The colors seem especially brilliant this year with all the rain and overcast skies.
More so than any season, in October I feel I’m like going out into a new landscape every morning.
I find that I want to spend as much time as I can outside, even in the rain.
I want to tell you about reaching up
into the apple tree
to pick a wild apple,
when a shower came down from the leaves
and a drop fell on the corner of my right eye
and rolled down my face —
a single tear.
I wished I had brought my Nikon camera. My old Olympus just doesn’t do well in low light. And yet, it was dark in there, in the evening, in the swamp. So, there is something about this photo that feels especially true.
I’m watching her love her fur boy Theo on the edge of the woods, with the late September light on her hands, feeling so grateful for unconditional dog love when so many things in this world are so complicated.
These two cousins have been spending lots of time together!
One moment they might be best buddies and the next moment they might be rolling around, tugging on one another like two little puppies . . . !
This is where we go after a day of school.
Where the woods are still so green.
Where the light is still so September.
They were not interested in this large white radish from our garden.
so carried by him
so given to this world
he reminds me
On the last Thursday of August we took the Manitou Island Transit Ferry across the big lake over to South Manitou Island. In all my years in Leelanau, I had never been to visit this incredibly beautiful place! We hiked to the valley of the ancient white cedar trees and marveled at some of the only “old growth” forest left in Michigan. (In the Midwest?) Why were these trees (many of them well over 500 years old) not cut down in the 1830s and 1840s when the rest of the island was logged to fuel ships? The wind blew in such a way that the massive tree trunks collected sand from the dunes, and the sand dulled the blades of the loggers saws; and so a beautiful grove of white cedars was left to grow and grow. Walking among them truly feels like entering another time. I loved watching the girls and Wallace marvel at the trees after our epic hike through the woods together.
I’m catching up on photos from this glorious month, and I’m going to let Mary Oliver do the talking tonight . . .
In Blackwater Woods
By Mary Oliver
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Do you know this hill
we traveled up together
three seasons ago?
It still holds our lives.
It still holds our footsteps –
and baskets of cherries.
Here we are, on the winding Gousty lanes, exploring with our dear friend Jill, traveling back in time together. There is a timeless quality to the lanes going up and down the hills, connecting old houses. Old houses like old friends talking, remembering, as we do, our shared history.
I love watching my girls as they observe the friendship between Susie and Jill, dear friends who spent years raising their children together. My girls love to hear them bantering stories back and forth – stories from when I was the age of my daughters. I see my girls imagining Grandmommy when she was my age, with little ones like I have now. Imagining me as little like them. Imagining me with Jill’s daughters and the worlds we created and the words we invented. And how those little worlds and those words live on in the stories our mothers tell all these years later. Walking together.