We spent our weekend immersed in the hush of late September. The lull of the seasonal balance was everywhere, a held breath before the descent into winter. For me, the scent of memory may forever be the smell of sweet grass and dry, dry air. The farmer’s market was piled high with tomatoes, the apple tree was loaded and waiting and the creek bed held remnants, tadpoles and tracks.
On Saturday morning, we participated in a litter clean-up at Whiskeytown Lake. Fern loves picking up trash off the street, we thought this would be perfect. Instead, she hollered when we wouldn’t let her drown herself and was finally content to throw rocks into the water while we picked up countless cigarette butts. We need little excuse to spend time there, but this was a good one.
Slow down and be still.
A friend was here.
Jeff made it his personal mission to pick as many apples as possible. Only one of our trees bore fruit, but it seemed to be making up for the rest of the orchard slacking off. I have no idea what variety of apples they are. Let’s call them Dry Creek Honeys.
A Goldilocks apple…just right.
And just like the story, she would have tried them all if we had let her, a little bite mark in each one.
We picked a whole bushel, plus five pounds. That’s 47 lbs, y’all!
Lest this blog fall prey to an image of bucolic perfection (a trend in mommy blogs, as Brigit so hilariously pointed out in her recent post.), here is the countenance that portrays many of our hours this weekend.
Pobrecita. I had the audacity to offer her help in climbing the ladder. I know, how could I do such a thing?
I’ve made a small batch of applesauce, and plan on making a s#*t ton of apple butter. I am also attempting apple cider vinegar again…it succumbed to fruit flies last year, but I think I have a better method. I will post on that later!
We headed to the fair in Red Bluff…a tiny town south of Redding that we used to joke, “Blink, and you might miss it”. No progressive bubble here, this was not your Marin County Fair, with well kept pets and organic everything. The animals are for slaughter and the politics are to the far right. Gritty and uncomfortable, there was also beauty and glee mixed in.
I so hope we can make it back up for this.
Some of you may know this, and some may not…but I will drive way out of my way to go to a Demolition Derby. They’re loud, they’re a symbol of our love affair with cars and our freedom to waste fossil fuels, there’s probably nothing redeeming about them and they’re one of my favorite things in the world. The announcer said, “Are you ready to tear shit up?!”. Aw, hells yes.
I suspected Fern would love it…the crashing, the cheering, the bleachers to climb on. She certainly did, and she also made a friend who shared his cotton candy with her.
The highlight of the fair for Fern was a cringe worthy band playing “rock and roll greats”. Unable to contain herself, she danced straight through 5 songs.
I realize the top of my dress is unbuttoned at :50. Stay classy.
Knowing that the water would be nearly gone in this driest part of the year, we spent a quiet morning walking the creek bed, following a siren’s call of “I wonder what could be up ahead…”.
Just in time for New York Fashion Week, nature was putting out its fall display. The trolls are wearing stone hats like the one above, the fairies are weaving spider web shawls bedecked with dew drops and the gnomes are making garments from lacey leaves.
If you’ve ever read Gnomes, you know that they make fake footprints to cover up their tracks. I offer the above as proof.
I wandered, lost at times. Empty and aching, I frequently saw the negative space, the places carved out of me that showed where he had been. With my heart heavy with regret, guilt, remorse, I grieved for that which I cannot change. The land offered its support, leaping up where I would fall, easing me down. Nothing is resolved, but there were the reminders of the softness available in an otherwise acute process. On our last morning, I was releasing a giant wolf spider outside, when Fern, who was behind me, shouted, “Mama! Dee! Mama! Dee!” I looked up to see a visitor that I had heard at night, whose traces were all over the hill. I thought of one of the meanings of Deer medicine, that of gentleness, of self-compassion. Hand on my heart, I bowed to her.
Fern began her own mantra, that of “Dee Poop! Dee poop! Dee poop!”
On our way home Jeff said, as I was in tears, “I don’t know what to say, except that Fern and I are here to help you through this.”
I don’t know what I would do without them.