Saturday, October 10, 2015

Are you seeing this?

It was one of these autumn weekends when the woods are bright with color. Peak season they call it. If I thought the day was nice, it was nothing compared to what came out as the sun approached its set time. The yellows deepened into golds dusky and glossy. The reds were even richer with the veins full of green or gold, contrasting the color more and more with each variation. The browns were dense and leathery.

This color is ridiculous.

As I get closer to the ground I see things that might get overlooked in all this autumn glory.

I drink hot herbal tea and try to resist the urge to pick up each and every perfect leaf. I resist the urgency to absorb the season around me. It seems to be moving fast through the change. Once it is done winter will be here and I don't want to think about that. Yet.

I want to but I haven't been able to completely relax on the bench. Every time I look at it I think about the cushy quilt like thing I want to make for the seat. Sure the bench is already getting its cozy on but I sit across the fire pit from it and consider its character and my own. I learned a lot from that project and I learned a lot about myself. I've learned that I can lean far over to being a perfectionist and I also can let it go. These days there isn't so much angst in the settling for "good enough". Because the bench itself is sheer perfection sitting in its woodland setting.

I try really hard to slow down, resist the tugging change of the season. Even as I'm painfully aware of all that is ending. The farmers market will be closing and the little one won't be seeing her little Mennonite friend over the cold winter and I won't be seeing her mother who has inspired me with her lap quilts and handmade dresses. The daytime temps will drop to the point of preventing us from going out on the river. The experience of sharing summer with a five-year-old girl has come and gone.

As I start to slow it down I realize somehow our woodland retreat has become so much more than a quick getaway from the city. Through our child we are interacting so much more with the locals in the region: the farmers, the bee keepers, the furniture makers, the Hmong, the Mennonite, the white family who has a part-Native grandchild in their midst, the owner of the Mexican restaurant in town, the tough old Wisconsin women that run all the restaurant-bars that are nestled off to the side of long stretches of wood-lined roads. There is a surprising amount of diversity in town. We add to that and it makes me feel like I belong. I have a relationship with this land, the local people, the wandering animals and birds. I feel more present and in those moments the experience becomes so much more intense. I experience each moment in a way that makes up for not being able to muster all those perfect autumn leaves drifting and falling to the ground.

I am changing as much as my growing daughter. I'm changing rapidly with the speed of the season. I feel like my only satisfying response is to slow everything else down. Slow enough to absorb the vibration of all the changes. I don't know what it all means right now but I think that's the right path for me.

I do think I need another project though. Soon.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Autumn begins

Holy moly! A ton of geese, fifty at least, just flew over our heads. We could hear them coming for a distance. Our excitement built as their raucous honks grew louder. Then a V formation burst over the tree up above. The Vs kept coming and coming. We tracked them through the clearing in the trees. It was the most exciting start to Autumn!

Our early Autumn activities are much the same as the ones in summer but by late afternoon the sweatshirts and wool socks and fleece hoodies are going on. Which will be followed by hats and fingerless gloves.

Last weekend we had fall break allowing for four full days out in the woods, some canoeing and a night out for pizza. 

I spent late nights working on my bench. Finally got the last coat of stain this morning. The first went on just before midnight. It was cold, somewhat frosty but I kept the fire stoked high and the radio on. I would choose to lose sleep over projects like this anytime.

Turned out nice, right?

I had a lot of learning to do. I had planned on a paint but ended up with a teak stain which doesn't cover my mistakes, the few that there were. Yet I'm pleased and feel a huge sense of accomplishment! This bench is wide and inviting. I think it is perfect for looking at the stars with a comfy cushion below and snuggled in a blanket. I want to make a couple more and scatter them throughout the woods. Even one for the city. 

The weather has turned cold with temps dropping into the thirties at night. Our furnace is on. I hadn't expected this sudden change despite the fact that it is October. 

The geese were arriving at all hours, the late group arrived right about midnight when I was making my way to bed. The days have been full and the nights are cool. The corn is yellow and dry. Throughout this change there is also a sense of waiting. Yet change is here which makes me want to get busier. There will be plenty of time to rest when winter arrives. Now is the time to enjoy autumn. 

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