The Gloaming

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Why hello there…

96 degrees is too hot for October, is the grumble that passes in and out of my mind all throughout the day. Ironically cued by the sight of pumpkins and a longing for chai, I remember that Indian Summer makes for the best beach weather, and we spend many salty hours on the shore.

Hasn’t it always been warm though, in the first couple weeks of October, and aren’t I always fooled into thinking a jacket won’t be needed on Halloween? In my young adulthood, many a sexy Samhain outfit was covered up by a drop in temperature. Now, I think ahead and buy the long sleeved leotard for my daughter’s fairy costume, despite protests.

Fern went to bed with a 100 degree fever last night. In the dark of 3am she whimpered for snuggles, and her hot limbs were a welcome contrast against the cold air coming in through the window. Moments later a syncopation of raindrops began, and we drifted in and out of sleep, riding on the waves of sound and water. In the morning, her fever had broken.

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Days are rattled, not unpleasantly, by shake-ups to the routine. Jeff’s parents come to visit for six days, and Fern is in Grandparenty bliss, with the added bonus of having a hotel with a swimming pool in which to play. I get the pleasure of experiencing my partner when he is in the context of his family, and notice the way he smiles more, the increased light in his eyes that matches the one in his mother’s.

I momentarily forget where I am in my life, as all points of focus come into the singular care of the body. I praise Obamacare while driving through the forest for a doctor’s appointment, tall redwoods interspersed with the gold of the turning sycamore. Stepping into a clinic is entering into another world, one I have avoided like the plague for most of my adult life. Now though, something is wrong, and I experience gratitude at my incredible luck of being assigned An Awesome Doctor, my good fortune at being able to finally get help right when it seems I need it most. My heart does a wonky dance on the EKG, my blood is taken, concern is given. Now I wait for results, and wonder.

And try to avoid googling symptoms.

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Coming back from a morning run, I watch our (new) hawk friend dive into a bush and emerge with a golden crowned sparrow. When Fern meets me at the door, eager for the stories with which I always oblige, we all cringe in sympathy at the bird’s awful demise. And then laugh in dark humor as we re-imagine their song. From “No gold here… we change it to Where’d Ma go…? or Dave’s all gone…. A private joke within the smallest of spheres, a bubble of family, land and home.

Driving to school, Fern and I despair at the most recent casualty of race and haste…a grey fox on the side of the road. My misanthropic tendencies increase and persist beyond dropping her off. I steel my resolve to pay homage by moving it to the earth beyond the asphalt, but upon approaching the site, I see someone has beat me to it. A woman in her late sixties, long gray hair, eyes me suspiciously when I motion for her to roll down her car window. “Did you move the fox?” I ask. “Yes.” she replies. “So sad”. “SO sad.” I echo. “But,” she says, pointing up to the sky, “someone’s hungry”. 20 turkey vultures revolve above. I thank her, drive on my way, kicking myself for forgetting to connect, for forgetting to say…Me too. I do this too. I thought maybe I was alone in my respect and grief. I’m so glad to know I’m not.

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We spend an afternoon on Mt. Tam, at the first annual Oak Ceremony, hosted by Go Wild Institute. Fern and I celebrate in The Council of All Beings, delighting in the reverent irreverence. A song from the day still threads through our play, one of us starting, the other always joining in Hey, little acorn. You’re a baby oak tree. You’re a little home for an acorn worm, who I ate and became part of me. Today we will harvest our own basket of acorns, Black Oak, Coast Live, and leach to make flour. I am reminded of something I read lately, how the Okanagan word for body literally means “the land-dreaming capacity”. We build our bodies out of food that comes from under our feet, and we begin to hear the voice of place.

At night I hear the dog chasing something outside our window, and in my dreams I think he is barking after a being made of rainbows.

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The gloaming of the year. Coming upon the time of ancestors. Two days ago, the door to our house unexpectedly opened and I felt a presence come in. It leapt about the kitchen and then followed me into the bedroom, where it was story time with Fern. It jumped onto the bed and nestled into a happy curl. Leo.

The season is deepening. Lately I get the sense I am walking in new territory. After months of feeling disoriented, of feeling turned around and discombobulated, it’s all beginning to make sense. I have been re-forming, re-membering, re-wilding. I imagine I have found the loose stone in the maze wall, the one that you push on to reveal the secret door. The one that opens to descending steps, leading to an expanse of wild garden. You know the one. The one you have always been searching for, but maybe don’t realize.

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