Fifty Shades of Green

April’s snow melted a few weeks ago, with the rest of this winter’s accumulation, as warm days and rain cleared it away. Unfortunately it’s been a wildly swinging weather ride from up and down temps of hot days to frost-laden mornings, and several jags of cold rain and biting winds, and mainly overcast days for the last month.

The few warm, bright days we’ve seen so far revived the asparagus patch, and we can’t eat it fast enough. However, the latest frost killed the bountiful apple blossoms on the two old trees in the neighboring yard. Luckily, the peaches and blueberries were past their blooming, so they should be fine.

But the greening of the yard and forest is striking this year. A scant few weeks ago, the yard and bordering forest was a mass of dull greys and browns, but glancing out the window the other day was like watching the original, Wizard of Oz, going from black and white to Technicolor in the Emerald City.

Well, maybe it’s not been that spectacular, but when you’ve got the blues, and don’t believe an end to the cold, wind, and rain – these shades of green, teasing spates of sun, and sounds of the spring peeper chorale, incessant bird song, and other emergent wildlife, are a ‘shot in the arm’, indeed!

Greening grounds 1
Greening grounds 2
Greening grounds 3
Greening grounds 4
Greening Grounds 5

The awe-filled sensory stimulation of the fresh greenery will recede with summer’s advance, even though I will continue to step back and appreciate the verdant seasonal abundance.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Spring – Hopes Eternal?

Here in Western MA, the first day of Spring has graced us with sun and warmth. Trees and shrubs are budding, blooms readying within.

The willows bordering the brook running through the bottom third of the backyard’s long, gentle slope, are soaking up the snow-melt, their tops’ new growth a muted chartreuse, diversifying the reddish haze of surrounding maples, and the changing hues of the black walnuts, oaks, sumac, and poplars.

Robins who arrived several weeks ago but scattered after last weeks foot of heavy snow, returned by the brook too, worms and other insects a plenty.

Yesterday, we spied seven deer donned in their dark grey-brown winter fur, drinking at the water’s edge, and eating any new grass shoots appearing there. Four were mature does with three yearlings in tow, who gamboled through the snow while their parents, or other herd members, stayed close to the stream, raising their long necks in alarm every few moments before determining all was well. A flock of turkeys seeking nourishment several feet further downstream kept disappearing in the deep snow and soon trotted off into the woods while the deer lingered several more minutes.

Seeing the deer made it through the winter – and hunting season – was gratifying. The stretch of land between the cabin and the neighbor’s house is a wildlife corridor, and a nature preserve, of sorts. There are several haying fields here, surrounded by woods with the brook running through, elements conducive to safe and productive wildlife.

Soon the does will calf, and we’ll witness the circle of life anew as the stand of trees behind the garden shed offers ample shelter, and the growing hay fields will provide safety for the fawns while mother seeks nourishment during the day.

Welcome, but less amenable to sleeping in, will be the raucous mating bird calls who seem to favor the eaves above the bedroom window, of course…

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Out There

One of the wonderful aspects of being away is the perspective change, especially when the scenery is so drastic.

There's Your Sign...

I immediately found myself afraid and battled my fear to become curious. I’m visiting dear friends in the southwest – Arizona – and I’m finding myself again assimilating my life’s experiences and what it all means to me.

Watching my dear friend work and interact with the people of her life here is inspiring, and helped me open myself up – just that bit more – to not assume the worst in everyone.

It’s tough particularly now, in our heinous political environment, trusting that there are good people who deeply care about others’ lives. When I’m in unfamiliar territory, everyone is the enemy, and I’m hyper-vigilant, trying to stay safe.

My childhood friend is so open & loving – and not consumed with worries of things she can’t control, where I seek control over things I can’t stop worrying about. It’s not that she’s immune, or willfully ignorant, or tuned-out; she knows how to prioritize or allocate her emotional resources.

I came out here to step away from my life back east. I don’t know how to balance what I want and need with the wants and needs of my significant other. I didn’t come out here because of that, but it helps to be so far away when I’m so troubled about my personal life.

There are good reasons to feel as I do, and there are reasonable solutions which allude me more often than I’d like, leaving me feeling powerless and as though I’m consenting to less than what I desire. We do communicate, but there are always issues that hang in the air – never resolved – just sublimated, until the next time I try to stake my claim for my desires.

I’ve remembered, out in this vast, open, unfamiliar, and harsh landscape, that wherever I go, there I am. Will I succeed, or fail, or some combination I can live with?

It’s as if the stark contrast between the rocky peaks jutting into the sky and the cacti and other desert life dotting the valleys reveal life as it is rather than life as I wish it, but there’s still the ability to thrive. There’s still beauty and variety. There are abundant paths to choose from, or room to make my way – even this late.

Fear can stop me, or I can function beside my fear.

Walking out of the squat main office building, I turned right onto S. Veteran’s Memorial Highway, camera in hand.  The Galiuro Mountains to my left, and the Santa Catalina’s to my right, I felt prey for the vultures – avian or human. Walking briskly while the steady, and sometimes fierce, chilling winds pushed me along, I finally turned back after a few miles, where the wind gleefully made my uphill journey more aerobic.

The Saguaro sentinels greeted me in uneven intervals, sometimes solely, other times clustered, while Organ Pipe, Agave, and Prickly Pear cacti covered more ground among the Mesquite trees, and other desert plants.

San Manuel 1

The Long, Not Winding, Road

fuzzy Saguaro

Organ Pipe cactus

San Manuel sunflower

img_0087

Galiuro Mountain Range

I forgot what it was to see so far out, and while I wouldn’t want to live here, it’s been a gorgeous and welcome change of pace.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

New England Awe-tumn

Though I’ll post some pictures, if you live, or been in New England’s autumn, you understand the awe while driving or walking down our country roads, or along trails and wooded paths.

It started slow this year, and seemed as though it would be a mostly yellow leaf-covered horizon & ground, but a preview of winter’s chill jump-started the leaves’ colors and now glorious neon-hued oranges, peach, deep, and bright reds, have dominated the summer’s green.

Understanding that it’s dying leaves doesn’t make it less dazzling or soul-stirring – or perhaps it is because this is the leaves’ legacy – that it’s all the more poignant and breath-taking.

It’s my reminder that we’re headed into darkness, already in less light, but yet there is reason to celebrate.

Dance, sing, laugh, breathe fully – this time emphasizes that everything – all of us – experiences these cycles.

For now, exuberance spreads through me as I drive down the narrow road nearing my home: the birch, maple, oak, sumac, and other flora dazzles with a daily changing palette – through sun or cloud – and even more dramatic in rain and wind, as leaves pirouette and glide in showers of glimmering color.

I shore up these treasures, knowing the pictures I took cannot do justice to the show before me – just as a live performance holds an immediate relational experience to the audience that a recording can never reveal.

Wendell MA October 2016

Montague, MA October 2016

Montague MA tree Oct 2016

Hinsdale NH tree October 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Sounds Of Summer

Summertime - and the livin' is easy
Summertime – and the livin’ is easy

Summer’s constant buzz and song fills my house.  Crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, and a myriad of other bugs and birds create a constant background hum – either that – or I have horrible tinnitus.

These muggy August nights feature crickets’ constant ‘chee, chee, chee, chee’, while tree frogs sound their ‘bdrrrrr, bdrrrrr’ calls echoing around our hill, quieting close to sunrise, continued by the crickets until long after sunrise when other insects and birds take up the daytime chorus.

The oppressive, humid air makes sleep nearly impossible, even with the fan on high, but I rarely need moisturizer this time of year!

Wisps of hair curl up near my temples and forehead, and a cool shower takes down some of the night’s heat.

A long ago Key West morning suffuses my memory.  I’m stepping into a slightly chilled saltwater pool at our motel in Islamorada.  The surrounding air, so much like this morning, makes me long for the palm tree setting, while nostalgia’s softening gaze helps me forget any of the stress or conflict of that trip as I feel myself cutting through the cooling water of the pool on that lovely morning.

Islamorada Pier - Guy Harvey Outpost
Islamorada Pier

That memory is a happy place I will call to mind as I attend to today’s stress, work and monotonous chores.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Flagging Down Summer

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-betsy-ross-really-make-the-first-american-flag
http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-betsy-ross-really-make-the-first-american-flag

Today is Flag Day.  We learn about and honor what our flag represents in our country, and how to respect our flag.  I was raised a patriot – a lover of America: ‘Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave.’  I believed in the Grand ole’ Flag, and the pledge of allegiance.  America the Beautiful and our National Anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, still mist up my eyes with every hearing.  Yankee Doodle Dandy was one of my favorite songs as a child, and I even changed the lyrics to reflect being a girl.  I would sing: ‘…a real, live, niece’ – rather than nephew – ‘of my Uncle Sam’, as well as my ‘Yankee Doodle Sweetheart’ being ‘my pal’ to the end where ‘I am that Yankee Doodle gal’.  I never realized it was just a boat-load of propaganda designed to stir up nationalistic fervor and xenophobia.  Every nation on earth does it to lesser or greater extents.

A high wind is blowing all around as I write this out on the summer porch.  Whistling through the windows, I smell cut grass, honeysuckle, roses, and plowed earth on its way through – the scents of early summer.

Although the solstice is over a week away, Memorial Day has always signaled the start of summer for me.  Even though calendars declare that ‘Summer Begins’ with the June solstice, farmers and others close to nature’s cycles know that it’s really the half-way point of the season.  After that, daylight decreases daily with our orbit towards autumn.

www.timeanddate.com
http://www.timeanddate.com

But I’m not to think about that now.  Being here now is my goal as time tends to bunch up the older I get.  I want to have my younger self’s sense of time.  A leisure summer day could seem like a weekend then, but my adult life’s demands and concerns are often greater, along with the broader view of time that age affords.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Earth Day 2016

my_blue_marble_by_vileyonderboy
http://img11.deviantart.net/ea36/i/2010/152/f/d/my_blue_marble_by_vileyonderboy.jpg

It’s your day, Earth.  We set one day aside to honor you – kind of like Mother’s, or Father’s, Day.  I can only speak for mothers, but I know most of us work hard all year, but it’s one day for special notice.

And like the aforementioned days for recognition, you’re pretty much taken for granted the rest of the year, Earth.  We trust there’ll be breathable air, livable land, and drinkable water every day –  no matter what we do to you.

But more people, who wouldn’t call themselves tree-huggers or hippies, are waking up to the Earth’s needs – regardless of motivation.

Lots of trees were planted today, and many people cleaned up road and river ways in your honor, Earth.  Children danced and sang, wrote stories and poems, painted pictures, and marched in parades.

But what happens tomorrow?  Making every day Earth day is a significant challenge, and I am as bad as anyone because I drive, and use electricity, and eat, and breathe, and use unsustainable goods.

How do I change – impoverished me, who can’t go buy a hybrid vehicle, build a ‘green’ home, has no regular public transportation, and deals with chronic pain among other issues, making biking or walking everywhere unrealistic?

I suppose my carbon footprint is less by virtue of my poverty, but if I were wealthy, would I care?  I hope so, but I absolutely would do more if I gain wealth in my life.

I’m grateful for others’ creativity – those addressing problems of our industrialized world: industrial and agricultural pollution, rubbish, mindless consumerism, etc.

Cows are one of the major methane producers, and I wonder if an enzyme could be put into their feed to reduce their gas emissions, much like Bean-o does for humans.  There has to be solutions to help us and Earth without going back to being hunter/gatherers. I have no interest in beating my clothes against a rock in the local brook to clean them.  I don’t think life has to get harder to get better for all of us.

Maybe oil-based materials and products will use new substances, known, or as yet undiscovered, that won’t require oil, coal, tar, or other noxious materials to create or operate.  ‘Plastic’ can be made from plant fibers, for instance, that will degrade without as much damage to the world as current plastics are.

There are many smart, driven, compassionate, and caring people who can tackle these issues, but government needs to provide funds for success much like it did with the space program – a program now focused on getting humanity off this polluted world rather than solving pollution issues.

Maybe humanity screwed up other planets in the solar system a long time ago, and luckily found a livable planet here, but pretty much directly started destroying it…

My father thought we were the scourge of the universe and ours is a penitentiary planet – keeping us from serious interstellar harm.  I think we’re an immature species, smart enough to get ourselves in real trouble, but not insightful enough to stop ourselves.  So, until that happy day when we’re mature, we suffer the consequences of our actions rather than celebrate how far we’ve come.

Who knows how long I’ll live, but I could reasonably live another forty or fifty years – and I’d like to use whatever time left giving back to this beautiful blue interstellar marble, and do my best to decrease my destructive tendencies and do more good than harm.

Regardless, I wish all a beautiful Earth day, and hope it will carry all through the year.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Stormy Weather Again, *%&^%$!

Poor Lena Horne can’t stop singing, but of course, this isn’t about stormy weather in your life, this is actual stormy weather.

I admit the first tender flakes made me smile and think of making snow sculptures, and sledding, to sipping hot cocoa by the fireside, and I was taken in by the romance, like the blush of new love.

My giddiness lasted through the day, especially as the snow was light, sparkling, and easy to move.

It’s right that there’s snow in February in the Northeastern U.S., but I’d like it to end with February too.  Alas, nature thinks winter should continue through March, and sometimes well into April – even though the calendar plainly notes the vernal equinox – Spring – dammit!

Unable to leave for warmer, snow-free, climes, enduring whatever comes is our lot, so I’ll drink a cup of cocoa, pretending it isn’t going right to my hips, and try to enjoy the fire that rockets glowing embers, while belching smoke at me, filling my nose and burning my eyes with its acrid stench – no matter how often I change spots around the bonfire – and appreciate my efforts toward the graceful, artfully rendered sculpture in my mind’s eye looking more like quasi-moto than the angel it was supposed to represent, while begrudgingly appreciating nature’s ice I’m pressing my bruised tail bone against from the ill-advised sledding, and subsequent and spectacular ejection from said sled, earlier in the day.

At least I snapped a few photos before the worst:

Image by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Image by Jerri Higgins
Image by Jerri Higgins

By the way, while Lena Horne is famous for her rendition of Stormy Weather, among others, I think Ella Fitzgerald sings it better.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Picture Perfect Day

January afternoon, looking northerly:

Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Afternoon Sky Late January 2016
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins

The colors of the camera don’t do life justice.  Subtle grays blending into blue,  with a smoky water-color appearance.

Nature wins again.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

November, Present

The balmy morning, so unusual in the Northeast for November, beckoned me outside, even though the heavy grey clouds threatened rain.  Chancing a walk, break-through sunshine rewarded me with its warmth as I stood with upturned face, grateful for the bounty.

Do the trees, and hills, and sky feel my appreciation?  Is there a quantum transfer leaving us both changed?

I sit, watching the mill brook water rush over the ledge and rocky stream bed on its way to a river, which will eventually deposit in the sea.  A rush of ochre-hued oak leaves tumble into the flow – most being swept downstream – while many other leaves jam up on an exposed ledge, several breaking away when the rock can hold no more.

How many years has this pattern continued, and how has the ledge been worn by the water and weather’s destruction?  I’m not looking at the same stream bed I saw last autumn, I know, but it feels unchanged except for the knowledge that new leaves are falling into new water.

A tree trunk lies along the stream bank – had that been there last year?  Was the slim, young birch pulled over like that, appearing as if to sip from the clear pool below it?

Another, older birch, its white bark illuminated, shines like a sentinel among the dark wooded oaks and pines, three thick, crooked branches jut into the air, appearing like a trident, perhaps, forgotten by Poseidon.

The dank, musty air, particular for autumn, stimulates undefined memory, and I thank the land for making me richer this rare day.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Festive Autumn

Massachusetts Postcard

Autumn always filled me with excitement as a child – mostly the thought of Halloween and what I would be that year – and how much candy I could get…  I also loved making leaf piles and jumping in them with my best friend, and the pungent odor of fallen oak and maple leaves still brings those happy memories up front, as well as crunching through fallen leaves on a crisp October evening’s walk, watching curls of acrid wood smoke from various chimneys, the scent lingering on the air, reminding me of warming up by a bon or campfire on colder late autumn and winter nights, made especially nice by a steaming mug of coffee, or sweet, hot cocoa, and lively company.

Bonfire Night

Autumn tree

In honor of so many festivals and fairs celebrating the harvest and helping the (for me) tough transition from summer, I offer a listing of many Massachusetts fall events.  Unfortunately, a lot of them fall on Columbus Day Weekend, so choosing what to attend could need a print out of events and a dart board to tape it to. 🙂

If you’re not close enough to enjoy any of these events, I’m sure there are festivals and celebrations wherever you are too.

***fryeburgfairnight

Western MA Autumn Happenings:

 http://www.historic-deerfield.org/event/hands/focus-fridays-chinese-export-porcelain-tea-set-2/?eID=18260   Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, MA, Focus Fridays: Old Burying Ground, Oct. 2 & Oct. 30, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 http://warebca.com/fall-fest-2014/   Ware Annual Fall Festival, Oct. 3rd, 2015, various events & venues, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

 http://www.fallfoliageparade.com/   Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade, North Adams, MA, 60th Anniversary: Sunday, Oct. 4th, 2015 – 1 p.m.

*

~ Columbus Day Weekend ~

http://salmonfallsgallery.com/   Shelburne Falls Art walk & artist’s reception, Shelburne Falls, MA, Sun, Oct 11, 2015, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

http://www.paradisecityarts.com/   Northampton Paradise City Arts Festival, Northampton, MA, October 10, 11 & 12, 2015, Sat & Sun, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Mon. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

http://www.thebige.com/   The Big E Fair, West Springfield, MA, September 18th – October 4th, 2015. Gates open 8 a.m.

http://www.topsfieldfair.org/  Topsfield Fair, Topsfield, MA, Fri, Oct 2 – Mon, Oct 12, 2015, Oct. 2, opens 1 p.m., Oct. 3 – 12, 10 a.m.

http://www.ashfieldfallfestival.org/  Ashfield Fall Festival, Ashfield, MA, October 10 &11, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – both days – rain or shine.

http://www.berkshirebotanical.org/see-and-do/harvest-festival/harvest-festival-home-page/  Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival Stockbridge, MA, Saturday and Sunday October 10th and 11th, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – rain or shine.

http://exploreadams.com/play/ramblefest   Ramblefest, Adams Visitors Center, Adams, MA, Oct. 11, Noon – 5 p.m., – Oct 12, 2015, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

http://bazaar.culturalsurvival.org/amherst-common   Indigenous Cultural Survival Festival, Amherst Common, Amherst, MA, Sat. Oct 10 – Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

http://www.riversidebluesandbbq.com/   5th Annual Riverside Blues, Brews, and BBQ, Greenfield, MA, October 10th & 11th, 2015, Noon – 6 p.m. both days

http://www.townofgranville.net/   34th Annual Granville Harvest Fair, Granville, MA, October 10th – 12th, 2015, Oct.10, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Oct.11, Noon – 5:00 p.m., & Oct.12, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

http://trinityspringfield.org/wp/?ai1ec_event=12th-annual-fall-craft-fair&instance_id=9168  Trinity United Methodist Church, Springfield, MA, Fall Craft Fair, Sat., October 17, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 http://www.parkhillorchard.com/art   Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, MA, Art In the Orchard, August 13 – October 31, 2015, a walking sculpture trail winding through fruit gardens

http://mikesmaze.com/   Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm, Sunderland, MA, is open Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays, September 12 – November 8, 2015

https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinfest   6th Annual Pumpkinfest, Turners Falls, MA, October 24th, 2015, 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.

http://www.nrm.org/event/pre-halloween-tour-luminaries-exploring-stockbridge-cemetery-2/?instance_id=42778   PRE-HALLOWEEN TOUR Luminaries: Exploring Stockbridge Cemetery, October 29, 2015, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

http://www.craftsofcolrain.com/index.html  Annual Studio Tour, Saturday and Sunday, November 14-15, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

http://www.hitchcockcenter.org/programs/adult-programs/natural-history-programs-series/#familyprograms   Pumpkin Carving, Thursday, October 22, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.  & The Enchanted Forest: A Non-scary Halloween Event, Friday & Saturday, October 23 & 24, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

http://ontrendcrafts.com/upcoming-events-72615/  OnTrend Fall Craft Fair, Hadley Town Commons, Hadley, MA, Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

MACropped

~ A few notable annual festivals and events in Central, Northeastern and Southeastern, MA:

http://www.wachusett.com/EventsActivities/AppleFest/tabid/362/Default.aspx  Mt Wachusett 32nd Annual Applefest, October 17-18, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

http://www.westendfallfestival.com/  West End Creamery, Whitinsville, MA, Corn Maze, and Fall Festival, Weekends Sept. 12th, through October 25, 2015

http://cmschamber.ning.com/page/harvest-festival  26th Annual Harvest Festival, Sturbridge, MA Town Common and grounds of the Publick House Historic Inn, October 17 & 18, 2015, Sat.,10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sun., 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Rain or Shine.

https://www.nantucketconservation.org/activities/cranberry-festival/  13th Annual Nantucket Cranberry Festival, Milestone Cranberry Bog, Nantucket, MA, Saturday October 10, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – rain or shine

*

Jack-o'lantern 2012

~ Halloween Related ~

http://www.hauntedhappenings.org/  Salem, MA, Haunted Happenings 2015 Thursday, October 1 – October 31, 2015

http://tslpresscom.ticketleap.com/poeinsalem/  Edgar Allen Poe in Salem, Wynott’s Wands, Salem, MA, Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 5:45 p.m. – 7 p.m.

http://tslpresscom.ticketleap.com/thegravedetails/  The Grave Details, Wynott’s Wands, Salem, MA, Fri, Oct 23, 2015, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

http://www.beverlyhistory.org/  Witch Stories by Candlelight, Hale Farm, Beverly, MA, Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.

http://www.edaville.com/explore-edaville/shows-events/   Pumpkins Aglow, Edaville USA, Carver, MA, Friday – Sunday in October, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

http://www.mirbeau.com/calendar/halloween-masquerade-ball-2/?instance_id=12477  Mirbeau Inn & Spa at the Pine Hills, Plymouth, MA, Halloween Masquerade Ball, October 31st, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

~

Some sites for MA events all year, as well as outdoor recreation:

https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/hf-510/

http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/09/western_mass_bucket_list_30_th.html

http://festivalnet.com/state/massachusetts/ma.html

http://www.mass.gov/portal/articles/western-massachusetts-hiking.html

http://www.mass.gov/portal/articles/advanced-hiking-trails-in-massachusetts.html

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/

http://berkshires.org/business_category/festivals-special-events/

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Falling For Autumn

While I didn’t get enough summer this year – does any of us ever? – I feel less sad about Autumn’s entrance.  I don’t appreciate the jarring way it barges in – twenty degree temperature drop, and chilling wind to boot – but I do like that harvest has come, and apples are abundant this year, and the days are still relatively warm.

Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins
Photo by Jerri Higgins

Fall has always held the excitement of festivals, and of Halloween, the scent of falling leaves, of wood fires, and of hay stacks.  I’m glad I’m not allergic to those things, although when the leaves get mildewed after the rains come, then I’m suffering with sniffles, stinging eyes, or bleary from my allergy pills.

I’ve gone back to allergy shots this year, six a week for the foreseeable future.  I’m allergic to life, pretty much, and I feel bad that my son is too.  My father was very allergic, so I probably inherited it from him, but I hope the shots will decrease or eliminate my sensitivity.

The worst is the indoor dust mites, molds, and mildew as the cold season arrives and we’re shut up for the next five months.  I do what I can to keep the allergens down, but it’s a constant battle.

I’ll drown my sorrow with some hot cider and a slice of fresh apple pie – or will it be pumpkin – or maybe, both?  Tiny slices…

The calories tend to increase over the holiday season along with my waist line, so I’m trying to learn that morsels are better than nothing so I don’t feel too deprived  – and there’s nothing like salsa dancing to keep the weight down, and chase away the winter blues.

I don’t mind walking in the snow, but the below zero temps like we had too much of last year, makes outdoor time shorter and less enjoyable for me.  I’m not one of those hearty souls – or perhaps drunken fools – who can be out for hours in weather extremes.  I’ll drink my cocoa, keep warm by the fire, and they can tell me all about their frostbite.

But, September isn’t over.  We’re in for a week of seventy-degree weather, perfect for long walks, jogging, playing, and working outdoors, with lows at night in the forties and fifties, perfect for sleep, which I’ll take over the muggy nights of tossing and turning.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Season’s Greetings

August is the beginning of Druid autumn, I found out several years ago when telling a friend that I feel mournful in August, even though it’s still summer.  Learning that the Druids considered August the beginning of autumn resonated with me, and gave me a place for my sadness this time of year.

It’s now September, and the physical signs of change are showing.  Red and yellow veined green leaves began spotting the road under the maples about a week ago.  Some are fully red now, and although a harbinger of the coming cold season, they are so pretty.

I picked up several of my favorites, and as my mother showed me when I was little, I placed them between sheets of waxed paper and ironed them together.  I put a rag underneath and on top of the waxed paper, and kept checking to make sure it was working.

Photo by Jerri Higgins
Pressed autumn maple leaves

My S.O. wasn’t all that impressed when I showed him later, but its a simple craft helping me ease into autumn.  I’m sure I could have created something more sophisticated, but I also enjoyed its childhood link.

As the earth has moved in its orbit, the garden is now burgeoning with tomatoes, green beans, squash, carrots, and late corn – harvest time well under way.  Maybe I’ll learn to can food this year, but it feels too much like work… 🙂

I suppose we could dry the tomatoes, freeze some of the corn, carrots, and green beans, as well as what we’re doing, which is making as many recipes possible with all the fresh food.

It’s also nice to know where and how our food was grown, and I feel more connected to our land than before I started gardening.

The cooler breezes are more welcome than the humid dog days we’re leaving behind, and sleep is more restful with cooler air too.

I’m not ready to give up summer, and wish it lasted at least another month, but I’ll savor all the warm days ahead, and do my best to accept rather than resist – or figure out how to move to warmer climes!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Dog Days In The Garden

My shorts and shirt cling wherever they touch, sun scorches my back as I rip weeds between the tomatoes. Grass roots deep, but not deeper than my three-pronged cultivator snares them, ripping through the packed earth. Some grass and weeds grow close to the garden plants and removing them is like surgery.

The shadows lengthen across the yard, my work only half done. Water dribbles down my chin, cooling the narrow channel it finds to run down to my damp bra.  I’m tempted to dump most of the bottle over my face and neck, but drinking it is more refreshing for now.  My knees and back complain after several minutes of stooping, or staying in one position for too long.

A stray mosquito buzzes my ear – it won’t be long before the outlier signals the army for a blood meal on me, and I stride over to the carrot bed, some grass indistinguishable from carrot at the soil.  I thin nearly a dozen more carrots than I meant to, deciding to leave the rest for the next day.

The corn and squash languish in the sun, chicken manure and water are needed, but they’ll have to endure until tomorrow.

Dirt-smeared, sweat-stained, but satisfied with a day’s work, I trudge up to the cabin, dumping the last bit of water over my face, enjoying the rivulets that careen down my face and chest, even though I know a cool shower is not far off.

I say a prayer to the Universe that blight doesn’t strike the tomatoes this year, and, come harvest, that we get more crops than the bugs have.

*

*

*

©seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

No Mount Washington – Boo, hoo?

My S. O. & I won a 3-day adventure trip through the AMC – Appalachian Mountain Club – from a sweepstakes form we filled out at the Boston Globe Travel Show this past February.

We drove up early Thursday morning, visiting a dear friend of mine in North Conway, New Hampshire, before heading out to the Highland Center at Crawford Notch, N. H., for the first night of our stay.  It was sunny, dry, and in the low 70°F’s.  We had supper at the center, met a lovely couple who gave us some suggestions of an easier hike the next morning before we headed up to the Mizpah Spring Hut, where we’d be spending our second night.

A fire alarm went off at 1:30 a.m., and I thought it was some AMC hyper-awareness drill, but it turned out there was an electrical fire that started in the basement.  We didn’t learn this until the next day.  What we knew is that a fire truck showed up about 15 or 20 minutes into the ‘drill’, and by then I figured out it was a real thing, and my S.O. ran back for something he needed, stupid in hindsight, but it’s not like there was smoke or open flames or anything.

An hour and a half or so, and three firetrucks later, I decided to go back up to our room and grab our backpacks so we could at least try to sleep in our car – having no idea if or when we’d get back, and my S.O. hung back while I surreptitiously made my way up to the third floor, ducking low to keep out of sight – my adrenaline surging – as I imagined the place blowing up before reaching our room. After a minute or so, my guy was there with me, grabbing what we could, freaked out about being discovered, and the trouble we’d be in for being colossally stupid.  It would have served us right to be burned up, but thankfully we weren’t. Were there open flames or smoke, I’d have counted my losses, and not risked it, but I figured we weren’t getting back in, and I wanted to go get some sleep.

About 5 minutes after retrieving our packs, we were given the all clear to go back in. I understand the risk I took, and I’m grateful it was as I suspected, and not a crisis situation.

Three hours, and no sleep later, we got breakfast, and hiked a mile and a half up a smaller trail that was twice as steep as any I’ve hiked so far, except Mt. Chochura, which we hiked two years ago.  The pay-off was astoundingly worth it:

Me at the top of Mt. Willard
Me at the top of Mt. Willard
S.O. at the top of Mt. Willard
Mt. Washington Trip
view from Mt. Willard
Mt. Washington Trip
Us on Mt. Willard
Us on Mt. Willard

After that, we hiked down and chilled out before heading out for Mizpah Spring Hut, which we’ve heard referred to as ‘a brief jaunt‘.  I guess they’re professional hikers because I was wiped out halfway up. A brief jaunt?  Are you kidding me?

I’m holding back the ‘f-bombs’ as one of my aunts reads this and feels it’s unnecessary.  I understand that, but still type my satisfying swears, and then backspace…

The temperature had climbed to near 80°F, and the sweat was starting to drip off me.  My S.O. fared better, but it wasn’t a skip in the woods for him either.

We had supper at the hut, which was the best part of our being there, outside of meeting some really great people, as well as some not so great ones, and some truly odd folks, but sleep mostly eluded me and my normally easy and deep-sleeping beau, being in a full capacity three triple-bunk room, and not much space to move around in.

Being a hut, there was no shower – even if it were simply cold water – and we forgot to pack in towels, reading that they were provided at the huts during the high season (not true).  The only paper product is toilet tissue (thank you, thank you, thank you), and I totally get it, but I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE. I am not a super outdoorsy, mountaineering, person, and this didn’t charm me into becoming one.

We were supposed to continue to Mt. Washington, and stay at the Lake of the Clouds Hut, which sounds so fantastical, and dream-like, but it poured into the early hours, and was still lightly raining when we got up to have breakfast at 6:30 this morning.  We got out after 8 a.m., and headed for Mt. Pierce, where we decided to take the Crawford Path back down instead of trudging on into the 25 – 30 mph winds, rain, and thunderstorms forecast along the open ridge we’d be hiking.  Plus, the hiking boots I got had already given me a few blisters, and I had liners under my ‘smartwool’ hiking socks. The lovely Linda, a former nurse, and her friend, Carla, who had hiked up to stay for the weekend at Mizpah Hut, bandaged and taped my blisters and sore spots for the trek down – I thank their kindness and expertise!

My S. O. and I decided to hike the 0.9 miles to Mt. Pierce from Mizpah to at least make it to one of the 4,000 footers, but the beginning was intimidating.  It could nearly be called a ladder trail, if the ladder were unevenly spaced and nearly 3/4 of a mile long.

Our goal was accomplished, but the day being what it was, Mt. Pierce was enshrouded in dense fog, often an ominous deep grayish-green.  I was glad to make it up, but gladder to head back down.

Mt. Pierce geological survey marker
Mt. Pierce geological survey marker
Foggy Mt. Pierce
Foggy Mt. Pierce
Mt. Pierce summit cairn
Summit cairn, Mt. Pierce
Hiking to Mt. Pierce summit
Foggy Mt. Pierce approach
Fog bank, Mt. Pierce
Fog bank, Mt. Pierce

I’d like to hike Mt. Washington some day, but it won’t be a carefree romp.  I’ll have earned every foot, sweat out every meter.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

A Sticky Situation

Bare legs stick to the wooden seat, pulling up as though it were a bandage I’m pulling off as I rise to find my hoodie.  It’s not cold, but the clammy air has me chilled.  The bloated sky threatens rain, and the dead air hangs inside too – all the open windows and doors allowing in a subtle mist, evening out the airscape – as I wonder if this is what it’s like to be in the horse latitudes.

The napkins in the holder on the table facing me are slumped over as though drunk, and my feet are uncomfortable on the gummed-feeling floor boards.

I slip on my flip-flops, and take off my recently donned sweatshirt as it proves too warm, and sultry is too good a word for the day.  Oppressive is too harsh, so dull, or limp, fit better, but still doesn’t capture the quality.

I once stayed on my sister’s boyfriend’s refurbished tugboat, and we moored in the harbor for the night.  That was a sultry summer night, wisps of my hair making ringlets from the damp air, our faces shiny and tacky from the humidity as we talked, laughed, ate, and drank until well into the early morning, and I finally drifted off to sleep on the padded bench I was sitting on.  Someone had covered me with one of the wool blankets my sister’s boyfriend had stowed several of for such occasions, and I woke up early, scratchy from the blanket, and clammy from the still misty air, but grateful for the covering when I saw that the blanket was wet with beads of dew, as though I had been lightly rained on while sleeping.

The clouds finally burst as I write, and I think at least the garden is grateful for the rain, but the pitter-patter and constant hum makes me sleepy, although I have so much to do.

A third cup of coffee might help me stay upright and on task.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Motherhood Ruined Me For Traveling

Going away on a whim used to include making sure I had my toothbrush and a change of clothes, and depending on the time of year, my bathing suit and sunblock.

When my child was born, I tried to keep spontaneity alive, and suffered for it.  Oh, no – I forgot his red blanket!  We have to turn around!  He won’t sleep without it, therefore I won’t sleep without it, therefore anyone with me will be miserable – I’ll make sure of that…  Suffering in silence just isn’t fun.

Today, my child grown, and no longer needing his red blanket – I think – probably takes off on a lark all the time. May the pox of child-rearing fall on his house!

I now pack a minimum of three days worth of crap.  It’s ingrained. I’ve tried to make do, to be free again, but I need the earplugs – and this lamp.  And this ashtray…  I can’t sleep without them.  Sure, we could pick some up at the store, but for me, it would be steal them from the store because our budget is so tight  – yeah, yeah, first world problem – there is no room for anything else.  The credit cards are maxed, and the goal is to pay down, not add.  No, not even $5 which will be closer to $25 by the time the debt is paid down.

A detailed list is a must for me, and the stress surrounding trips takes a lot of fun out of it, for sure. Personal items, check.  Three pairs of underwear for two days.  Yes.  Two pant choices, three shirts, two pairs of shoes, and my sneakers. Should I bring those shoes?  Will I want my sundress?

My mind is an unforgiving landscape, a dark back alley where the worst of humanity gives me a wide berth. You crazy, woman!

Snacks!  We’re on a budget!  Pack sandwich making supplies in smaller containers.  Don’t forget the water!  Who knows if it’s drinkable where we’re going!  Beach stuff, bug spray, sunblock.  Holy crap, we almost forgot the tent!  I guess we could have slept under the stars for a night.  Except, we’ll be in a crowded campground with screaming babies and marauding teens.  Wildlife bothers me much less – at least they’re quiet.

My S.O., on the other hand, packed one day’s worth of clothing, and his toothbrush.

He’s also never been a parent.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In…

For the past several days we’ve been inundated with much-needed, but plan wrecking, rain.  An outdoor party on Saturday had to head indoors and with a new musical type: a kitchen band.  Table and chairs hastily crowded into any space available to set up the music, but the revelers were intrepid & carried on – after all, there was still beer – and plenty of it!

The showers turned into a deluge and the end of the night left a muddy path from their kitchen out to our cars after slogging back and forth through the muddy side yard with equipment and other paraphernalia, and I was grateful it was someone else’s house, but felt some guilt at the mess they’d have to clean.

It was so fun to sing and make merry, and I was glad that I only had a couple of beers so I got to watch the party-goers devolve into drunks by the end of the night without the morning regret for me.  I’ve been on the miserable end too much in the past several years as alcohol wooed me again.

In AA’s parlance I’m considered a ‘yet’, and I don’t take that lightly, but it’s very hard to give up when you’re at those crossroads still having choice.  I’ve witnessed many good people done in by alcohol and other drugs, and I don’t want my story to end that way.

Yesterday, it was overcast again, having rained heavily the day before, and getting through the day enervated me so much it was a triumph to get supper going.  Luckily my S.O. helped me rally, and while we were eating our turkey burgers and veggies, the sun rolled out from the thinning clouds like a mercy from the gods, and S.O. said we should go out & play catch.  I balked inwardly, feeling full, and wanting the TV to passively entertain me, but I surprised myself and said yes.

We got outside and the air was warming and fresh as we lobbed the baseball back and forth.  The few clouds left were puffy, some lazily stretched out across the western sky, outlined in various hues of pink, red, and orange, and the bugs were few for about a half-hour.

We switched to hitting and my S.O. puts me to shame with his two and three base hits, while I can barely get mine out of the infield.  I haven’t played ball for many years, figuring I’d be hurt more than I’d have fun, but I was wrong.  I might not throw as hard, run as fast, or hit any better than I ever did, but our time outside, having fun, and just being in the moment created more joy than I’ve had in a while.

I tend to live in fear most of the time because that’s what I learned will keep me safe, as superstitious as that is.  It’s tough to break out of that when it’s wired in my brain.  I make different choices when I’m able, and sometimes I conquer myself, and sometimes my PTSD wired brain does, but I’m most glad that I can appreciate beauty, that my love is intact, and that endorphins still course through my body when I play.

This is probably life’s intermittent reinforcement at its best, but I’ll take it!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Oh, How The Garden Grows

I’ve weeded once.  It’s rained 3 times since then.  I can hear our plants calling out for help as they get crowded out by the faster growing crab grass and weeds – or maybe that’s my guilty imagination.

I’m glad we got it planted reasonably early this year, and as in most things I attempt, I’m not all that enthusiastic about the work, but I do enjoy the harvest.

I’ve also learned to not trust our plants no matter how well we take care of them, and having to compete with the bugs and other critters.  The blight took all our beautiful, plentiful, tomatoes last year, and several cucumbers, and peas failed to thrive too.  The carrots were a bitch to weed and thin, and their yield barely made up for the back-numbing, knee-wrecking work.

Makes you want to run right out and start a garden, doesn’t it?

I do enjoy knowing where and how my food was grown, and that we’re growing organically – no toxic pesticides or GMO’s for us!  I understand the world is full of pesticides and pollution – we can’t escape it all – but I’m not going to help Monsanto or Syngenta, et, al., in any way possible.

Geneticist friends insist GMO’s on their face are bio-identical, but I’ll not have fish genes in my tomatoes – thanks.  I’ll deal with the disappointment of blight and learn how to better care for them without trying to pretend I know better than billions of years of evolution because when geneticists say no negatives were found in test studies, it’s because negatives were not tested for.  That makes a neat solution, but not a livable one.

People can read all the pro and con literature and raw data and make up their minds, or trust that geneticists have their back and don’t need to pander to their funders in any way…

Our garden grows regardless of the tending, I know, but our care, along with nature’s course, will show our final yield.

In the meantime, on we go, bug hats, water, music, and mulch.

Cheers and all the best to the gardeners out there – reluctant or not!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Hike Come Hell Or High Water

Chicken of the Woods mushroom Photo: Andy Kostecki
Chicken of the Woods mushroom
Photo: Andy Kostecki

My beau & I won a White Mountains 3-day Adventure package through the Appalachian Mountain Club at the Boston Globe Travel Show this year.  The biggest mountain I have ever hiked was two years ago, Mt. Chocorua.

The hike was moderately challenging, but soul-soothing through the woods and past streams and waterfalls.  However, when we got above the treeline, I panicked.  I thought the wind was going to send me tumbling out into the forest below, as though there was less gravity up there.  I asked my beau to please not let me fall off the mountain, and he promised I’d stay put unless I jumped on purpose.  There was a further rocky peak, maybe fifty more feet up, but my courage left me, so I sat and watched his progress in the too wide open air from my safe perch in the middle of the granite slab.

After a while, I was able to get up and walk around, even peer over an edge to the valley below.  The view was well-worth my challenge getting there.

Today we took our first hike in preparation for the Presidential Range, but I think I’ll only make it as far as Congress did.  We hiked just over 5 miles to Mt. Toby’s summit and back, and I’m achy, cranky, and wondering how this ever gets addicting.

We pressed on through the torrential downpour for about a quarter of the hike, and we believed we were prepared for rain, but found a few chinks in our system when our rain hats poured water down our backs, and our jeans grew heavier with the soaking.

Along with benefiting from exercise and fresh air, we saw many orange salamanders along the path, a couple of garter snakes, and a friendly dog, that we at first thought might be a bear.  Outside of a few more hikers on their way down, we had the mountain to ourselves.

Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki
Photo: Andy Kostecki

We were thoroughly chilled by the time we got back to the car, and hungry, making our arrival home that much nicer as we got into warm, dry clothes, and sipped the morning’s leftover coffee, still hot enough from the carafe, while we made some soup and grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current.

Spring To Summer in A Flash

It’s supposed to hit the mid-80°F’s today, and it’s been in the high 70°F’s & 80°F’s for nearly a week now.  We had a few true spring days, high 50°F’s & 60°F’s, but now it’s ‘spring unhinged’, or an impatient summer.  I’ll take it!  I’m in love with the world today, and I’ll ride this pink cloud into the ground, I know, but it’s a happy cruise now.

The blossoming trees, bushes, blooming flowers, glorious green grass – nature’s eye candy, and its spell is working.  Getting dumped by nature will suck, as it always does, but life’s intermittent reinforcement is working, and I’m charmed all over again.

The crab-apple tree next door is ‘tickle-me-pink’ hued, more lush and vibrant than last year, and standing under it, the light honey-ed apple scent, and the electric-field buzz of hundreds of bumblebees gathering pollen is nearly over-whelming.

Crab Apple in bloom, Montague, MA Photo: Jerri Higgins
Blooming Crab Apple Tree, Montague, MA Photo: Jerri Higgins
Blooming Crab Apple Tree, Montague, MA
Photo: Jerri Higgins

If there’s a heaven, I hope it’s a lot like this, without things like having to stop writing so you can pee – that’s so annoying!

If you’re in this part of the world, in the Eastern time zone, or better, I hope you enjoy this gorgeous day.  Cheers!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Signs of Spring

Wrapped by this bright day’s light, I know it’s still cold outside, but it’s nice to pretend the air is balmy, with warm spring breezes tinkling the chimes hanging from the porch outside our front window.

Winter’s quiet, now broken by trilling birds seeking mates, claiming their territory, and readying their nests over this side of the hill, is another welcome sign of Spring.

As the day wears on, clouds dim the sky, but not our hope.  The steady drip of snow off our roof belies winter’s frigid grip on the land, and it won’t be long before my fingers feel the warmth of soft, rich, dirt as we sow our garden’s first seeds.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Frozen World

our iced over back yard SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

It was -0.6°F when I looked at the weather station around 8:30 a.m..  Glancing out the kitchen window made me pause, the whole back yard looked like a badly groomed skating rink, but I still wish I had a pair of ice skates.  I wouldn’t last very long at that temperature, but it could have been a fun (or disastrous) ride down our hill to the back field where my favorite Willow trees grace the tree line.

I wondered what it would have been like to live here before humanity figured out how to build houses.  Would I be huddled with my tribe in the woods?  Like the Inuit, or other Peoples, we would have figured it out of necessity – which is how any of our modern world came to be, really.  Once we decided on permanent settlements, becoming farmers and builders instead of hunter/gatherer nomads, we became ever more elaborate, continuing to separate ourselves from the land all the while.

I’m not complaining.  I’d rather have modernity than be huddled together in some sheltered spot for warmth, but I haven’t left the house in two days, so perhaps I’m not all that far from ancient ancestors.  Cold weather is like pain for me – I avoid it as much as possible.  I would move to warmer climes, but my life is here for now because of finances and family obligations, however gladly met.

This time of year is the toughest – but the season is turning, the light increasing, and my isolation is more by choice than by circumstances.  Depression dulls my activity, keeping my world small, but staying removed only increases my distress.  It’s a terrible syndrome, especially during the dark, lonelier months, but writing here helps because I feel more connected to my readers, and to those blogs I read, or discover through tags or recommendations.

There is also a loveliness of a winter morning’s quiet, as though the landscape is caught in the Snow Queen‘s frozen spell, and while I like the afternoon light, Emily Dickinson’s poem often comes to mind: (from The Poetry Foundation)

There’s a certain Slant of light (320)

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –
None may teach it – Any –
‘Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –
When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –
***

Reprinted electronically by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983, 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Although I resonate with that poem, the afternoon light isn’t oppressive when it hits the top of the three towering Willows, emblazoning their top branches in glowing yellow-orange light, gladdening my heart to see it.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

 

Spring Into Action

The snow melted from the field behind the cabin two weeks ago, and the yellow-brown grass and dark leafless trees of the forest beyond are changing with each day.  The field has chartreuse coloring now, and darker green has begun to infuse some patchy spots. The enormous Willow towering among the other trees has brightened, though her foliage remains darker yellow.  A red fuzz has touched the tips in most of the low brush, with darker reds outlining the trees beyond.

The deer still blend in when they stand at the edge of the field, but they’re rooting out the left over crab-apples now, standing in the open, ever ready for a hasty retreat.

We’ve spotted a bobcat sniffing around the shed where some woodchucks have taken up residence, while robins have been the most plentiful, grabbing up the easy worm crop after all the recent rain.

The songbirds awake far earlier than I wish to be hearing them, but their busy mornings remind me that Spring is truly here, and it’s time to air out the cabin from its long, dreary, slumber, filling me with hope and energy at my corner of the world renewed.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.