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Sunshine

Wasps are working hard in the garden gathering fennel.

Wren took a break from her hard work in the garden today to accompany me to Garden Buddy’s house for a produce exchange. She was able to get acquainted with their big dog whose head is about the size of her whole self. We all sat in the shade and visited for a little while, and I enjoyed the view of all the suns on their old cabin ruin. I’m grateful for the bountiful sunshine today, and overall mild fall weather. In this moment, all is well.

Rambling

The wild winds this spring have torn down many limbs in the forest, and I’m sure some whole trees, but I haven’t rambled the deer trails since last fall so I am just beginning to discover the changes. This morning I was grateful for rambling with Wren and Topaz, starting off on the Typewriter Trail but veering onto a deer track at the bottom of the first hill, then heading southwest. A freshly broken limb blocked the trail which of course didn’t stop Wren, though I walked around rather than under it.

It’s been awhile since I’ve simply wandered the woods as I used to with two dogs and two cats. Those were the halcyon days, and I’m grateful that I recognized that at the time. How everything has changed in two years. Sometimes it truly feels like living in the end times, and I won’t be surprised if that turns out to be the case. Whatever happens next, I’m keeping focused on doing the right thing in the moment. Often that is simply bearing witness to what’s left of this astonishing, spectacular, living planet.

I am perpetually grateful that I made choices going back three and four decades (or six, or lifetimes) that caused me to end up here, living among these ancient junipers, at this precarious time.

And I’m grateful for the tiny, ephemeral delights that each day brings, like the swooping sound of nighthawks, a cool evening breeze, the first fingerling zucchini, and a tiny predatory beetle on the coriander.

Putting Away Christmas

Cousin Bill joked about how different it felt to put his Christmas decorations away at the end of January than at his habitual New Year’s ritual… It wasn’t too soon, or too late, it was just the right time. That’s how I feel. Even later, though, I’m putting away Christmas in the middle of February. It’s the longest I’ve gone. Much as I love the ancestral decorations (and a handful of new acquired over my lifeline) I’ve put away Christmas pretty late for years, grateful for implicit luxuries, but always by the end of January. At least that’s how I remember it.

I may not get very far tonight, I’m reminiscing, communing with my little things. Catherine Ingram counsels us to love who we love, and love our lives, and love our little things. Garden Buddy mentioned that very thing this afternoon in the context of what brings us joy. We sat in her garden of stone-rimmed beds and yard art, sharing a brief cloudy interlude in an otherwise balmy day. We are both growing weary of enforced hermitude, yet are not eager to relinquish it, skeptical of the alternatives.

Garden seeds arrived! A sigh of relief, winter’s end’s in sight. It’s been a strange one, as have most recent seasons. Case in point: The shower drain hasn’t come close to freezing this winter (a good thing), but this is the second scorpion who’s climbed up out of the tub drain. Itsy-bitsy spider only this time it’s scorpions the rain washes out. Spiders have free reign in my house, they do such good eating flies, and most of the widows stay outside. But this scorpion has to go right back where it came from, back to the leaf litter under the birch tree. It’s much milder outside this year, and also drier, than what used to be normal. Even as it’s been a colder winter inside, but longer sun in a rising arc warms the house earlier each day, and I have enough power now to run the floor heat while it’s sunny. So life’s gotten a little easier.

I’m grateful for this littler orange scraper, which has also makes life easier. It’s come in handy for a lot of things, but most of all for finally solving this kitchen dilemma. For years it mystified and aggravated me why the artisan who built the copper counter didn’t finish it with a rollover edge, instead crafting a lovely rim a half inch higher than the surface. This makes it impossible to sweep crumbs off into a hand or compost bucket. A similar glitch was built into the edge of the sunroom pond by a different artist, this an unchinked valley between the wall and the stone floor, leaving a ragged stripe of concrete foundation showing. I asked that fellow many years later why he’d done that, it makes it so hard to sweep or vacuum the dirt up.

“So you wouldn’t have to,” he said sparkling with logic, “because it would collect in the crack.” Had the cabinet maker brought similar reasoning to the raised counter rim? Both ‘solutions’ make it far more complicated to clean: a woman would never have designed these features.

Speaking of crumbs on the counter, these lemon shortbreads were worth the wait for butter for the glaze. So delicate and lightly tart and softly sweet. I’ve been grateful today for sharing them, too; and for kindnesses and compassions that have come my way, softening the rocky inward trail.