Showing posts from 2012

Toward The Light

Today is just another day, and yet it is the ending of one year, full of the last brief hours before another one arrives, and with it, so much mystery. I've always liked days like this. The inherent reflection and looking forward, the purpose in the pauses. This year, though, I feel more desire to be than scan, to see how fully I can embody this moment, and then the next, and then the next. To be quiet and still. To feel my heart beating, the liquid in my veins, the breath flooding into the tips of my fingers. To live, simply.

We have a thin covering of snow on the ground this morning--pockets of brown earth poking through--and the sky is brilliantly blue. The air is crisp and icy. Branches hang bare. Deer tracks reveal night visitors. A train moves in the distance. In the distance, friends move into new jobs and new relationships and old patterns and ripe laughter. In the kitchen, my husband brews coffee. In the next bedroom, my nephew stirs. Inside my body, among my muscles and …

Lines Written in the Days of Growing Darkness

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don't say
it's easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

-- by Mary Oliver

Waning Days

Research papers in and graded, To Kill a Mockingbird spins on, bran muffins fresh from the oven, one more walk. Good days, brown and scented with the end of fall. The snow is coming, friends. Cocoa, a blanket on my belly, deep dark, and settling in:  ahead ahead ahead ahead ahead ahead ahead. Time for music.

Portland to Astoria, by Way of The Sea


Multnomah Falls, Oregon

We went out west to southern Washington and northwestern Oregon recently to visit the first child that has made us Aunt and Uncle. A lovely trip. Inspired lots of writing that I can't quite find the time (or energy) to finish. But these. Thank God for photographs that don't require words. Except I can't quite keep quiet about the fact that, yes, this pregnant lady hiked through the drip, stepped back and forth over switch backs, and stopped (repeatedly) to suck down great gulps of delicious mossy thick green-coated air until I reached the top of Multnomah Falls, sweating, heart pounding, baby dancing inside of me, thankful once again for high places and tall trees and rushing water and the flat-out wonder I feel when I walk upon the world. 


Little child, this morning you woke me when the sky was still black, milky with low clouds and fog, and in the darkness I laid my hands over the places where you like to move. 
I thought: soon, the sun. I thought: a new day. I thought: you are already so alive that it frightens and thrills me, you who I know but do not know, you who I feel but cannot see. 
I have watched the seasons change all my life. I have anticipated the tightening, the clean coat of snow, the turning over. I have waited for signs, and they have come, every time, in the form of something I have words for. 
But you, child, are hidden: I close my eyes and sense you behind a tree trunk, between a row of pumpkins, below the surface of a summer lake. 
Your face is the peaks and valleys and plains of the earth, given new sounds, new names, that I've not yet learned how to say.


Listen: after a long day's work the land is stretching its body exhaling toward sleep and white dreams

Nature and Environmental Writing Conference

I said I'd fill you in on how my presentation at The Loft's Nature and Environmental Writing Conference went. What I meant was: I'll tell you everything! I'll make you feel as if you we're there! Because it was wonderful and inspiring and refreshing, and who doesn't need a little bit of all that?

What I can offer, though, is a much more truncated version of the story I intended to share. It is mid-October, people. Is any one else amazed by that? And October means midterm grading and stacks of student essays and the arrival of the German exchange students (and Carolin and Annette) and a trip west to Washington to visit the first child who has made me an aunt. There have also been road trips and late afternoon walks and squash soup. But those details will come later. Maybe. Let it be enough, friends, to say that these two years of blogging have led to opportunities and people that I never would have had and never would have met had it not been for this space.


Audubon Center of the North Woods


On Bravery: Scott Russell Sanders

There is a man I met through his words three years ago, and ever since, I have wanted him to be a close uncle, a pull-that-chair-up-to-the-fire kind of friend. He has written twenty books, taught thousand of students, won dozens of awards, and met with important people about important things, so I know it's not only me that has felt this way. Still: I thought if I could just meet him, if I could just shake his hand, perhaps my appreciation would ring clear to him even in the wake of so much praise.

This last weekend, I spent the early minutes of an 8:00 Saturday morning hiking through the north woods at the Audubon Center. I had on a too-thin coat, no gloves, and my camera slung around my neck. The air was tight with a chill I hadn't felt for half a year, and the light was brilliant with it. It streaked through the pines, caught on the maple leaves already a vibrant red. I paused and looked, kneeled, scrambled up on rocks, tilted my ears toward the sound of birds. Took deep br…

Run: Morning

What do you think: Would Henry have said the same thing about running (or biking)? That an early morning run was a blessing over the whole day, too? For some reason, I have a hard time picturing HDT up-and-downing and huffing-and-puffing next to Walden Pond, a fine sheen coating his brow and collecting on that fine, fine beard. Still, I imagine were he with us this morning, taking in a September dawn such as this, he would have laced up his worn-in boots and greeted the day, heart pounding.