Friday, August 28, 2015

Space: the final outing

On the last day of summer vacation, the day before the start of kindergarten, the little Lotus Bud and I had one last outing. We decided to head to the Science Museum of Minnesota to check out the Space Exhibit.

I had just finished reading the Martian so the part about Mars were particularly fascinating to me. She had been watching the video that was made by Col. Chris Hadfield so she recognized the ISS immediately. This was something we could share. We got to explore the exhibit together and it was a blast!

It was one of those things where I realize right at the last minute that we should have been coming here all along. I've had a few of those moments now that this five-year journey to kindergarten has ended. There is definitely a bright moon-sized light at the end of this journey but just like on the moon, there are few dark spots thinking about all those things we could have been doing. Regardless, I did get us membership to the museum so there will certainly be days ahead of us for more exploration. Of the science museum. Of this beautiful state. Of the world. Of the Universe.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Someone asked me how I can know that just thinking it is possible will make a dream come true, that my thoughts can become things. I want to believe that my dreams and aspirations are not for not. That the thought can find itself into existence and reach a grand scale. Isn't that the very essence of acorns? If Nature can wield this magic, why can't I?

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Still Summer

The wind is coming in from the north. Which means the smoke from the fire pit blows into our faces. But it is a high wind so we only occasionally have to duck our heads. I light a stick of incense. It's not sandalwood or patchouli, or even cedar. It is Jamaican coconut. I like watching the thin incense smoke swirling into the wood smoke. It allows me to see the direction of the wind. The winds of change.

There is no mistaking that the season is beginning Its change. At sunset there was a rather large group of geese that flew overhead the Airstream on their way to the pond located to the northwest of our property. They like to gather at this pond. Autumn nights are full of their raucous honks.

There is no large gather right now but there is no doubt that autumn is on the way. I'm trying not to mind. I have a recently finished a knit sweater to wear. It's the first one knit just for myself. I like the cooler weather and the bright colors on all the leaves. 

Yet it still feel bittersweet. Because truly it has been a glorious, exquisite summer. The weather was not too hot but real hot on the best days, days spent out on the Flambeau river. The skies have been clear and full of constellations. The bugs have been mild. The rain has been perfectly timed for my lifestyle. I can't help but feel a little bit of shock. Because when you experience such intense happiness you think, you feel deep down in your core that it will last forever.

It occurs to me that it could last forever but in different forms, as long as I let the happiness ensue and thread its way through the different parts of my life. 

Right now I sit next to a fire, the heat that makes the setting perfect for my new sweater on this cool evening. We heat up the chicken wings I picked up in the city. And in the middle of that I get a flash of the future. I imagine sitting in front of this same fire pit only clad in several warm layers and completely surrounded with mounds of snow. If I do this now, this weird look at winter, weird because I'm still squarely at the end of summer, I believe winter will be a bit more tolerable, autumn will be that much more brilliant. I allow myself just a few minutes of this bravery in the face of an upper Midwest winter. Just a few moments and then I'm done.

Because of course it is still summer. 

We walk out to the road even though it is a windy cloudy night; there is still one or two bright stars to be found. Could be planets, I don't know and I'm reluctant to go back for a device that could identify. I don't need that clarification right now. Because the wind provides enough sound to keep my attention. It sounds like the sea's tide is coming in. That is above me. When I look below to my feet I see what must be male fireflies. There seems to be no other explanation for the three points of light that I see in the grass at the edges of the road. Lone males keeping up with their beacons of light. 

There are still fireflies on the ground and in the grasses. I associate fireflies with my birth month, June. So you see, it is still summer.

The day has been breezy because the wind continues to gust. The leaves crashing like waves against each other. The trunks are swaying and keep on moving to their own momentum. After a leisurely trip to the county farmers market, we opted to stay close to the Airstream, braving the trees over the choppy, white-capped waves of the reservoir on the Flambeau River.

This girl has the wonderful ability to make everything shine with beauty around her. She has made friends with a little Mennonite girl the same magical age of five. The two of them ran around the market, in between the trucks and the trailers and the tables. They sat for awhile on a bench under the pavilion checking each other out and that image was the most beautiful spirit of summer I've ever seen. In a way they have grown together sharing the Wisconsin harvest season. We've been coming to this market for over twelve years and she makes the inroads into the community in one morning. Quite at few of women at the market stop for a few moments to consider the carefree but fleeting joy of being a girl. Of making friends. Of sharing the pure sun filled days of summer.

This girl swells my heart to the point of breaking, time and time again, so many moments of intense love. She comes running down the path through the woods clutching a few precious blackberries. She runs with such excitement until she trips and falls on her bum. After long moments and lots of tears we cheer and celebrate that she managed to keep the berries unsmashed. And she brushes off her bum and gets up from the ground to takes off at a run to wash her berries. She falls again only this time smashing those cherished berries which sets her off on a crying jay over the loss. Cradled in my lap I can't help but note that the scraped and dirtied knees don't factor a bit in the wake of the berry loss. My heart. It wants to break. Instead it shudders a bit with the swell of emotions.

She and I are on a mission to litter fairy houses throughout the property. They are not quite houses yet. I like to think of them as fairy resorts. It is definitely a work in progress.

In through the evening the wind ensues. Hmmmmm. I wonder if there is a lesson in that for me?

Then the thunder starts. I've been watching a severe storm make its way through the city and now it is reaching onto western Wisconsin. I'm afraid we are on the edge of the storm. But for a couple hours around sunset the rumbling thunder brought about a sense of urgency, kicking our end of weekend cleanup to a slight frenzy, expecting the raindrops to begin. But now at 9:30 I get to relax knowing that everything is stowed away making our departure from the woods tomorrow that much easier. But still I had taken all the split logs back the fire rack, not wanting all my chopping work to get doused. And now I find myself going back to stoke up the fire because the rain is still not here.

I can sit and feel the rhythm of the wind in the trees. At times it feels like the pulse of the earth. And yes the north wind will bring the chill of Autumn but it will could never blow away all the memories of summer.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August Moments

Another great storm to experience is the one where you see all the lightening and hear much of the thunder but the severity of the downpour stays to the north. So there is the threat but also the beauty of the woods lit up and the skies dark and rumbling. But then the sky darkens completely and the wind picks up. There's been a good hour of the storm show and now there might be rain coming on. Yah!

I feel bold and brave as I take bites of nachos while the sky behind the trees lights up like an X-ray. I gaze up at the sky, my shoulders shiver a bit as the thunder cracks then carries outward in all directions.

No rain yet. I begin to doubt that the storm will drop to the south, drop downwards to our little woods.

Yet there is no doubt that I want rain. I always long for rain when I'm sleeping. I like getting woken to the sound of rain tapping on the curved roof of the airstream above me. 

The rain starts softly, tiny droplets in the tops of the trees, tapping down on the summer canopy above. The thunder starts to sound close as I feel the first few drops on my hair. 

Awake awhile.
It does not have to be forever.
Right now.  One step upon the Sky's soft skirt would be enough.
Awake awhile.  
Just one True moment of Love will last for days.
Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics for knowing Him,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
Far, so far from Summer's Divine Gold.
Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.
Say, “Love, give me back my wings.
Lift me, lift me nearer.”
Say to the sun and moon, say to our dear Friend,
I will take you up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful Dance You promised!”
- Hafiz

What an amazing mushroom. It might be an inky cap but I prefer to call it daisy fungi. Seriously! Isn't this an incredible aspect of the woods? So many fungi and mushrooms, in so many varieties. In all the time I've spent in the woods, I've never seen anything like this.

The moments are so dramatic when walking out to the road on a clear night. The stars shine like they usually do but out here it is a brilliant, twinkling cosmic show. The trees part to reveal this vast array. I can't figure out how to explain it without diminishing the experience.

The feel is immense and a bit oppressive at the same time. Maybe it is crush of the stellar view. My heart always jumps a bit when I finally reach the clearing.

Last weekend I saw two shooting stars. The golden contrails seem to go on for ever across the sky. I didn't realize it then but that had to be the beginning of the Perseid meteor shower. We read that the 2015 Perseid Showers were the best in a long time, Dave quickly reminded me that it was best since the last time we saw them and he was right because the last time was pretty spectacular. The last time I experienced that star show it was on a Lake Superior ferry, riding from Madeline Island to the mainland simply to see the meteors. But that was sometime at the beginning of the century.

And this is now and I'm here now in the woods on a clear windless night, sitting next to a wood fire cozyed up in my recently finished knit sweater. Acorns are falling from the tops of the oak trees and man are they loud. Also there is a bird coming around after dark and because of the dark this bird remains unidentified. I voice welcomes and ask it to show herself but she is both body shy and loud at the same time.

Love, you have created us
with thirsty hearts
and bound us fast
to the Source of Splendor.
For you, my thorns have blossomed.
my atoms exploded into suns!

- Rumi

No one was friendly with her when we stopped at the shallow sandy spot to swim. No one was rude but also no one played. Sometimes I think it's me and it breaks my heart into a million little pieces. The kids and parents are usually wary of my presence in this small Wisconsin town. Even the childless ones usually only talk to D. That's OK. We can take our time getting to know each other. I was hoping that 10+ years on the river would make me a familiar face. Yet I also know that we usually don't see the same people each time we stop at the swimming spot.

I don't talk about this much because I don't fully understand it. This last paragraph sat in a draft for half the month. Today was different, still no little kids for her to play but the people around us were friendly. I realize that it must be hard to get in with a group of kids that all know each other. Especially if it is a large group.

My intention to learn the constellations continues. Cassiopeia I know. The W is distinctive. Andromeda was new and what we thought might have been Orion coming up was in fact Capricornus which happens to be D's astrological sign. To the left is Aquarius for the little one. Pieces was wild but I'm not sure I'll find that one again. The Big D finally saw a shooting star. I'm so glad he did because I was starting to feel bad that I couldn't share this with Him.

Goldenrod is the gateway to autumn. On the river we saw a flock of geese that came out of nowhere. They seemed very organized. This morning I was staring out the window at some bright colors. It took a few minutes but realization hit me like a jolt. What I was seeing is sumac flashing her Fall colors. The sumac are usually the brightest. August seems bittersweet. Summer has been full of golden days and clear nights. We've done a lot this summer. It felt full but not too hurried.
Everything is preparing for a big change. Nature is keeping with our own family timeline. The kid starts kindergarten this Thursday. THIS THURSDAY! I'm trying to prepare for a new life that I'm affectionately calling AKS (after kindergarten starts). I keep thinking I'll seek my exit strategy from board service and start looking for a job. But then I realize finding a job is just an excuse to avoid my writing projects which deep down in my  heart is what I want to do. 
I am back at a point in life where life is full of possibilities and I'm going to try with all my might to not limit myself and do all the things that strike my interest. I try to remind myself daily that I have created a life where all the resources are at my fingertips and ready for the taking. There is no doubt that I benefit from the tremendous privilege of relying on Dave's financial support. Who know what happens from here? That's part of the excitement I think. I just hope I have the courage to actually pursue my dreams which, funny enough, feels rather frightening for me. More frightening than getting up for some Monday morning 8am public speaking which I had to do. So when I say it like that, I question where my emotions are coming from because there was a time when public speaking was terrifying.

So many things to consider, so many exciting things to consider.I just need to get through the canopy of my emotions and past that to the blue skies of possibility.

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