Finding Solace

October 31, 2014

Foggy morning on the Columbia River, Mount Hood looms

Foggy morning on the Columbia River, Mount Hood looms

Ask
by William Stafford, from Crossing Unmarked Snow

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made.  Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.  Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate as made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait.  We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Stafford offers some thoughts on the making of this poem, one of those he calls “accepting what comes.”  He says, “We are surrounded by mystery, tremendous things that do not reveal themselves to us.  That river, that world — and our lives — all share the depth and stillness of much more significance than our task, or intentions.  There is a steadiness and somehow a solace in knowing that what is around us so greatly surpasses our human concerns.”

Sunrise over the Columbia River

Sunrise over the Columbia River

Mount Hood

Mount Hood

I do find solace in Stafford’s poem and in my unknowing.  Why am I here?  What does my life mean?  I do not know, perhaps cannot know.  But I accept with gratitude that I am still here trying to figure it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Everything Falls

October 30, 2014

“It is the fall.  And everything falls — not just the leaves.  The temperature falls as the earth again tilts away from the sun.  Darkness falls more quickly as the days shorten.  Plants droop and dry up and break apart.  Trees fall into dormancy and stop growing.  Their leaves and seeds fall into the cool air, and then to the ground, where they will rot and root and become something new.  This is the season of decay — a word that means “to fall away” — to return to your constituent parts, to what you are made of.”
— Tom Montgomery Fate, Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild

 

Watercolor sketch of fallen leaves

Watercolor sketch of fallen leaves

Circle of fall leaves, watercolor sketch

Circle of fall leaves, watercolor sketch

I was captivated by how these leaves were changing color from tip to stem

I was captivated by how these leaves were changing color from tip to stem

Watercolor sketch, circle of fall leaves

Watercolor sketch, circle of fall leaves

 

 

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From A Child's Calendar by John Updike

From A Child’s Calendar by John Updike

October
by John Updike

The  month is amber,
Gold, and brown.
Blue ghosts of smoke
Float through the town.

Great V’s of geese
Honk overhead,
And maples turn
A fiery red.

Frost bites the lawn,
The stars are slits
In a black cat’s eye
Before she spits.

At last, small witches,
Goblins, hags,
And pirates armed
With paper bags.

Their costumes hinged
On safety pins,
Go haunt a night
Of pumpkin grins.

Multi-colored maple leaf

Multi-colored maple leaf

Watercolor sketch of maple leaf

Watercolor sketch of maple leaf

Watercolor sketch of maple leaf

Watercolor sketch of maple leaf

 

The Fig

October 27, 2014

“There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.”
— D. H. Lawrence, “Fig”

Bowl of figs

Bowl of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

Watercolor sketch of figs

I have never eaten nor cooked with fresh figs.  Any advice?

Blue Morning Glories

October 23, 2014

Blue morning glory

Blue morning glory

I wasn’t expecting to see a spot of brilliant blue, much less blooming morning glories, in the garden this time of year.  But we came across these in one of the beds at the horticultural school at the University of Washington.

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Watercolor sketch  of blue morning glory

Watercolor sketch of blue morning glory

 

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