Sterling silver & a super old stock cut of rugged Arizona turquoise: for girls who like to leave a mark.
Last week was a nice week. I finally feel truly settled in here, and know I am because Robert and I spent the weekend together driving back roads in our truck, hiking into little lakes, fishing, reading, kayaking, sipping iced tea and simply enjoying being together and being in love. We’re still in love, you know? Really in love. We’ve been married for nine years but I still feel like I’m nineteen and seeing him for the first time, every single day.
Speaking of love, I am head-over-heels-rump-over-tea-kettle crazy for the woods. Stark raving mad. Cuckoo! Berserkers for the forest. I was like this last year, too. If I see a big ponderosa pine tree, I have to hug it, or stop and gaze up at it, dumb in its marvelous presence. I am filled with such deep appreciation. Laying my palms against the trunk of a tree makes me feel close to God. It’s like I’m completing a circuit, there with my feet on earth, my hands on a tree, the tree against the heavens. It’s electric. Sometimes it makes me cry, the very aliveness of it, the smallness and hugeness of it.
Tree jottings from this week past:
When we live here, I am continually dwelling on the idea of trees, the very essence of them, I mean their steadfastness and nature of servitude.
Why can’t people be more like trees?
The forest is a boisterous place. It’s often described as a bastion of quietude and peace but I should choose to more clearly define it as a place free of human racket. Isn’t a respite from humanity what we are truly seeking when we go out into nature? I write this from the loft deck at the cabin and all around me is bird racket, the various pitches and frequencies of buzzing bugs, a raven shouting at the wind and beating his wings on the thinness of air, the rapid fire rattle of chipmunks and squirrels, the watery sound of the tree tops surfing the breeze. It is loud here. There is sound swirling all around me, tinged and punctuated by the pizzicato of many living things, but I am not made weary by it like I am the sounds of traffic or the spill and shrill of humans in conversation. Here, in the forest, it is anything but quiet.
This is mid-June. I see and feel the forest cresting, reaching and stretching for the climax of full bloom. The green is still fresh and new, rich with the effort of merit. The trees don’t speak, but I know what they are saying, up there, up high, when they clap their leaves and chime their emotions under moon and sun. I pin a bright badge of respect to the bark of every tree I pass. Oh, good, tall, stalwart friends.
Trees for president!
A forest is a fortress, the very thing to hold me safely in.
I’ll never get over the ways a ponderosa pine tree wraps its bark, branches and needles around the wavering curves of daylight. A pondi is a wrangler of sunshine, a true cowboy of a tree, a tall stout thing that gentles the sky, draws it in, makes it into a brave partner and friend. In the kind and splaying hands of the pondi, the spirit of the sky is never broken. Every needle is a fragrant feather, a remembrance of earth and stone, a glimmer of ground and a tiny defeat of gravity. How I love the ponderosa pine.
I hiked up to Copper Glance, hoping to do a little fishing. The lake had a sheet of ice on it so I hiked up the snowless ridge line to the North of the lake and eventually stopped to eat an apple and enjoy the views. Not a waste of a day at all. Simply divine.
The swallowtail butterflies are resplendent, a flittering wisp of my childhood. I chase after them, willing them, begging them to land on my open hand, to stick to me with the lonesome velcro of their thorny feet. The tangerine orange of the Airstream door romances them deeply. They try to lick at it for nectar, bonking into it repeatedly as their wings whir, fooled over and over again by the shout of the hue.
It seems impossible that this is the skirt of June and eternal daylight and the rising, rising, rising until we reach the peak, the crown of day, the solstice. I wonder where I will be on that short night? I wonder which dress I’ll wear, how many braids I will weave into my hair? Doesn’t it seem sad that the bulk of sumemer, the heat and green reaching of it, comes so late after that long, that longest June day? I fear I already begin to miss these lengthy days, before June is even here. I look too far ahead instead of living here and now. It makes me melancholy, to be far seeing. My mind dwells on fading and eventual loss when I see life as life coming instead of life actual and arrived which is the very truth about now and here. Why do I do that? Live outside of now? Do we all do it? Let ourselves fade into the distances of past or future, instead of residing in the strength and full color of now?
I cut off all of Robert’s hair. He asked me to. It wasn’t a Sampson and Delilah situation. Not at all. Now he looks like a beautiful barn owl with his heart shaped face. Perhaps that’s why he is so good at flying, because secretly, he has very broad wings.
I miss Robert when he is at work during the day. Moving to the Methow Valley for six months of the year makes for more than just a geographical transition. I also have to adjust to living much more seperately from my best friend and husband. It’s hard, at times, to make that shift. There are sudden, wide gaps in the structure of my life that can make things feel rickety and unstable.
“I was just passing by
when the wind flared
and the blossoms rustled
and the glitterling pandemonium
leaned on me.”
[Mary Oliver :: Goldenrod]
Everything here is a direct, boisterous reminder of my childhood. I feel I must be slipping and sinking into the gentle innocence of a simple, beautiful life; a life uncomplicated by grown-up things. The forest takes me back. We fall asleep to the sound of night birds, a fleet of frogs on the marsh below the cabin, a pair of owls in halting dialogue at dusk. If it is breezy, the wind in the douglas firs and ponderosa pines sounds like the rush of water. Air is a current of its own sort. During the day, there is the sound of ruffed grouse calling out for love, the very drum beat of my childhood. There are awkward, wild turkeys on the road as I drive down to town; the black eyes and white tails of the deer. The wildflowers! Oh! The wildflowers. The land is rupturing with a bevy of color and a cacophony of scent. I walk around with a thousand soft sighs on my lips because this is love. I am in love. I love it here.
I am guilty, at times, of working myself into complete exile. It’s just how it is. I put my head down. I forget to eat. I am grumpy and rumpled outside of the studio. I reside in this strange land of metal and gems and everything else falls by the wayside. Forgive me.
Today: Two osprey, two mule deer bucks with their blunt antlers bundled in precious velvet and a tremendously close encounter with a white tailed deer (a doe). Also, a red tailed hawk above the twin leaning ponderosa pines on Lookout Road, and a snarky raven using the cabin roof as a landing pad. Bear scat West of the cabin on the road where it grows thick with alder. Pizza for dinner.
I saw a blue racer snake, belly up, dead on the road while I was out running. The ants and wasps were already doing their tiny butchering. In the morning, the next day, it was gone. Nature is so quick to put everything to good use, even the dead.
Here in the shade with the ferns, the stones are sinking. Everything in this clearing seems heavy with the promise of gravity. Even the wildflowers lean in the afternoon light, fat with dust and seed. But I, I feel myself rising.
I ran past a patch of wild rose blooming. That is the scent of pure pink.
[the good life]
Sorry for the stops and starts here, little honeys! The Airstream suffered a power slump and it fried my computer…Robert says I may have been running too many machines all at once…I can get a little zealous, I reckon. I’m just home from the big city where I took my hunk of computer junk to the doctor (he was super nerdy and talked like a robot) and everything is up and running again. Thank goodness! Let’s get together tomorrow so I can tell you all about this glorious land of summer. Ok? Ok.
We made it!
As always, it seems to take so much longer than expected to get everything set up and humming once more. Uprooting is tiring. We’ve been having interwebular struggles and just last night found what may be our best and only option for an internet connection out here in our lovely little mountain nook. We are SO glad to be back. I didn’t realize how much I missed this place, my gorgeously alive forest, my little cabin, the owls at twilight, the frog song rising up from the marsh, my hammers pinging in the glorious Airstream…
All is beautiful. Soggy too. It’s been raining heaps. I think I’m growing moss. I missed you so! Tra la la! More soon.