This Moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  {a ritual from Soule Mama}

Leaves to Wings

Yesterday it happened:

a wind roared through the trees,

setting free hundreds

of gold birch leaves.

They played on the breath

that released them,

glinting in the sun

and softly rained onto the garden–

but not before each one tumbled

in flight

the many faces of the tree

finally weightless,

each oval-toothed leaf

now a wing

flying away

as the naked branches

rattled goodbye.

A Perennial Gift

Soil stains my palms but I don’t see the deep brown circle that spreads like watercolor on my skin until the I enter the light of the yurt from the settling dark outside.  It’s 7:00 perhaps, and I am coming in from transplanting perennials.  The sun is sinking earlier these days, tricking me into sleep at 8:15, though some nights Waylon refuses to believe when the sky tells us it’s bedtime.

Clouds pull over the sky like a tattered blanket, bringing dreams of storms and showers; we’ve been dry for weeks, and everyone here–soil, plants, pond, people–is ready for a dousing.  We are opening like cracks in a dessert, opening for water to pour in, rush through, and quench.

The perennials I am transplanting get a bucket-full of water, not from rain, but from the  left-over vegetable wash-water that comes from the holding tank we are living on these days.  They accept it.  It’s fall, the time for dividing and re-locating, and I’ve been given a gift from a local woman who’s tended a perennial garden for 30 years: Bleeding Hearts, Siberian Iris, Bee Balm, and Peonies.  I take a shovel to their roots, circling at first, digging deep around them, and then finally sneaking under and leveraging up, the crack and pop of release telling me it’s done.  Tenderly, I pull the plants out, move them to pots, load them in the truck, and bring them home to join echinacea, yarrow, and rudbeckia.

All this digging, pulling, breaking free–I’m doing the same, finding the overgrown parts of myself where frustration hides in a tangle of roots.  When the digging gets tough, I look out and see the trees glowing with fiery leaves, transforming the entire landscape with their announcement of letting go.

With each moment of pause staring out at the mountains and each plant dug up, the trees and perennials teach me the magnificence of release, the necessity of breaking apart and creating space.

I dump buckets of compost on the newly transplanted perennials, and I keep the stain of soil on my hands to remind myself that I am perennial, too.  It’s good to trim down and be tucked in before winter.

Summer in September

When summer comes again at September’s end, go to the river and fish for rocks.

Fishing for rocks Papa and Waylon, catching rocks in the river Waylon, throwing rocks in the riverThrow the rocks.  Make a big splash!

Waylon and Mama on the rocky shoreDiscover the shape and texture of stones,

and the color of ripples in the water.

foliage reflection in the river foliage reflection in the river foliage reflection in the riverWhen summer comes again at September’s end, go to the river and play.

Gray days aren’t always dreary

woodsmoke The stacked branches of old an apple tree warmed our yurt this morning as Edge lit the first fire of the season.  The nights are dipping down into the low-40s and even high-30s now, and we wake snuggled in bed, bodies warm and faces cool.  Chai, though it already graced most mornings, has become a staple again, the thick milky tea warming us at dawn and lifting our eyes after lunch when we wish for a nap.

This morning the Worcester range, too, was snuggled in bed, a blanket of fog pulled all the way up to the peaks.  The last few days have been gray, though not dreary.  Instead, the cloud cover and brushes of rain make all the colors brighter.  The flowers at the top of the garden stand with a sudden brightness that almost trick me into thinking they could last all winter.  The trees are turning, too, tinging the edge of our field with the first burnt colors of autumn, and like the flowers these colors glow warmer under the gray sky.

Worcester range--tucked inRain is due this afternoon.  This morning, though, we head to the mountains for a family hike up White Rock.  I look out to see that the range, like us, has pushed off its covers, the valley fog now translucent wisps of clouds slowly lifting away.

And so we go~