September 10th

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.

September 9

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.

September 5th

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.

September 3d

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?

September 2

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.

August Thirty First

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.

August Thirtieth

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.

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.

Go.

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.