mid-autumn the carelessness of leaves -- Gregory Longnecker, tinywords.com Most front yards in my Portland neighborhood are a sea of leaves scattered helter skelter; mosaics in shades of ochres, browns, yellows and burgundies, arrayed in various sizes, shapes, and arrangements.
I’m surrounding myself with family today, with too much delicious home cooked food, with old and new traditions. We can’t seem to gather each year without Nana Bea’s rolls, Mom’s jello mold, Karen’s challah stuffing, and this year’s new trick, Mushroom Wellington à la Alan. “Reviving family recipes honors your ancestry, but more than that, it makes manifest the inconceivable truth. This one meal is the fulfillment of infinite lifetimes.” says Karen Maezen Miller. My forebears would be proud and happy, as am I, mostly. Is there always a caveat?
It's only early November, I remind myself. Not winter, not February, not Iceland, I'm not homeless, the election will be over soon, and the only stuck thing about me is my mind. Get a grip. Time for a retreat.
Early November, pre-election time. Some years I'm poised at the edge, days fraught with worry or full of hope. Other years I pass the time with lighthearted endeavors. I don't actually remember - it's what I posted on Facebook.
It was a day for sunlight, one of few in a streak of cool rainy days. I went looking for an infusion - of yellow sun and leaves, of warm, blue skies, optimism, breath, whatever the forest had to offer, I needed it and would gladly gather it up.
Our hazy 80 degree Augtober days are coming to an end. The rains march inexorably closer, and will put out fires, clear the air, and bring… what, I don't know. Naomi Shihab Nye says, “You are living in a poem.”
Here's a great book I think you should read. Yes you. Everyone. It's called Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver, by Gretchen Staebler. Here's a story about our own experience with caregiving, and why you should read this book.
I've made several changes since moving and retiring. Not exactly reinventing myself, more like seeing what fits, what's stale, what's no longer needed, wanting to create a more intentional life. I'm still the same me I was before moving, but I do feel different. The shifts have been a mix of purposeful, accidental, and unexpected.
The neighborhood smells good these days, of green, of dust, of dying flowers, of cooler air and lower clouds. I walked into the woods on Rosh Hashanah to smell it even closer, to get that scent along with calls of birds, a few falling leaves, and filtered sunlight through the trees.
Alan's birthday is as good an excuse as any to gather family at the beach. We've been together forty odd years (both meanings, yes). It all worked out somehow, and here we are, with a family we love, in a new state we've learned to love, and a coastline we've loved since childhood. Now I've discovered my new favorite Oregon beach town. Manzanita is the perfect ratio of beach to town - seven broad miles of soft pale sand, flat and firm, and a short few blocks of town.