mingling

Everything is starting to mingle. Hot days mingling with cold nights make the mist we walk through on our way to the trail. The falling leaves are beginning to mingle with the ground and water in creative ways, a foreshadowing of the blanket of color that will follow.

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The order of things is shifting and even at home, I feel lifetimes mingling as I sort and pack and clear spaces that have held a certain energy for the past hundred and sixty years. The process of strategizing this move is exciting and exhausting at the same time. I can feel synapses firing at record speed, trying to stay ahead of the edge of ‘unsettled’ that is upon me, all the while staying open to what is most important to move forward with, unburdened by leaving behind items that no longer serve.

The thing is, everything has or is a memory to process in this place. Making the time to acknowledge and accept is hard for me. Even though I am coming to experience that the time factor with any one aspect of the moving puzzle of this move is an illusion, it is also the most important ‘project’ I have right now and I am wired to bring it to enough of a successful conclusion so I can shift gears to the next priority. Architecture and yoga and quilt-making and writing and cooking have all taken on supporting roles in this. It is the knowing that I will commit with equal vigor to one of these other equally important endeavors when enough of this project is complete that allows me to settle into the unsettling nature of where I am.

Eating a hearty breakfast each day has become a necessity. My current favorite is a blueberry oat pancake. Even here there is a mingling of so many influences. This particular combination embodies the memory of mornings on the farm in the Berkshires with Richard when he would make his famous oat pancake in anticipation of vigorous physical activity, of fresh baked goods with wild blueberries picked at the bungalow colony we spent summers at as a family when the kids were young, and of happy morning after breakfasts out with Scott that always includes pancakes. Just the aroma of oatmeal evokes early mornings spent in quiet conversation with my father while he eats a bowl of oat bran or oatmeal with apples, cinnamon and walnuts. Making this oat pancake now clearly carries the energy of a kind of masculine support that I cherish. It also seems to be balancing the physical strength of female support received these past weeks, where all the moving of stuff from attic and garage and bedrooms has been possible with the help of dear women in my life. I don’t know what it means, or even if it has to mean something. I’m just noticing.

I put my small six inch cast iron skillet on the stove. Measure a heaping one third cup of whole organic oats into a bowl and mix with an equal amount of warm water. Whisk together one egg with two tablespoons milk (I use coconut milk and/or creme if I have it) Add scant one quarter cup flour (I use a mixture of half nut flour half whole wheat pastry flour- currently it is cashew flour, and keep the mixture in a jar in the refrigerator) to the oatmeal and a generous pinch of baking powder and cinnamon to taste. Add egg mixture and stir until smooth. Let sit at least five minutes.   Add a handful of blueberries (I put them in frozen most of the time), heat butter in the pan on medium high. Pour entire contents of bowl into pan.

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Cook until firm enough to flip. Turn down heat and cook until done. Add butter and maple syrup.

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It really is so good, so satisfying, and holds back hunger for hours.

Walking along, I realize that the order created by the consistent mingling of dog and human out on the trail with Nora all these months must also be sorted through. Nora has made many friends and it does my heart good to see her romping and even sharing a quiet moment of drinking from the brook with them.

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Some of these friends we will invite into our new life, others we will never see again.

I’ve just finished my pancake breakfast and am fueled for the next round. Each room in the house is now a disarray of furniture moved aside, piles in the center of the floor, and boxes being filled. The work of vetting memories will continue with each unfolding of a bedspread or card that falls out of a book as I anticipate the ongoing mingling of past, present, and future in these full days ahead.

blue house

Being on the trail feels really good this morning. After the weekend of getting up early each morning to prepare for a tag sale, both Nora and I are eager to reconnect with the smell and sounds and feel of the forest waking up. The sound of acorns banging though tree branches reminds me of the boom of the black chestnuts encased in their bright green coats falling from the great heights of the old trees in my back yard and ceremoniously bouncing with force off of the shed roof all weekend. I realize that the tipping point to full on enthusiasm for packing up and moving on will be forever tied to this sound.

Shedding the lingering energy of memories that no longer serve along with stuff that there is no room for where I am going, the path to my new home is now less cluttered.   Now there is room for the joy of finally beginning to experience synchronicity and magic that is in front of me as I prepare for this move.

For instance, I am moving from a blue house to a blue house. This is no small thing.

I think it began seven years ago when just months after my divorce, when I bought the blue car. A year later I painted my house a gorgeous shade of blue, and didn’t even notice the match until the car was sitting in the garage of the newly painted house.

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Likewise, it didn’t register that the first house I fell in love in the search for a new home this spring, just seven months after Nora entering my life, was blue. Or that, when out looking again after losing that place, the next house I would fall in love with was also painted blue.  And since that one wasn’t available either, I still had to keep looking. Ben was with me for the last round of visits, just a week after his twenty-first birthday, and when we stepped out of the car into the driveway of what he refers to now as ‘the blue house’ we both knew it was home.

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It’s not that I was seeing lots of blue houses and happened to just fall in love with just these few. No, these were the only blue houses in all I was shown. It’s as if one of those walnuts or acorns has actually bounced off my head and finally woken me up to the significance of this fact. It’s as if this coloring of my world blue is a reminder that like this world of earth, when inside I am still connected to outside and when outside, I can always find inside. It’s as if I have been led to paint the very path I am to continue following, in a way that leaves little doubt that this is the right track.

I will be closing on this new home just seven weeks after making my offer. It is a long seven weeks, each step a gauntlet that holds the potential for the smallest technicality being a reason for the process to fall apart. There are three families and three inspections and three appraisals and three closings that will all miraculously happen at the same time. That we are closer to the end than the beginning in the process of moving through these gauntlets, interdependent and committed to each others success, is inspiring!

I also wonder at the significance of holding my tag sale on the very day that I would have been celebrating my twenty-eighth wedding anniversary.  As if, to the day, this cycle of my life would end with finally letting go…

These cycles of seven seem to keep coming up for me. Unlike conventional numerology that would tell me that a typical life cycle is nine years, most major events in my life have followed seven year cycles. Yes, it is faster than nine years, and it seems to be my rhythm. What makes me think I can hurry any of this up is the question.

Numerology also tells me that I am in a cycle of ‘5’ right now (my birthday + this year…4+3+2+0+1+4=14, 1+4=5).   Cycle of 5 carries the energy of adventure, luck, new love, and spontaneity! I am moving to 27 Ireland Street from 22 Eames Ave. 27-22=’5’….or…..2+7=9, 2+2=4, 9-4=’5′. Is this synchronicity a coincidence? I don’t think so.

The last visit to the new house was a brilliant sunny day.

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And I felt the magic of being sheltered here by the blue sky sitting on the doorstep of the blue house I will soon call home.

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olfactory

The light is completely flat this morning, sun hidden behind a thick cloud cover, the sixty degree air taking on the chill of gray. Nora and I have arrived at the trail early this morning, and I am walking fast in the dull coolness. Even my senses seem dulled, no illuminations from bright sun shining through, sounds are muted and quiet, water trickling ever so gently over rocks. Every so often there is the sound of another acorn bouncing its way through tree branches before thudding to the ground. Or the screech of a squirrel cutting through the silence. Mostly I am aware of the thundering roar of Nora racing past me from behind at full speed, then abruptly stopping ahead to smell, before picking up her head and dashing off again.

We are coming to the end of this morning’s loop and as if taking a cue from Nora, my pace is abruptly halted by an overwhelming scent. Intoxicating. Sweet and earthy and so seductive, like the smell of summer meeting fall in the most poignant way. I’m standing in a bit of a clearing and look around to see where this powerful smell is coming from. I feel the pull into the dampness of the forest beyond through the trees and as I gaze into the dark abyss beyond finally notice the yellow that edges the view.

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Goldenrod. Then look down and there it is, right there in front of my nose.

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It is the only thing that is actively in bloom, thinking this must be it as I bend my head and fill my olfactory channels with the essence of this weed. It is there somewhere, the smell that has reached deep inside of me like the most powerful of pheromones.

I walk on to catch up with Nora and let the sensation settle while pondering this powerful olfactory sense. I remember in one of Nora’s training classes, the teacher noting that a dog cannot hear and smell at the same time, that when Nora is actively engaged with smelling something, I cannot expect her to hear my command. The next thought is of the cantaloupe sitting in the refrigerator. Smile. It’s a good one. I can tell from the smell. It has been filling the kitchen with its scent the past few days and I finally put it in the refrigerator last night to hold this ripeness in place if only for the overnight before breakfast. Like my grandmother, I had stood in the store the other day picking up each melon, first pressing the bellybutton for a soft yield that signals ripeness and next bringing that very spot to my nose to smell for the truth. There is simply no visual here that can make a difference to picking a good melon.

We are coming now to the edge of the cornfield that just two days ago, was still pregnant and full. Now it is the smell of harvest that draws us in, the field completely cleared, earth meeting dried stalk meeting pine needles meeting half eaten cobs.

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I am oddly comforted by the impact of these olfactory sensations working through me.

Home, I read about goldenrod while waiting for the chill to leave the melon. I learn that it is the leaves of a sweet goldenrod that when crushed, emit a pleasant tarragon like fragrance. Bingo!  Now it is time to cut the melon in half.   The scent released as the knife slides through effortlessly confirms that this indeed is a perfectly ripe melon. Mesmerized by the beautiful design of seeds and space in the cavity, I consider that this too is the smell of harvest and eternal return to source.

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I am not disappointed, olfactory instinct yielding now to the pleasure of seeing, tasting, and fully digesting the essence of this time.

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alpha

We aren’t even half way to the entrance before Nora races way ahead into the trail without me.

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She’s been doing this for about a week now. The whole flow of our time out here together has changed. It feels like that alpha thing of needing to be in front or on top or first at all times. The quiet time in the woods higher up on the trail where we are easily alone just the two of us doesn’t seem like enough anymore. She will stay in sight for the most part but I can feel her drive to keep moving forward, as if there is something precious and important to get to. I’ve also noticed recently that I lose her again as we approach the place signaling descent back into the path where encounters with other dogs with their humans typically happen. She just can’t wait to connect.

It rained hard last night and the invigorating sound of rushing water in the brook greets us. This too signals a feeling of change after what seems like weeks of dry ground and barely discernable flow. I don’t want to leave the sound of it, and make the decision to loop the trail here at this level and forgo our usual climb. I think, let’s let today be about connecting with the others first. I walk slowly and watch Nora continue to forge ahead. We are so in tune now with the nuances of where the trails diverge that all I have to do is yell out “this way” and she changes the trajectory of her movement without hesitating.  She is still out front and first to encounter whatever is there. Like the cornfields that we usually just bypass altogether, today she leads us further around the edges to see what is there.

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And find harvest in the first of the beautiful early morning light.

Now I can’t help but notice alpha everywhere, such as in the drive of this particular root to connect to it’s beloved earth by just growing right over the obstacle of the rock to get there!

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I’m intrigued with this alpha, being first, energy. It is such a mirror after all. Firstborn. First to make mistakes. First to finish. First to get to the promised place.  First to experience what is new and different and wonderful. I suppose it is what drives a obsessive need to be creative, to see things differently, to make something be a first each time. Like the peach salsa last night. I knew I wanted to make it when I bought the large box of fresh locally grown peaches a few days ago. It wasn’t until finally getting a red onion that I was ready to assemble something. Combining small chunks of three peaches, finely minced red onion, an avocado and a small fresh tomatoes diced, a handful of fresh minced parsley, a splash of olive oil and the juice of a lime made enough deliciousness for several meals.

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And a small leftover jarful waiting in the fridge.  I’m already anticipating getting home and having it for breakfast. Pairing it with an omelette of some kind.  This would be a first.

It is a fun morning on the trail meeting up with so many of the usuals. Nora is known as the enthusiastically sweet puppy to most, and though not all her canine friends out today want to play with the same vigor, the connections are still made, banter and fun still had. Us humans out here know that this kind of connection for the dogs holds tenfold value for the stimulation provided and energy expended. Nora leads me to each new encounter and I too feel the value of sharing this time and space with kindred spirits.

I arrive home so hungry!   Today is a day for a serious breakfast. I can’t stop thinking about the significance of the omelette scene in the movie, ‘A Hundred Yard Journey’ seen the other night and decide to enter this space. It is a gorgeous scene that offers the sensuousness of making and experiencing something new for the first time. Crack two eggs into a bowl and languidly but firmly whisk them until completely smooth. Add a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of Spanish Pimenton Vera, a grating of fresh black pepper, a small handful of finely minced lemon balm picked fresh from the garden, a quick pour of fresh heavy cream.

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Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat and pour in the egg mixture. Gently peel back the edges as it cooks and tilt the pan to allow the liquid on top to find the hot exposed surface. Watch for the moment when all is firm enough to flip with a spatula, cook for just a moment on the other side and then turn off the heat. Fold and let onto the plate waiting with a mound of chilled peach salsa.

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It is all so exotic and new, this meal.  Each bite is an alpha bite that offers a different first taste each time. Each bite is a revelation of some aspect of being connected right here right now that feels good.

I eventually come back to thinking about Nora and her alpha ways, appreciating her determined pioneering spirit, grateful for her leading me here today…