I am sorry for the backlog and post spam on various feeds – but since we have no internet, sometimes I have to save up posts as I go.
The huge horrible task of taking our very overgrown and wild yard down to bare earth and creating a fire-safe zone around the cabin is done. The last of the bags of detritus went off to the slash pile this morning. Oh there’s a spot here or there, I suppose, but for the most part we are ready to settle into some kind of routine maintenance. We cleaned up the pile of boxes that we’d been using to hold kindling and firestarting material, and now I’m pretty happy with how the front of the house is looking.
Of course now that I say that, I think, “Oh but we have to put in pavers by the front walk and I wanted to lay down pea gravel on the parking berm and… and… and…” and the Captain looks at me dubiously, knowing that the list of things that start with, “Honey Please Help Me Do This…” is growing. And not that I blame him, you know. There is reading to be doing. Always. Pea gravel and pavers can butt into book time if you let them. The trick is not to let them.
We are in the process of demoing our back deck, which was rotten and squishy. Fortunately we have someone doing that for us or we’d never have a chance to pick up a book or a pen or a pair of pliers. A little disconcerting to look out the back door and see an 8 foot drop. The cats keep running over and meowing anxiously at the window. “Hey guys? Uh. I hate to tell you this but, someone stole our deck.” Like the little plastic castle, it seems to be a surprise every time.
I have big plans for spring. New bird feeders and some bird baths, a stone path to the creek, and perhaps a little bridge up the daffodil hill where the fire pit lives. I am slowly creating what amounts to bird nirvana in our yard. I’ve been putting feeders out around the property to lure them in. We are getting this mob of birds coming ’round now. Mostly finches – specifically, Oregon Juncos. As the world spreads in bird-land, the finch mob is getting bigger and bigger every day and we’re beginning to see other birds like red breasted nuthatches, black capped chickadees, grackles, crows, and of course, the trio of cheeky stellar jays that has been visiting ever since we moved in.
My birds are a source of unending delight. I will miss them when they move south for the worst of the winter.
A red shouldered hawk moved in the other day. Every jay in the neighborhood came out and shrieked at him for a solid hour, counting coup by swooping in behind him and snatching at his feathers. Such sound and fury! Signifying nothing, as it turned out. The hawk flipped his wings feathers a few times and ignored them, flying away when he was good and ready and not a moment before. I’m not sure where he has gone, but I am pretty sure he’ll be back, now that he knows where all the smaller birds and rodents are hanging out.
The pace here is slower and quieter, but richer somehow.
There is more room for thinking and less noise to keep you from it. I feel like we are just now starting to get into tune with it and soon winter will be here just when I am starting to adjust to autumn. I have to admit that as the days get darker, I have been struggling with feelings of depression and sadness. What’s that line from the Simon and Garfunkle song? Hello darkness my old friend. Yes, it’s like that. After so many years of a mostly even keel, I am reminded that oh yes, depression is something I have to manage. Dammit. It makes me angry and it makes it hard to move some days. I don’t want to be reduced to pulling the blackout curtains shut and going back to bed in the middle of the afternoon, but I’ve had more than one or two days where that was the best I could do for myself. Still, I know the ways to work with this, even if my mental muscles are unused to a hard workout, and I will light whatever candles against the darkness that I can.
I didn’t think I’d miss LA but I do. It’s hard to be so far away from the Youngest, and I am missing our community of friends and my community of artists. I have yet to tap into that community here and I feel a bit adrift, even more cut off because the daily connection that comes with internet is sorely lacking. I’m trying to reframe what living with that means up here. Realizing just how many things I left behind me when I left Los Angeles for these mountains and pine trees. Mourning, adjustment, renewal… challenges present themselves endlessly. I just haven’t felt challenged by this particular issue in a while, and I guess I’d been lulled into a false sense of security about it. Depression gone! Hahaha! Freedom! Well no. Endless sunlight and stable medication, more like.
One of the things I missed when I moved to LA was the sense of inward time that comes with winter, with cold and with grey skies. Crone time, I used to call it. At some point I stopped missing it and forgot that it was once an important part of the rhythm of my year. So here is an opportunity to renew my acquaintance with it all over again. I wonder what lessons it will hold? What is calling to grow bigger and better and deeper. I’m grateful for the room up here on the mountain to just live with it all for a bit and see where it takes me.
As the year gets darker, I am grateful for the act of building the morning fire, of stacking the firewood, raking the yard, of taking care of my cats, of washing vegetables from our CSA each week and cooking dinner with the Captain… that rhythm is kind of like a heartbeat in the shadows and it helps me maintain. The cats do their part, making sure I am laughing.
Living is different here. I like it. The other day was cold, so I put on my warm coat when I went out. I felt so grateful to have it, so grateful for the simple feeling of being warm. At some point I just started taking things like that for granted. There is a lot of gratitude. Not the deliberate practice of coming up with a list each day, just the sense of thankfulness that comes because you are genuinely glad that something is real or true or exists in your world. Small things, big things, things you can’t touch… I swim in it daily.
Darkness, messy yard, and all.