things i am noticing this week, bit by bit by bit (it is a slow and almost indecipherable thing, so gradual are these tentative baby steps):
i am beginning again to slowly savor my footsteps that walk along the surface of the earth: this season, particularly, i am paying attention to the crunch and smell of dry, fallen leaves, the sharp crisp turn of the air, the deepest blue of october skies. i am beginning once again to take note of where i am, to see the loveliness that unfolds around me regardless of my mood. the world does not stop turning, just for me. it continues to turn, the sun continues to set and rise, the days and weeks pass with a grace that only nature can teach us, this way.
i'm taking the time to be tender with myself. a trip to the hair salon yesterday felt like luxury, and the time spent there lifted me. after i came home, a friend wrote and asked if she could see a photo of the results - the light that runs now through my hair. when i saw the photograph that i took and sent, i was gently surprised to catch myself smiling, unawares. this was a miraculous thing.
this week, for the first time in well over a month, i spent a couple of days at the studio table, hammering and sawing and drilling and polishing, and this felt very comforting, very good. i continue to be amazed at how straight i've managed to keep the surface of the table since i conquered the disastrous mess in the studio this time last year. i don't think i'll ever let it get to that critical state again; the cleaner surface is a lovely thing, a lovely practice to maintain. i straighten the day's work as i stand to walk out, just before i turn off the lights, and am pleased to walk in to an organized surface every single time i go through that door. this is no minor thing. the work that i turned out is for a retreat where i'll teach with two friends, 8.5 hours away in maryland. i'm actually looking forward to the drive, looking forward to the adventure. i'm not overly anxious about leaving home for a few days; the anxiety is still there (to leave walter at a kennel again for five more days is something that brings its own brand of angst), but is manageable. this is also no small feat, and i acknowledge and honor this strength.
i'm trying to make the most out of each hour of the day; i'm spending less time sitting and staring blankly, helplessly, into vapid space. evenings continue to be my most comforting time of the day, when expectations for the day's accomplishments have been set aside, when i can sit quietly and simply be. i've begun walking out the back trail, that opens from the back yard, at the last light of day. i love standing quietly on the trail, in the midst of the woods, and listening for any sounds that might make their way to me. standing still like that, not making any sounds of my own, i'm open to the call of an owl, the tapping of dry leaves moving with the breeze, the patter of the leaves that fall through the trees and down at my feet. i'm not afraid when darkness falls around me; i have walter with me, ever the faithful companion. we spend the last dying light like this, off in the woods, then walk through the warm light that waits for us inside the door. there is such quiet beauty in that.
i've returned to the river several times this week, and have looked at it with familiar eyes, with eyes that appreciate the continuity. at the farthest point of our walk, walter and i walk out onto a pebble beach, where i sift through the stones to find smooth ones i might choose to use in my new work. throughout the years, i've gathered these stones for a variety of reasons, and purposes. i've looked for shapes that remind me of the heart, i've looked for thin stones to drill. when i came back from new zealand last year, i planned to find an assortment of them to drill and stack on leather cord like pearls, and the plan quietly took its place in a back corner of my mind. now i search for stones that have a flat bottom surface, that have an oval or circular shape. collecting them is like collecting coins that rest easily in my back pocket. there are little piles of them in this house, everywhere. i line them up, i drop them in a bowl, i place them on a windowsill. rock smoothed by water: how miraculous that seems. i love the simple notion of that one quiet thing. i continue to find hearts nestled there amongst the round and the irregular and the oval, the flat, the rectangles, the everything. the hearts jump out at me, they beg to be carried home. i carry them home, where they take up residence with walter and me. xo