for the sustenance arc of our excursion.
It was fairly windy there by the river but the air had a lift and lilt to it that was unmistakably springlike. On the drive along our way there we'd been talking back and forth about the extra early shift we're both sensing - especially within the rising life-force of the trees. What were we to make of it? We've seen years not quite this dramatically ready to shift seasons when March dumped many feet of snow and April was an icy nightmare with appreciable snow on top of that. So we didn't - and still don't - know, really, what to make of it. We enjoyed the moment. And I took pictures of the pine grace admired in a previous post's comments.
Today I woke with sun in my eyes. It was an extra wonderful thing after countless grey days made dismal and bleak with the ongoing roaring wind effect. When the sun shines after a pronounced absence I especially love those times when I have an opportunity to free-float through the day on - not so much a whim as a very strong intuitive nudge.
One nudge after another I made my way to the back dooryard by mid-morning. Paused on the deck to do a bit of intent staring at the ice-filled 'replacement' planters that were too shallow to grow truly thriving flowers. But a few day's back I realized how they could be used quite productively. And also add new experience to my container growing repertoire: using each one as a separate container garden 'seed bed' for various biennials. Am finalizing my seed list at the moment but need to integrate my shopping list with what's viable and on hand in my seed collection box. Should have done it last night but was too tired from the day's activities far out-pacing my organic energy level.
I need to come down to this spot with my better camera to properly showcase the small cluster of river bushes and striplings that I love. I don't visit them much because they need to keep their wildness there amidst the mossy rocks. But I do move upstream a few times during no-ice phases of our brown months. just to make sure that particular congregation isn't burdened by windfall branches. Later I'll have to go out in clothes better suited to yard work. Fleece isn't very compatible at all I have found.
Today I spotted my first land-based skunk cabbage of the year. It's worrisome how early I started seeing new growth pushing out of the stream bed. Usually I don't see anything in the water for another month's time. It's often the beginning of April before the plant's leaves unfurl in the land-based colonies. Seeing the new life above so much sooner into the year evoked mixed feelings. As a human who is finely tuned to green forms of life it's an automatically exuberant moment. It's also a life-long habit. I grew up near any number of streams and was lucky to have guided tours of a few on an ongoing basis over the years. Heralding fresh signs of a new year's life force by searching out the earliest growths of skunk cabbage plants holds a deep experiential taproot in my soul.
One very kind and extremely good humored (yet perpetually poker faced) elder-man my family knew used to call me Little Miss Sharp Eyes. We'd walk along that property's stream and he'd announce something he could see. I'd locate the same thing. But it wasn't always in the same place he'd seen it. In which case he'd smile and tell me I'd won.
For quite awhile (seemed forever in young child terms ...) I'd accept this without a clue of what I'd won. So I finally asked and he told me I'd won my sharp eyes a little more fully. And he certainly did his part to show me innumerable ways eyes could See and search-out detail when outside walking. He also taught me to address the sun as Grandfather and the moon as Grandmother. I once asked him what he liked most in the world - expecting a wonderful nature story. He grinned wide and spoke around it.
Years later he and his wife were on a plane that was held hostage on the runway. It was somewhere in Europe during that window of time when such things appeared in alarming news breaks as the very worst form of terrorism. Their involvement made it personal - a local story of great scope and ongoing conversation. They were trapped on a plane at gunpoint in a foreign country for a significant number of hours. When they arrived safely in NYC the press was waiting. Local papers posted pictures of them that were taken as they left their initial government debriefing. She looked shaken for sure but far more she looked hell bent and determined to have QUITE a word with any number of someone's Manager(s) before all was fully said and done. He merely looked like he'd seen new things. Undoubtedly with poker faced aplomb. To this day I wonder if that experience dampened his enthusiastic love of planes.
The (very) gentle-man who taught me how to walk along a little stream so as to find innumerable tiny universes along the way also taught me a concept he called Power Station Bingo. Upon reflection (and I mean in terms of the level of reflection I held around the time they'd been trapped on the runway during my early high school years) I don't think what he was talking about ever had that name. I think it was something he may have made up on the spot when some insatiably curious kid he was trying to teach to love the woods bedeviled him with questions he did not want to answer Just Then - for whatever combination of reasons.
I could have been that kid because the questions I felt pressing enough to insist on immediate (and complete!!) answers never stopped at that phase of my life. But I was just one of many who did not have a paternal presence in their life but were also lucky enough to move within his circles of community awareness.
here's what he taught me about earth energy and how it moves:
Sometimes you go into a quiet little corner of a place and find four rocks. Right in the center of the rocks you'll find an evergreen. Sometimes you find the evergreen first but you'll also find rocks beneath its lowest boughs.
All evergreens and rocks enjoy this arrangement but it becomes important to recognize with respect any time you're passing when the rocks are directly aligned with the compass points. When they are both tree and rocks can sing but our ears don't remember how to hear them. Other creatures do. They are Everywhere.
The above photo wasn't taken today but I wanted to share this pair of tree friends from our woods. Love them and how much they love each other! rapidly moving stream water was captured today. And just as a reminder concerning where this busy moving water is headed ...
Below is a view of the local river I've been documenting - from a spot a modest number of miles west of the usual location. Took the pics last Wednesday while I was out doing errands. It wasn't a meditative sort of day. It was a day to enjoy soaking up this area's overarching landscape energy before the wind started blowing again - while also getting errand-y stuff done at a leisurely pace. Seemed right in line with that energy to indulge in a wee local side-trip in order to reconnect with my favorite spot to commune with this river. The water is not nearly so distant here. The bridge is much lower to the ground so even with the wind blowing I don't think I'd feel quite so much like I'm about to go on camera for the weather channel. Know there's a way down to the water's edge on the eastern side of the bridge because I've often seen fishermen there during summer months. Will wait 'til J's along to confirm and document.
Looking west. This area is extremely GREEN - layer upon layer of it - in the summer. Haven't spent much time at this location in the colder months but am looking forward to changing that. Below we're facing east as the river heads towards the snaking curves that are familiar from my weeks of documentation.
Am fully cherishing the days like today and last Wednesday when the high winds still themselves and the sun remains visible. Today it was only around for fleeting 20 minute windows here and there. I was more than ready to welcome each break-through with grateful inner enthusiasm. The two trees in the center foreground of the above image have very strong/beckoning vibrations. J. thinks it's private property there and I might not be able to get any closer. Taking good camera and zoom lenses when we're able to go together. Although it's too far upstream to be visible from the usual location, am wondering if some of the trees below are oak sentries. Love the way the trees in this location sidle all the way to the water's edge. Note the gorgeously full white pine!
Let's take a little walk together. You might remember all the leaves from a mid-autumn walk in many of the same places. As you can see they're still there settling further into the cellular world of the landscape's history. On warmer February days I'll begin to groom the frog pond's rockscape in line with late winter pruning tasks. But for now it's a symphony of decomposition.
Today was so warm that I expected to see a few oily black frog noses peeking through the slim passages of melted water. Perhaps they sensed how brief the pleasant weather was going to be. Am very thankful there was a break in the high to gale force winds of recent days so I had a chance for a lingering inspection tour before they descended again. Looks like this may be our third consecutive January thaw when there's very limited time to be outside enjoying the smell of rising earth and perhaps managing to knock off a few of the lingering items on the Didn't Get Done list.
The above stream views I habitually share are a familiar touchstone. But when I keep walking into the woods the view quickly shifts to offer a fresh perspective.
not pictured: a daunting amount of fresh tree-fall debris.
additional context: on our first evening of so-called 'ownership' I discovered the landscaped pond was full of frogs. J. discovered an enormous rock that grounds all energy and sight-lines in our backyard.
When we arrived the self-mulched area of the rock was dotted with Jack-in-the-Pulpits in full flower. The following year I learned that in earlier spring Canadian anemones ring the rock's entire border. Nearby is the first Hawthorne I noticed during my first full morning in residence. It took me two magical hide-and-seek years to find its Grandmother. Smaller rocks form stony breadcrumbs leading towards the heart of our little woods (pictured in the previous post with a look upwards at the heart's crown-land.
At some point the rock split. A few spindly maples set their roots just there but all have died and subsequently fallen since our arrival. Last year I used my grandmother's method of seeding woodland plants around our home's foundation to (hopefully) seed an additional colony of Jack in the Pulpits within the split. Time will tell if I was successful.
Here at long last is the lovely winding brook that hooks our tiny stream into the powerful waterway of our closest river.
I've only been here twice with yesterday being the second time. The first time was during the late summer of our first year living in this place. J. had been walking and riding his bike throughout the local byways. Sometimes just after the peak of summer's Golden Hour we'd jump in the truck and he'd show me local sites he knew would be of interest to me.
Back then: Even though the growing season's foliage was beginning to thin there was still too much vegetation to see the above side of the brook. But yesterday I could plainly visualize the Way it must meander to the point I've already documented right here. The portion of the brook pictured as this post's lede was partially obscured with copious festoons of Virgin's Bower. Their petals were dried to browning threads or fallen. I leaned in so close, atop an unstable embankment, that I nearly toppled over in my effort to get a decent closeup of the nearest whirling seedheads yet-to-be.
A few moments later J. alerted me that someone had clocked us and was 'coming down'. I asked what that meant without losing focus of framing options. As is our way if he's driving or I'm taking pictures, I received an ongoing narration of all he observed of the woman's approach. a woman, definitely, without a gun. She's older. Can't tell if she's angry or afraid ...
It turned out she was neither. She'd noticed us stop in a place where nobody does that and then observed me lurching. On what was a very warm evening. Thought it might be a health crisis in need of extra help. We all exchanged names. After four months of living here she was the first person to offer us a name and express awareness we existed as actual people rather than Whoever bought the house we'd purchased.
(now on the brink of a solid decade living in such a culture I do it too at least in casual social-construct conversation: automatically communicating via the now-ingrained Whoever thing. As a description of somebody - an actual person who probably wouldn't like it any more than I did in the beginning - who wasn't there before. Whoever.)
Sometimes within the first few years of living here and still not knowing more than one other neighbor by name we would marvel at how bizarre it was that this was obviously normal business as usual for people living in a terrain where a person really ought to know who they live in community with and be on at least sporadic speaking terms with them. We would look at each other with slowly shaking heads whenever we had these discussions; dismayed by the folly of humans declaring each other irrelevant to a level of bedrock foolishness. Then one would remind the other well we know (person in this story's name). Closing in on a decade we don't have these conversations anymore. We'd be able to list a couple dozen people between us and, in point of truth, part of why we wished to live here specifically was so we wouldn't feel forced into continuous social rigors brought on by closer proximity to other lives in different dwellings.
Many years later the same woman wandered, on a spur of the moment whim, into the first session of the library collage lab. I didn't recognize her until after the fact nor did she recognize me. She raised her hand quite promptly when I asked who believed they weren't creative. And shook her head in disbelief when I assured them they'd all be leaving with a book they'd made themselves. Later I observed her carefully searching through all the old national geographics. It wasn't until I prowled back around as she was preparing to stitch that I saw she'd methodically tracked down every tiger image she could find. And I hope never to forget the precise illumination of her smile and the soft lilt in her voice as she said to me I made a book.
A few weeks later we were rear-ended and my brain got dinged so the following month's planned session was postponed. She'd come on the pre-arranged date - bringing with her paper she'd purchased in Italy years before and wished the program to use in some way. But she never returned. By then I'd realized who she was (She has a very common first name - the kind that might not stick out in a conversation unless you had another piece or two of personal meaning to attach) and kept hoping she'd re-appear. Yesterday while I was at the brook I glanced up the hill of her front lawn a couple of times. Wishing for a little past is prologue action.
In the town where I was raised a few hundred miles south of here I would not have thought twice about pulling my car around to the bottom of her drive, re-parking it, and walking up to her door in order to re-introduce myself. Here, after nearly a decade of being here, I simply made note of that fact. Got back into my car to reflect on what had become a very meandering route home. Thought I'd had two posts worth of experiences and images but there on that brief semi-colon of a road so close to my own front door I realized it would actually be three. Because I so loved and wished to include the way this speck of a moment could be expanded upon to include synchronicity with the collage theme going on at my other blog.
and far more importantly:
This is water directly connected to not just our stream but also our well. They're both given some derivation of the same water to hold. So this tiny little nook of a place just a bit further down the massive hill on which I live IS my life. Its water is the wild inverse of my life's ability to maintain itself in ways I consider normal and necessary. If for no other reason - this part of my documentation effort deserves and needs to stand alone.
From now on I'm going to walk to this place. I'll let that walk be the sole purpose out on such occasions - treating a previous afterthought as its own purposeful excursion - rather than a quick something I accomplish in the midst of several other Out In The World things on my to-do list. This is my literal back yard. Will definitely walk there for any future visits.