A brush of a small, warm and furry body against my leg in the cold afternoon ~ come,
he says, come to the green wood and remember. So we step gently onto the mossy
path, pausing often more than we walk, feeling and sensing, more in body than
thought. I need this, and I wonder what it is for him. Sitting on the log bench, I
watch him settle onto the stone under the small hemlock, our usual spots. We sit in silence, two beings who have been together for fifteen years, he and I, cat and
person. The way we are in silence together is a treasured meeting of souls.
In the forest, we have entered another realm, but do not mistake it only for a
gentle place of peace and silence, for you'll have missed its power. We find our
freedom here, the raw beauty of a place mostly left alone by humans. We are
sharply aware of each sound and movement - and he of each smell - it would be
risky not to be. It is quiet, but not silent, and the peace I feel comes from
touching the edge of wildness, not from escaping. I am a visitor, and most of
what lives here has slowly slipped into the shadows, and watches. Soft wind blows
through high hemlock boughs, a distant raven calls, a gathering of chickadees
flits about nearby.
In the more cultivated clearing, an early mornings frost edges the thyme like a
coating of sugar. I wander to see simple forms transformed and dipped in golden
December seems filtered through a veil of white light by afternoon. Even a
bright blue sky feels cold against the bare branching of the oak. From the front
steps of the house, I glimpse the little cottage through the trees.
I walk to the studio, and watch as the light fades behind the snow-dusted trees.
Settled into the forest now, the cottage seems sure of itself, awaiting the final
details and finding its form. I imagine the souls of all the trees that were taken,
coming together to find one song.
On a very cold evening, I ventured down the hill to sing carols and go for a wagon
ride. As we stood awaiting our ride, I couldn't help but be inspired by the steaming
horses and flickering lights.
Something in the image below looks to me like a still from an old movie. I imagined
a cobbled street in England or a desolate outpost in the American west, tumbleweeds
blowing down the street and guns hanging from holsters.
Steam rising from horse silhouettes and bright spotlights to guide the wagon
resulted in an image that might be mistaken for a sunset over a mountain ridge.
I found myself writing to you in my head the last two weeks, awaiting the moment
when life slowed enough to actually post something. Alas, what came in the moment
is nothing like what I imagined. While raking leaves and cutting plant stalks I thought
to tell you of the scent of chocolate mint and how much I love it, and to share with
you the sound of dry baptisia pods - black and empty - clacking in the wind, and to
tell you of awaking in the night to listen to the coyotes singing somewhere close by in
in the dark and creaking forest.