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.
It’s in your dreams, you know.
This lilac love.
The girls and I were talking about what we love about living at Gousty and what we love about living on our hill in Suttons Bay. We miss our gardens in Suttons Bay, and we miss our light-filled rooms on the hill. We like being able to hop on our bikes and ride down to Little Bees. And we miss our dear neighbors.
But it doesn’t take much explanation to get to the heart of our love for Gousty. Every time I walk through the “tunnel of love” I am simply filled with the feeling that there is no where else in the world I would rather live.
Then I turn the corner and see the beautiful land that my parents have tended and loved and lived on for 26 years, and well, this is it.
Misty Gousty walks with James and Maia. Watching all the little leaves unfurl. Hens exploring the forest. Wallace maintaining order with a long metal rod. (Where did that come from?) Greenhouse full of baby plants. Rock wall sprouting lilies of the valley. Oh, spring. I love you.
Our little baby dog, Theo, is surrounded by so much love! I knew that the girls would adore him, but I did not anticipate how entirely they would devote themselves to him – waking up to take him out in the wee morning hours, feeding him, training him, brushing him, keeping track of all his puppy needs. Watching them nurture him is truly a joy. And Wallace says, “Good boy, Feo.”
Jeffrey is making wild leek kimchi and the whole house smells like spring forest earth. I love this man, and I love to watch him work his fermentation magic in the kitchen.
We had a lovely tour of this tiny house on Sunday. Then on Monday, we went to visit our dear friends, the Lanhams, on their beautiful farmstead.
I am always overwhelmed with wonder when I go to visit the Lanhams. Their farm, Little Valley, is my dream home – and has been since I was 10 years old. It’s a dream that I cannot shake, no matter how far off the reality of owning over 200 acres in Leelanau County (and maintaining a collection of beautiful, old buildings) really is. But, when we visited on this particular day, the day after touring a tiny house just a few miles away, the contrast of the two homesteads was just so striking. I love the idea of so little to care for, on the one hand. And I love the idea of so much to care for, on the other hand. What is this all about? It’s such a paradox, isn’t it? Longing for so little. Longing for so much.
Exploring Houdek Dunes with Suzie.
Trees still holding tightly to their buds.
Moss emerging from piles of slowly melting snow.
The earth starting to smell like sweet spring.