August 28

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.

August 27

Mist rises, fog rolls in,

That is the theoretical difference – if I can see it going up, then I call it mist.

Shroud, cloud, veil, boundary

and as I walk toward it, it retreats. There’s probably a life lesson there.

This morning we can see the mist rising from the swampy places. The trees on my side of the beaver bog are trees, the trees on the other side are giant, ancient figures of legend hovering on the edge of perceptibility. They have come to us from The Heroic Place – just for a few minutes, just to judge for themselves.

mene, mene, tekel, upharsin

August 26 – new term, new pens!

New term? It used to be after labor day, but of course, it used to go until almost the solstice. Better to be done in early June, I think.

I look forward so much to the new school year and then so much to folding it up and putting it away.

It’s not about new outfits, new outfits are about it –

Who doesn’t want a fresh start?

And is that where I’m going? Toward a fresh start? I am in desperate need of one, my errors have accumulated like drifting snow, but not the beautiful kind of snow, the kind that it is after two weeks and the drift is still there and the air is stale and I’ll never get out and it’s a toss up whether I’ll starve or suffocate. I have been foolish, foolish, foolish and the price might be more than I can pay.

But if there were a fresh start.

If there were new students meeting me when they log in today… If there were a fresh chance to show my true face.

True face.

My neighbor has been working late, late shifts for over 30 years to save lives and start babies on their new lives and to start mothers on their new lives. Wonderful woman. Her driveway glows a little, because she drives home in pitch darkness – if it is not dawn yet – and her angels want her to get home safely.

Now, to me, that means that her angels helped Edison find the gumption to do the light bulb thing and helped the makers of tiny solar chargers to keep going until they did the tiny solar charger thing. But OK.

I don’t demand that angels do linear time.

Why angels? She believes in angels, and if anyone gets to have angels making sure she gets home safely when she’s exhausted, it’s my neighbor. True face. There’s nothing hiding her light.

August 23d, a prime number

The neighbors have new dog, Small Dog Coop, and he and Small Dog Max circled one another very sniffingly.

I have been circling and sniffing even when there was no other dog there. I noticed myself.

I noticed myself,

and wow! was that powerful.

I am somehow spread across decades – and somehow not all of those decades are mine, some of those decades are Mother’s and my kids’ and even more removed and the Amazon is burning here and now and I cannot save it.

I can’t gather myself into one moment, let alone do anything effective in it.

No, correction. I have not gathered myself into one moment.

Probably I can.

And then probably I can do, just fine.

But there’s a gathering of pieces which are stuck out there.

So! I’ll gather!

I can identify at least two stories that are just fine without me, so I will try to let go of them. Old glass and new sound remind me of them, so it’s my job to notice that I’ve been reminded and to remember that I choose to let go of those stories.

How very strange to let go of stories.

But if stories come in on the aether looking for a voice to tell them, I must be able to release some to go on their way.

Go, Story, fly free on clean air. Go, Other Story, waft in gentle breezes.

I will remember you, but no longer entangle myself with you.


August 22, 2019

I think that simply accumulating years helps.

Not that I’m resilient or wise or patient but that I’ve got it over that young hind I used to be.

Knowledge sticks like burrs…

Sorry. I was incorrect. I am informed that knowledge sticks like dog hair.

Knowledge sticks like dog hair and heuristic solutions build up and a tolerance for the Good Enough Solution settles comfortably into place.

No continuation of the dog hair motif? I ask.

Just wait, they say. Just wait.

It was my grandmother who frustratingly told my mother who frustratingly told me: Patience is learned.

August 21, 2019

Yesterday was my house’s birthday.

Now, she’s always becoming, our Taigh Connlaich, House of Baled Straw.

She’s always doing, becoming, changing, hoping for a stove, sub-letting to a snake, redecorating with chives, getting rid of the old, reflecting my mental state (which is, to be fair, always changing, too).

But yesterday was her birthday. The anniversary of when the People came to move in.

There was no back door that night and for several after, but those are mere fripperies, doors. What is important is the People sleeping inside.

That’s how she counts it, so that’s how I do, too.

Happy birthday, Taigh Connlaich.

How sad you seem without children.

Me, too.

August 19th

A brief but torrential downpour pulled my senses out of sleepiness into full alert, the highway and its edges suddenly stolen away. Nothing but thick, dense, foggy rain was visible, audible, tactible – I couldn’t even feel the road.

I dreamed of it, but in my dreams was already safe at home and could go out and dance. In my dreams, the packed bags were not spread out on the lawn.

I dreams I was safe at home with no responsibilities but to dance with the rain.

So I did.

It was magnificent.

It has taken me quite a while to get oriented this morning…

August 17

So much going on inside my head – but not in the meadow.

In the meadow there are thick air and thick grasses and some brambles

and a bumper crop of Queen Anne’s lace.

I have in the last day become a bundle of worries and self-recrimination,

but what I want to become is a meadow.

I want to be a meadow, cricket-singing, blackbird-singing, breeze-on-grass-singing.

I want to be a meadow with small blackberries and day’s-eyes and black-eyed Susans and goldenrod.

I want to be a meadow – the meadow isn’t even remotely waiting. It just is.

To the meadow, I am a fast-moving visit.

To the forest, the meadow is a gap that grows and will close again soon.

To the valley, the forest is a good companion, but a little hasty.

To myself, I am…. and I waited for an insight. I waited for meaning and good thoughts. They didn’t come. To myself, I am a burden right now. A tired, sleepless burden.

And then the magic came.

To the dogs, I am thrower-of-frisbees and cuddler. Those are good things to be.

August 16

I have not slept well, but I’m not tired. Yet. I will be.

A great cleansing is happening in the house, in the mind, in the heart. I spoke yesterday with my fear.

I’m afraid I will not be missed – yet, if I do my job right… I will not be missed.

I’m afraid I will not carry my share, that I’m older and less strong (though, let’s be clear, much sharper of wit) than I once was.

We cleared out some old pieces of furniture yesterday and managed to get the drawers open without damaging the whole. I found the pressed, dried white gardenia that Dad gave Mother to wear on their wedding day.

Well, gosh.

August 15th

I did not dream of a kid dreaming of the Knights of the Round Table,

But let’s daydream that I did for the sake of the story in my head.

Because, after all, he was daydreaming, not sleep-dreaming, because his sleep dreams are either nonsensical or unremembered, which is all to the good.

And he was daydreaming when the accident happened.

In his unconsciousness, then, he was Sir Bedivere, strong and true. Not an awful place to be when the alternative is a hospital room with fluids draining and others pumping in and no darkness ever.

August 14

A risk, a hope, a caught-only-partway-prepared sort of plan.

I love planning,

but perhaps a little too much.

I must remember that planning is everything – but the plan is nothing.

Dance on waves, see my path before me then surf there.

There is a fundamental difference between ‘let’s see where we wind up’ and ‘let’s aim thataway’. I can’t grab the wheel and I don’t want to manipulate the steerer.

And so, we share the wheel and the duties of navigation – doing them so very differently from one another. How many years will this one take? Sharing? My whole life? Oy.

Better pack along a lantern, then, and some hardtack.

Has anyone, ever, in the history of sea travel, liked hardtack? Didn’t think so. Ah. That explains the rum.

Me, I’ll stick to lemons and limes and kumquats and oranges and blueberries and strawberries and raspberries and blackberries and black raspberries and goldberries.

I had a notion to knit a tunic in honor of Goldberry once. I have very special stitch markers to help me. Still waiting. I think I get to have my own celebration and my own ceremonies. I think that I will think about making that tunic again.

I think that I will think? Well, one can only hope.

August Thirteenth

It’s been a while since a sailing star flirted with me,

but tonight the Perseids outdid one another.

They’re not falling, they’re swinging on rigging and leaping from poop deck to gunwhale and flashing their cutlasses and swashing and buckling.

The Perseids are absolute showoffs, and every one of them wants to be Errol Flynn.

Some are sweet, some a quite edgy,

But some, yes, some are heroes.

I see you, rouguish knight. My pen is ready.