It felt so good getting out for a long walk in the woods on a cool, crisp autumn day! First we enjoyed the meadows at the entrance to Coogan Farm.
Following a path past the Giving Garden we came to the Gallup Orchard Trail, which winds through the woods before arriving at a forgotten orchard that was recently discovered and is being studied and restored.
Dating back to the original 1654 Gallup homestead and actively farmed by the Greenman brothers during the age of shipbuilding in the 1800s to feed their shipworkers at what is now Mystic Seaport Museum, the orchard contains clues that will help us uncover the history and heritage of the land. ~ Anna Sawin (“Apples and Pears, Oh My!” ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center blog post, March 9, 2020)
The orchard is on a hill. We entered at the top of the hill and when we found our way down to the bottom we found this sign. The bottom entrance is off the Stillman Mansion Trail. We followed that trail back to the parking lot and encountered a cute little song sparrow, who wasn’t singing, only staring at us apprehensively.
Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood — Touch of manner, hint of mood; And my heart is like a rhyme, With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time. ~ Bliss Carman (A Vagabond Song)
Not only is this our first autumn in self-quarantine, it is my first one without apples since my radiation proctocolitis diagnosis. If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years you know how much I LOVE apples. But they make me ill now. 🙁 In spite of this I wanted to go to Holmberg Orchards to celebrate the equinox anyway. We didn’t pick any apples because Tim doesn’t want to eat stuff I can’t have in front of me, even though I keep telling him he doesn’t have to give things up just because I have to.
Today was a perfect autumn day…. And there I go, slipping out of fall into autumn…. All right, a perfect fall day, too. ~ Hal Borland (Hal Borland’s Book of Days)
But it was fun to pick out a pumpkin and some gourds for our garden and the corn maze was open! We felt it was safe enough as everything was outside and everyone was required to wear masks and keep 6′ away from each other. When we got to the corn maze we were happy to see a sign that said there were no dead ends this year, because of the pandemic. You were to just follow the winding path and keep six feet apart. No getting hopelessly lost. Being there early on a Tuesday morning we were the only ones in the maze. Yay! It took us half an hour to walk through it.
I am inclined to think of late that as much depends on the state of the bowels as of the stars. ~ Henry David Thoreau (Journal, December 12, 1859)
We had grilled marinated swordfish and green beans for dinner out on the balcony. Simple but delicious and that’s how life has got to be these days. 🙂 Keeping my gut soothed is of utmost importance! I’ve had a few setbacks since the midsummer alcohol fiasco but feel that on the whole, things are better. As far as autumn goes, I’m going to try to focus on the leaves changing colors and long walks in the fresh air and not think so much about apples!
Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. ~ W. Earl Hall (Always Look on the Bright Side: Celebrating Each Day to the Fullest)
April Comes like an idiot, babbling, and strewing flowers. ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay (Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay)
Blossoms will run away — Cakes reign but a Day, But Memory like Melody, Is pink eternally — ~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1614)
Spring comes on the World — I sight the Aprils — Hueless to me, until thou come As, till the Bee Blossoms stand negative, Touched to Conditions By a Hum — ~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #999)
A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King, But God be with the Clown — Who ponders this tremendous scene — This whole Experiment of Green — As if it were his own! ~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1356)
Beneath these fruit-tree boughs that shed Their snow-white blossoms on my head, With brightest sunshine round me spread Of spring’s unclouded weather, In this sequestered nook how sweet To sit upon my orchard-seat! And birds and flowers once more to greet, My last year’s friends together. ~ William Wordsworth (The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth)
Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment. ~ Ellis Peters (Spring Meditations)
As we wandered around a corn maze on a perfect autumn day, we came upon an enchanting gourd tunnel.
Gourds are natural born climbers. They seek out anything they can reach to climb closer to the sun. They grow so quickly it can become a daily task to move the vines away from some places you don’t want them to climb on. And once a tendril gets itself wound around a hold nothing short of breaking the tendril off the vine will get the little curlicue to let go. Not even the death of the vine will loosen their grip much. ~ Karen Hundt-Brown (American Gourd Society)
While I looked, my inner self moved; my spirit shook its always-fettered wings half loose; I had a sudden feeling as if I, who never yet truly lived, were at last about to taste life: in that morning my soul grew as fast as Jonah’s gourd. ~ Charlotte Brontë (Villette)
Yet poetry, though the last and finest result, is a natural fruit. As naturally as the oak bears an acorn, and the vine a gourd, man bears a poem, either spoken or done. ~ Henry David Thoreau (A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers)
Warren, a wee faerie of farming, lives in this house with his wife Elvina and children Lily and Eldon. The house was built by his grandfather with stones cleared from the farmland more than 100 years ago. Raised on the farm, Warren and his family continue the age-old traditions of working the land, growing vegetables, and tending the orchard. Elvina bakes pies using the enormous apples that grow in Miss Florence’s orchard. Although great for the delicious vegetables and fruit, the gardens and the orchard are favored painting locations for the artists as well. ~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making
One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of them. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home. ~ Jacqueline Kelly (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate)
Today we went to Holmberg Orchards to pick a few peaches for Tim. There were some nectarines ready to be plucked, too – lucky me!
On the way home Tim spotted a gnarly old tree sporting a few mushrooms!
And after a lot of fuss and bother in the kitchen, a portion of homemade peach cobbler for my honey!
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church – I keep it, staying at Home – With a Bobolink for a Chorister – And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice – I, just wear my Wings – And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church, Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman – And the sermon is never long, So instead of getting to Heaven, at last – I’m going, all along.
~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #236)
Save your sermons for someone that’s afraid to love If you knew what I feel then you couldn’t be so sure I’ll be right here lying in the hands of God If you feel angels in your head Teardrop of joy runs down your face You will rise ~ Dave Matthews ♫ (Lying in the Hands of God) ♫
Adrift! A little boat adrift! And night is coming down! Will no one guide a little boat Unto the nearest town?
So sailors say — on yesterday — Just as the dusk was brown One little boat gave up its strife And gurgled down and down
So angels say — on yesterday — Just as the dawn was red One little boat — o’erspent with gales — Retrimmed its masts — redecked its sails — And shot — exultant on!
~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #6)
Now that I have a Kindle and can read for hours on end without bothering my eyes, I have delved into a huge comprehensive biography of the life of Emily Dickinson, My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. The above poem struck a chord with me.
What I’ve been learning is that Emily grappled with an exhausting spiritual struggle during her childhood and young adulthood. One by one more and more of her family members and friends experienced evangelical conversions each time a revival made its way to her mother’s church in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily was never moved to convert, winding up a solitary holdout, and I suspect it was the hypocrisy and inconsistencies in the dogma as presented by her teachers and ministers that never sat well with her.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church — I keep it, staying at Home — With a Bobolink for a Chorister — And an Orchard, for a Dome — ~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #236)
Emily found spiritual fulfillment and ecstasy in nature. I think it can be found in the creative arts, too, and in healing. I will read on, as I just got to the “Adrift!” poem yesterday, but my feeling is that once she made peace with this realization, she was able re-trim her masts, re-deck her sails, and get on with her true vocation, her poetry, her spiritual expression, her own way of worshiping.
As a child my intuition rebelled against my father’s atheism. The first chance I got I latched on to a religion with just as much oppressive dogmatism as the scientific atheism from which I was trying to escape. But while ‘gurgling down’ in my spiritual struggle, it slowly dawned on me that religion and science are simply different ways of trying to make sense of and explain the world and the universe. The assumptions of both can be terribly flawed and misguided. Organized religion and organized science can both be dogmatic and self-righteous. People who worship science, in my opinion, give up their own experience of the divine to the men in lab coats, our modern-day priests. Ideally there is a balance between Logic and Wonder, however.
When I started reading Emerson and Dickinson I found myself home at last with the ideas of transcendentalists:
The transcendentalists felt the presence of God in their intuition, but they advised that intuition should be guided by reason, and not follow its own course unaided. They discerned that God speaks directly to the self within us. They stressed the value and importance of personal mystical experience over beliefs, doctrines, rituals, and institutions. All their insights derived from their inner life. Their movement was a reaffirmation of the inner way of introversion or interiority. ~ Wayne Teasdale (The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions)
How I admire Emily for holding on to her inner life!