What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
~Mark Twain

Happy birthday, dear Mr. Twain. More than any other author, yours is the blessing of succinct wit. Once again, you said it best, and I am left to elaborate in my own clumsy way.

Mindfulness and meditation are tools that strengthen my psychic muscles, yet often leave me stuck in the realm of Thinking. At their most effective, such tools are better used by Mind. That capacity of perception, compassion and awareness that seems to reside everywhere and nowhere at once. Most of the time I find it in my heart. And I find my heart, with no struggle, on land that sings of grace, and my place in it.

Mornings at the creek, dressed in colors of the season. I pick up the invisible loom and weave this beauty into my soul.

The threshold of seasonal change has been crossed and we are fully enclosed in winter. The descent into the underworld is often fraught with tension and resistance. Then suddenly, we find we have arrived and survived the journey and, taking a look around, discover that it is actually quite beautiful. The more our shadow becomes known to us, the more we embody and reclaim the perfect art form that we are.

The fantastic spectacle of fruit and flowers is over, and everything is stripped down to essence. Luminous and bare.

We want to feel the world, and it wants contact with us. How can we resist the siren’s call?

True reflections. Through you, I know me. Through me, I know you. This is how we flow, Mother and Child, Water and Stone, Sun and Shade, Life and Decay.

I love the Digger Pine. Which, I found out this morning, is actually a racist name for it. I had always assumed it was called a digger pine for the way its tenacious roots take hold on the rockiest of soils. But actually, it is named after the First Nation peoples of California, who dug around the roots for nuts. “Digger” is now considered offensive, and yet the tree has no other official name. Two are the “Foothill Pine” and the “Nut Pine”. Yet I want a name that considers that quality of taking hold, regardless of the lack of ideal conditions. O Tannenbaum, what to call your sparse electric branches, your turpentine cones of sustenance, your eclectic silhouette?

Speaking of turpentine cones, I spent the second morning in search of, and blissed out on, pine nuts. Nothing gives me more respect for my four footed kin than the effortless extraction of nuts, when my poor hands were pitched and torn for days afterward. Again, Mark Twain says it best,

It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.

The story goes that my Papa (Grandfather on my mother’s side) used to have the kids shell pinion nuts. He would wait until they had amassed a nice little pile of the meats, and then grab them up, eating the fruits of their labors in one gulp. Hilarious, until you consider having spent 15 minutes just to get one nut.

Fern tried several, spitting them all out. GAH! Do you know how much these cost in the store? Oh sorry, I forgot you prefer to get your nourishment from the creek scum blue green algae.


We awoke early this morning, and Fern said into the early morning light, “Mama, I wanna go home.”. (Which actually sounds like, Mama, I wah gah hooooome). We rolled around giggling as I asked her, “Where do you think we are? On the Moon?”. She kept repeating her request to go home, and suddenly it occurred to me. Fern, do you mean Bella Vista? Where the creek is? She immediately answered yes.

I know exactly how she feels.


Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
~Mark Twain



14 thoughts on “What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.

  1. aww, sweet baby girl. i love seeing her get all dirty and sit in puddles. your hair looks UHMAZING and yet i am always baffled by how clean you look in your clothes. my kids get me so goddamned dirty all the time. i’ve been enjoying this new season immensely and have found myself outside more often now than i even was in summer. i love fall. great pictures. thanks for sharing.

    1. brigit, it must be a trick of the light, because that sweater that i’m wearing has maple syrup drips all down the front of it and my socks and legwarmers were covered in mud spatters and burrs. πŸ™‚

  2. Man, this pictures are so peaceful and beauteous. I love the ones of Fern playing in the water, reflecting… I love the smooth rocks, the sunlight, your own beautiful self in the center, laboring to extract those precious nuts. This is a calming, comforting post, I feel drawn to look at each image carefully, savoring the sunlight I can almost feel. Sigh.

    I hope someday soon to visit California again and see some of its beauty for myself.

    Speaking of MT, have you seen the Ken Burns documentary on him? Netflix that and no time will be wasted πŸ˜‰

  3. oh man. that is intense for her to ask for home. oh MAN!!!! hmmmmm. what ya gonna do about that? tell her you’re gonna go back as soon as you can. you really do fit in well there. like a chameleon! i couldn’t even see any of you in those pictures. silly. yeah. there is love and peace and magic radiating from those photos. i want to be there. spending all of my day shelling pine nuts. like we did just 200 years ago. all day everyday, foraging and shelling and pounding and stirring, all while meditating and connecting to our community. wah. i feel so lost in this day and age sometimes. my body is tweaked by it. fern really is looking cute. makes me weak a little bit how cute.

    1. that’s just what i thought while shelling the nuts…”i want to do this all day long. i think it would make for a good day”. someday when i visit, we will have to go foraging for cones. xo

  4. Well, Mary, you’ve done it again. So succinctly and beautifully summing up this journey of life season by season. “Through you, I know me. Through me, I know you. ” Isn’t that the universe itself and us, all its manifestations. Thanks for a great post. Coincidentally, my hub was looking to go deeper into his own journey and when he showed me the website of who he’ll be working with, what do you know, Holos.
    Be well.
    PS- Your Fern is a doll.

    1. that’s so great that the hubs found holos! we’re a great resource, if i do say so myself. πŸ˜‰

      also, thanks again for the pandora recommend. it serenaded me while i wrote todays post. xo

  5. That place is absolutely magical. Why did we never find that when you were little. Breaks my heart that Fern wants to be there…me too (WITH her and you). The pictures are beautiful. Excuse me, I have to go back and look at the pictures again.

    p.s. The pines are Gray Pines.

    1. they are also digger pines mom! but i hadn’t found the gray pine name, so now i can be official.

      also…didn’t i used to beg you to go to the creek when i was a kid? but i do remember one summer when we found one of the deep swimming holes down there. we went with another family…maybe the chandlers? anyway, we never went back…that’s why i’m kinda obsessed with it now….making up for lost time. πŸ˜‰

  6. oh oh oh! The first Mark Twain quote is perfect for me right now. Or maybe anytime. I feel like more often than usual I’ve got the worries. For no good worrying reason at all! these are great photos of your wintry landscape…it doesn’t look as wet as ours does in winter….it was a great reminder to me to be happy in our current Summer; my son has his first burn of the season – hopefully the last, the sun is particularly harsh here. You look so pretty. Lately I’ve been taking extra special notice of my babies, and their faces, their familiar contours. I want to remember them this way always.

    1. oh, poor baby with a burn! and i’m sorry to hear you have the worries. i get them too, so i can relate. i also relate to wanting to remember my baby like this forever. such sweet fleeting times! xo

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