The house is quiet. I’m looking back at photos from two years ago, searching for images to accompany an article about garlic, when I come upon photos of the bittersweet vine that grows behind our house.
The red berries — each folded inside a pair of orange wings — are vibrant at this time of year. The vines, climbing at least twenty feet up a tree, are unmistakable against the grays and browns of a soggy November day.
We were outside just this morning, cutting some twisted vines to bring inside.
And now I see that we were outside almost exactly two years ago, also cutting a tangle of vines.
So much change in two years. And so much remains the same.
Still so lovely in her fading colors.
And here are the moments leading up to this photo . . .
We have just set out on a morning walk, and we’re walking up a snow-covered hill, in the woods behind our house. Ellen is complaining about walking in snow pants. “It’s SO HARD to walk in snow pants!” She is right behind me, dragging her feet in big boots. Her mood begins to creep around me like a fog.
Then, suddenly, she calls out in a completely different tone of voice. “I found a nest! A nest and it still has an egg in it!” She is elated.
This little nest. It turns our walk around. It transforms our morning. What is it about a nest? So intricate. So imperfectly perfect. We wonder about the birds who built it and nestled in it. Were there other eggs? Did they hatch? We look up into the trees. We notice pine needles in the nest and wonder if it came from the white pine tree above us?
The nest fits in the palm of Ellen’s hand. The egg is just a bit bigger than her thumbnail. She and Amabel take turns carrying it carefully, all the way home.
All day long, I think about this nest. It seems to call out to me, from its place on the nature shelf, surrounded by petoskey stones, feathers, and chestnuts. I hold it in my hands. It is so light. It is made of such beautifully simple materials. And it is enough. Enough to be a home for new life.
We’re making tiny things with our favorite goldsmith. Maybe Christmas presents for little cousins . . . ? There is some debate about whether or not these delicate foods will be well received by a two-and-a-half year old. Is she too young? Should we wait?
70 degrees yesterday; 30 degrees today.
I’m in the dunes;
she is in an oak tree;
he is creepy crab scooting across the sand;
and Ellen is singing, somewhere close by.
Today I awoke
from a fog —
a fog that had settled around me
while I was immersed in the back and forth
and so did not notice the thick air
clinging to the landscape
of my mind.
by the lake,
taking deep breaths —
perhaps that is what did it,
lifted the fog,
and cleared the air.
Made way for a higher view.
It’s a good thing that Wallace has Solomon to show him around the backyard sand pit.
I’m at the window, watching these two come up the driveway. Ten years apart and so much love between them. Wallace has blessed us all with his baby goodness, but he has given his sisters an especially wonderful gift. It’s hard to put this gift into words — the tremendous well of joy and confidence that they have discovered over the past year. It’s not that they were unhappy children before he was born, and it’s not that we haven’t had our ups and downs (those newborn months were hard!!!), but now we have another layer of love in our family — an abundance of life that daily fills me full to bursting.
Wallace and Selah are two are just six weeks apart. My friend Yarrow and I have been taking photos of them together every month or two for the past year. Although they’ve definitely been aware of one another for a while, yesterday was the first time that these new little one-year-olds consistently followed each other around and really appeared to be having mini conversations. It was absolutely adorable.