there is a place

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This weekend, we took to the woods to learn how to find mushrooms. We had a gorgeous day, and the woods were eager to share their treasures. Our guide took us off-trail, taught us to let nature lead us. We looked for open, mossy spaces, free of tangled undergrowth, the places where mushrooms want to grow.

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Every species has its ideal conditions for growth, he told us.

I thrive in these cool, damp, shadowed woods.

I would like to unwind time like a ball of wool, get back to the unformed part of myself and let her know: not every creature thrives under the sun. There is a place where the soft, deep parts of you can live.

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Give me the quiet, secret spaces. Let me hear birds and rain at their work, follow truth like a deer trail through the trees.

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A long time ago I lived under a steely sun, among false prophets, confident of voice and reasonable-eyed. They said the path to truth was too difficult to find, I would lose my way. They taught me to harden and to doubt.

But now I know truth spreads itself secretly underground, waits on every trail, waits for me to arrive and take it up at the right time.

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I am un-hardening, un-doubting. I am looking closely for what’s real, what emerges from the fern-soft ground.

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It was the Romans who taught us that time is a line stretching forward, but the Greeks believed time was a circle that comes around and back again. Perhaps that unformed girl is here, only waiting for me to come back round to her.

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Perhaps she will step out now into this kinder world, perhaps she will find a place to fruit and grow soft under this understanding sky.

hips and haws for the equinox

Today I brought a basket and clippers on my walk and gathered some rosehips and hawthorn branches for the Equinox altar I talked about in my newsletter. It was a cool, rain-free morning, and the sky was the perfect shade of grey to make the greens and reds look deep and vivid. (I never know why people complain about the grey skies here…they make everything else glow!)

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I also gathered a jar full of hawthorn berries to experiment with. Did you know they are good (emotional and physical) heart medicine? I plan on trying a hawthorn cordial and I will dry the rest for tea. Maybe next year I’ll make a jelly with them.

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My simple altar, honoring the gifts of the season, the softening light, and an attitude I want to take into these next weeks.

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This print was a gift from Lesley and it captures what I’m longing for in this time of life so well. I’m learning that I do best when I focus on small, seasonal goals, a week or a month at a time, instead of big, ambitious goals (like say a no-shopping year….sigh). It makes more sense, doesn’t it? Realizing we are tidal in our own way, ebbing and flowing out of attentiveness, circling over and under the same ideas but responding to a changed shoreline each time we approach. Most of this year has been gathering, building, sending, and now I approach the quieter months with a need for rest and contentment, a time of trusting that what we have is enough.

Today the sun rose here at 6:59 am and will set at 7:06 pm. The midpoint again. Tonight after the sun is gone, I’ll make a simple supper of brown rice, mushrooms, some kale from the garden, and roasted sweet potatoes. Earthy things, dark and full of life. We’ll have apples and pears for dessert, some good wine, and welcome what Keats called the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

“The hedges are full of berries now, Hips and Haws; Elder-berries and Black-berries are the most conspicious, also the bright crimson berries of the Bitter-sweet. There is a plentiful crop of Acorns and Chestnuts.”

~ September 22nd entry, Edith Holden, The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady

Happiest of days to you. I’d love to hear how you are celebrating your own place on earth and its particular beauties.

Peace keep you,

tonia