Calendula Lip Balm

We’ve gathered around for our annual Calendula Salve making this afternoon!

This year we’re making lip balm with petals we’ve been soaking in olive oil since the end of the summer. The magic of summer sunshine preserved as golden goodness pulls us all into the kitchen. Each year the girls do more and more on their own. I find myself mostly watching and soaking up the wonder of this messy, rich process.

“I salute you!
There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take Heaven.
No peace lies in the future, which is not hidden in this present instant.
Take Peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy.
Take Joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

— Fra Giovanni, AD 1513 (Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book)

Dear Sir

Rilke’s famous words to his 19-year old protege in 1903:

“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Dark

To Know the Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

“The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry,” Counterpoint, 1998: p. 68.

I find myself revisiting this very Novemberish poem. Going dark.

Cracking the Garlic

214 cloves in the ground. And just in time; it’s supposed to snow 6 inches the day-after-tomorrow!

I couldn’t have done it without the help of my beautiful girls. I believe they are coming to love the rhythm of growing garlic nearly as much as I do. These magical cloves will meditate underground all winter and greet us early in the spring. In nine months time, we will pull them out of the earth and give thanks for their gift of abundance once again.

I have a lot to learn from garlic this year: stillness, quiet, solitude, patience.

Making Space

A meditative morning
cleaning out a garden bed,
getting ready for garlic.

Pulling out the old growth
to make room.
Letting in the light,
just before the rain.

There is so much color here —
so much joy in the seeding and growing,
planting and transplanting.
Watching, waiting, watering.
Flourishing, nourishing.

But there is sorrow, too.
Sorrow in letting it all go,
pulling it out —
even as I know that I must let it go
to make space for what is to come.

Morning Greenhouse

In the greenhouse. Repotting plants and then lingering, soaking up the morning light.

I haven’t spent much time in here since spring.

The tiny black onion seeds we placed into trays filled with soil in March . . . have grown and flourished and now the glowing bulbs are drying in the warmth of the October sun, back here where their little green shoots of life began.

The sun nourished the onion plants all summer; their bulbs will nourish us all winter.

And then into the basement for some serious work with Papa’s tools!