A beautiful day for me so far,
And most beautiful of all were Sgiobalta’s feet.
Her name means “quick, neat, precise, like a dancer’s feet”
And I watched her tritty-trot about a hundred yards straight toward me
never breaking into a lope, never stopping to sniff or saunter,
just a sweet, quick trot exactly like a dancer.
Have you ever watched a Highland dancer – one of those competitions?
Their torsos and arms so steady while feet fly in precision and power, but unrestrained pigtails can fly?
When Sgiob trots like that, it makes her ear-tips dance.
We walked in the middle of the night last night and Saturn was leading the moon to the horizon like a lover.
But Saturn was following Jupiter who had run ahead below the line where I am told that they still are planet, they still move steady in their marches,
But what if I didn’t have to believe those words?
What if I could believe the story in my head that they suddenly twirl and dance to the music of the spheres and spinning spun the arms and legs out of the center
— because centrifugal force —
and dancing ribbons and balls and the gods, once they have set, are wild expressions of power
and then, because they are deep expressions of place in the Cosmos, they return from that dance at the moment needed to define Time and keep us on our course.
The stars are gone.
It’s weirdly warm and muggy out today, and the stars are gone.
I could use one part of my brain and know that a good rainstorm is coming, but that’s not what I did this morning,
I looked up and felt that the stars were gone, the stars who know me and walk with me and make Time spin, the stars were gone.
Instead, in the sky were layers and layers of deep grey and light grey and they formed a sinuous, hornèd-headed shape.
The dragon who ate the stars.
There is an enormous Monarch butterfly on my arm and I am typing very quietly with one hand.
He is the same size as all other Monarch butterflies, I am sure, but he is right here on my arm, which makes him huge.
I am commenting on papers and he is testing the breeze.
It’s just fine if things take a little longer.
He said when he was scared.
Small Dog Max saw a monster this morning, a four-year-old, running, toy-wielding monster,
and he did very, very well.
He stuck close to Mamaidh,
And he said that he was scared
With his woof and his grrr.
And everyone respected what he said,
and no one made him panic.
He said that he was scared, and everyone respected what he said.
I’m just going to keep letting that sink in.
The dogs startled a barn owl this morning
quite close to me.
His startled cry sounded manufactured to my ears, as though
they had set off an alarm,
and I imagined that our seldom-appearing, car-camping neighbor had been disturbed and I was already forming an apology – so lengthy and strident was the first wailing note.
But then it turned to an owl sound, a classic Hu-Huuuu! which I assume is a barn owl because I know it is not a barred owl (who cares so much that someone cooks for me), and I imagine that screech owls do not say Hu-Huuu and that our sometime snowy visitors from far to the north do not say a single thing, except to whisper stories of the aurora to their children.
The smell of fresh cut grass,
The smell everywhere of fresh cut grass,
Held and multiplied by the fog,
The smell everywhere that the fog can reach, which is the whole visible world,
Is the smell of my loved one avoiding the patches of Queen Anne’s lace
because she knows they bring me joy.
We went further today, down the public road that is fine for hiking or snowmobiles or logging with a team and sleigh.
How lovely — I was simply following the dogs and watching them bounce and calling them back from the neighbor’s long drive into deep woods — when I looked up and was somewhere I did not recognize.
It was delicious. Have I been here before? Perhaps on another walk in another year, but this particular open space on my right with this amount of morning light at this angle, I definitely did not recognize.
I was both in a new place and close to home;
I was both alone in the woods and surrounded by excited walking companions.
Yesterday I hit a rough patch. I hit a culture clash that I’m still reeling from.
Alors. Onward. I know I can’t process the hard stuff without motion.
I absolutely cannot sit still to think.
At first glance, our road, our class five dirt road, ends in a cul-de-sac with two gravel and dirt driveways spoking off from it into the woods.
In truth, our road does not end, it merely transforms into a class six road which quietly leads off between those ways.
Class six means, “If you have a team of horses and a logging sledge, you’re probably fine.”
It does not mean, for example, “It would be a great idea to try to get through with your four wheel drive vehicle.”
I have promised myself the pleasure of walking this part of the road for over twenty years, but there’s something that holds me back. I’ve been down a couple of times, maybe for a hundred yards, but always an excuse comes to me – too many swamp bugs as the way leads down, down to a very wetland.
I made it down those first hundred yards this morning.
What holds me back?
Leaves are like carillon bells,
played by healing summer rain, a wild and joyful rhythm on thousands and thousands of tiny green bells.
Bells, leaves, yes.
And blades of grass.
There are brown spots of grass, one where a structure overshadowed it for too long, and two, parched and crackling, whose origins I cannot figure out. What I know is that the hungry roots call to the rain as the overshadowed blades call to the sun on other days.
If this were a metaphor, I might have insight about what the rain is and how to heal the desert-dry spots.
But it’s not. I am simply standing in the rain, face upturned.
I believe in rain. It seems like a nice thing to believe in.
My steps were steadier today.
Very early in the morning, or maybe all the time, I have been noticing that I lose my balance when I’m walking, climbing, standing up. I have been pretending not to notice, and it has motivated me to walk more regularly, write more regularly, eat more mindfully.
But a chapter of my life is closing today (fear not, I’m the kind of gal who lives in several chapters at once, and the others are in various states of plot development) and this morning I walked more steadily, more rapidly.
I think I wasn’t losing my balance, but rather balancing too much.
The sky is huge this morning, boundless, endless, and I envy my fellow-travelers on the sea who have one hundred eighty one degrees of sky.
It’s huge and color-changing from the most-perfectly-pale-nothing to the most-perfectly-pale-rose, then deepening but moving to mauve and then through to blue-white.
It’s August and the sky is perfect.
It’s August and three green-yellow leaves fell in my path.
Leaves fell in my path and I am afraid. I am afraid that I don’t have it in me to get through another loss-of-light. I am afraid that I don’t have it in me to navigate the current swamp.
For my opinion on hyphenated words, especially colors, see my academic work…
But it’s a perfect summer day and I want to be happy in it. I feel guilty about being happy and wanting to be happy when there’s a swamp to feel badly about.
I’m frankly not going to starve a wolf just because he’s afraid. I just hope that Love Wolf can heal him.
I apologize. I had meant to share the beauty of the sky and stop there. Poetry demands truth.
We walked in near darkness, but the air was heavy and rich with humidity, it clung to me.
I have no idea if the dogs perceived it, they certainly cut through it like seals and bounced and ate flowers. Max likes to nibble on grass and flowers as he goes, I call it his salad.
Very refined tastes, has Max.
Only the most delicious of greens for him. It’s not just any grass but the grass that grows through the gaps in the step into the house.