As I step out and down the road I think how each individual human child will grow and be quite their very own being. And then I think how each oak tree also has its own individuality, its own essence in quite the same way, too. Each oak has a distinctiveness which may be seen, felt and known — as with my own children, as with every human that lives upon this earth. ~ James Canton (The Oak Papers)
In front of our vacation cottage was an amazing oak tree, adorned with plants growing in its fork and Spanish moss hanging from its branches.
Every morning when we left and every evening when we returned to the cottage I paused and wondered at the energy coming from this tree. It seemed to have a self-sacrificing essence, nurturing so many other lives besides its own. And I thought of my own children and what wonderful adults they became with their very different personalities, interests and talents.
Although winter is still with us, we sense the subtle renewing of life at the edge of our senses, visible in the growing light and the first greening shoots. Like a seed germinating in the dark soil, we, too, feel the bright spark of life that burns within us. Its call will soon drive us from the warmth and safety of the dark to the ever-quickening call of the light. For now, we must sit at Brigid’s hearth, dreaming and drawing nourishment and comfort from it until the lighter, warmer days. At Imbolc we honour those dreams and the inner fire that will create the world anew — we, too, shall soon become the spring. ~ Maria Ede-Weaving (The Essential Book of Druidry: Connect with the Spirit of Nature)
Thanksgiving is the winding up of autumn. The leaves are off the trees, except here and there on a beech or an oak; there is nothing left on the boughs but a few nuts and empty bird’s nests. The earth looks desolate, and it will be a comfort to have the snow on the ground, and to hear the merry jingle of the sleigh-bells. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (The Seasons)
There is nothing that makes the seasons and the year so interesting as to watch and especially to keep record of the changes by which Nature marks the ebb and flow of the great ocean of sunshine which overspreads the earth. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (The Seasons)
We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, -if it were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass; the same hips and haws on the autumn’s hedgerows; the same redbreasts that we used to call “God’s birds,” because they did no harm to the precious crops. What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known, and loved because it is known? ~ George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
It’s been five years since I last shared a William-Adolphe Bouguereau painting, which surprised me because I used to post them fairly often. His pictures of children are so sweet and this one seemed to go along very well with George Eliot’s words.
I spent my childhood experiencing that sweet monotony, endless days playing in the oh-so-familiar woods surrounding the house my parents built. I can still close my eyes and picture the snow-covered hemlocks, the magical swamp and vernal pools, the baby garter snakes sunning themselves on my father’s stone walls in summer, the gray shed, the lovely chestnut tree, and the tiny bluets blooming behind the hens-and-chicks in my mother’s rock garden. My own childhood idyll.
The turtle reminds me that I owe my small human life to the generosity of the more-than-human beings with whom we share this precious homeland. The Earth was made not by one alone but from the alchemy of two essential elements: gratitude for her gifts and the covenant of reciprocity. Together they formed what we know today as Turtle Island, or North America. In return for their gifts, it’s time that we gave ours in return. ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer (The New York Times, September 24, 2023, “What Do We Owe Turtles?”)
We found a great place to walk with uneven terrain and only two people encountered along the way! We followed a trail around a large meadow full of wildflowers and humming with insects…
And then we made our way into the woods and felt grateful for all the gifts it was offering on such a lovely day.
Tim spotted this box turtle ever so slowly swallowing its breakfast. I cannot tell if he was satisfied or not when he finally got that thing down. When we came back by to check on the turtle ten minutes later he was looking more alert and I was able to get the picture at the beginning of this post.
What would a woodland be without squirrels scampering up and down the tree trunks?
The woods here have many similarities to the ones in New England, but they do have a different feel to them. The heavy presence of loblolly pines, not found up north, is one strikingly obvious difference. Likely I will start seeing more subtle distinctions as time goes on.
Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~ George Eliot (Letter to Maria Lewis, October 1, 1841)
I have three poems, he said. Who counts poems? Emily tossed hers in a trunk, I doubt if she counted them, she simply opened another tea bag and wrote a new one. That was right. A good poem should smell of tea. Or of raw earth and freshly cut wood. ~ Olav H. Hauge (The Dream We Carry: Selected & Last Poems of Olav H. Hauge)
It’s 96°F (34°C) out there with a feels like temperature of 102°F (39°C). The weather folks tell us 85°F (29°C) is the average high for this week of September in this part of North Carolina. Sigh… So. Stuck. Inside. (Very grateful for air conditioning!) We’re unpacked and pretty settled now and more than ready to explore the world outside these walls. If only this oppressive heat and humidity would go away.
To help pass the time I’ve started binge watching an off-beat streaming series, Dickinson.
The show takes an unusual approach to depicting its protagonist’s coming-of-age in the 1800s: Characters speak in Millennial parlance, the soundtrack is populated with today’s hits, and more often than not scenes resemble fever dreams where what’s figurative in Emily’s poems gets depicted literally. ~ Shirley Li (The Atlantic, December 24, 2021)
At first I thought I might not like it but it drew me in. The costumes and scenery are all 1800s but the language and music is modern. (Except for the words of the poems themselves.) It kind of reminds me of the times we saw Shakespeare-in-the-Park plays performed, twisted in the opposite way, with modern costumes and settings but with the original language intact.
It’s pretty exciting seeing her poems come to life visually.
I’ve also been reading a book of Olav H. Hauge’s poems. (I’ve posted a few of his poems here over the years.) When he mentioned Emily Dickinson in his poem at the top of this post it warmed my heart to know that a Norwegian poet appreciated her poetry, too.
I’m looking forward to the day when it will be cool enough for us to have tea on the porch in our new home!
I was looking for a course, a way and meaning in my life and thought the answer could be found in all that wise men wrote. And they are surely not to blame if I ended up no wiser. That mystery so clear, so deep, is not to be found in books. It was in your eyes, shining, blue, that I first saw it once. Eternity opened a tiny crack, And earth and heaven sang. ~ Olav H. Hauge (The Magic of Fjords)