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Tag: introspection

burrowing begins…

burrowing begins fruit

winds are howling. the chimney is hiccuping (rather rudely), with every passing blast of gale-force updraft. cigar pods from boughs on high are poinking needle-like into the heads of anyone fool enough to tiptoe outside. the last few berries from the american cranberry, the scant few that haven’t been gobbled by blue jays and high-wire squirrels, they’ve been slammed to the ground in a bloody blob this morning.

a few minutes ago, i glanced out the window and thought it was raining itty-bitty locust leaves. then i rubbed my eyes and realized it was a hallowed eve’s snowfall. snow blustering, maybe.

the sky is pewter. the air so cold even the cat is howling in protest.

all in all, it seems surround-sound signal from the seasonal trumpeter: time for burrowing to begin.

autumn as october teeters towards its close, as november waits in the wings, when golden glow gives way to stovepipe gray, when stripped-bare branches scratch at endless sky, autumn is the season to hunker down, to draw in, to turn our attentions toward the essence deep within.

all this dialing down, buttoning up our nubbiest sweaters, slithering on socks for the first time in months, it’s all a call to haul out the soup pots from the back of the cupboard, to reach in the fruit bin for the season’s offerings — the ones that, in keeping with autumn’s ethos, reveal their succulence only after peeling away, digging in, extracting.

if it’s true — as a wise man taught me last week — that God wrote two books, one of which is the Book of Nature, then we’d be fools not to read along, not to inhale the verse of the shifting light, the shadowing that autumn’s depth brings.

if it’s true — and why wouldn’t it be? — that God in God’s Infinite Genius imbued every corpuscle of creation with a map pointing to the interiority of the ones charged with making sense of all this, the ones for whom understanding leads to illumination, which leads to enlightenment, then wouldn’t it follow that one of our holy callings is to heed the wisdom of the bough and the sky and the crunch underfoot?

and so, to steep myself in autumn’s teaching, i step outside into the whirl of this hallowed day’s preamble to winter: i feel the bumper crop of goosebumps on shoulder and thigh and nook of my neck; i inhale the faint whiff of logs burning from somewhere not far away; and, without much dawdling, i scurry back inside and do as instructed.

i pull on another sweater, i plonk on the couch, and survey the stack of pages waiting nearby. i begin to consider pumpkin — and not for carving, for roasting. i press my nose to the glass, set my gaze skyward, watch gray clouds scuttle by.

contemplate the coming depths.

i might be calling it quits on puttering about the garden. might tuck away the hose, the trowel, the watering can. might gather up the bird houses, replenish the bird-seed bins. the deepening is upon us. time to consider those who depend on us to make it through bitter days ahead.

the wisest thing to do, i reckon, is begin the prayerful coiling, the tending to what’s inside and too long left cobwebbed. it’s the season of introspection, and i’m settling in to do as so divinely ordered.

because tomorrow is all saints day, a feast day best honored by honoring the saints who populate our living breathing days, i’m beginning the nominations here with a beloved neighbor named sarah, who moved home a few years ago to care for and feed sumptuous nightly feasts to her aging mama and papa. just yesterday, sarah’s mama could not be awakened. she was breathing, but un-rousable, so an ambulance came and carried her away. she’s now deeply sedated in the ICU, where sarah and her papa kept vigil all day. late last night, sarah finally ferried her papa home, sat him down to feed him, then, in an act of compassion that purely took my breath away, she “rigged up his bed with pillows, so he can feel like he’s bumping into her” all through the night. sarah is saint number one in my book this year. please whisper a prayer for sarah’s mama and papa, and, deeply, for sarah.

who’s on your list of everyday saints? no need to name names. just a story will do…..and question number two: how do you begin your burrowing? what’s on your winter’s reading list? 

november sky

november sky

the sky wraps me, it signals me, it tells me many things. in ways that never end, it is God’s billboard.

it holds up wonder. hints at danger ’round the bend. whispers: season’s changing, sun is moving on, world turns. shadow’s on its way.

it talks not just to me, it talks to many, many others.

all around, i see the others paying attention. i pay attention, too.

i find myself looking out of windows. looking up. i’m hiking here and there and everywhere, like a lady starved, trying to fill her belly. only what i’m hungry for is sky.

there is something particular about november sky that calls me much more often, much more insistently, than the summer months, or even spring.

november sky is haunting, is gray, is roiling when the winds whip, making froth of clouds. oh, dear Lord, there’s frappuccino up above. we cannot escape.

november sky is vast, is tinted with a wash of winter blue. there is more to see, because less is in the way. just the bare-boned architecture of the trees, stark, sharp against the canvas of the sky. sticks poking into clouds, or so it looks from far away, daring sky to burst.

the disrobing’s over now. it’s limb and bough and twisted trunk. a tree stands alone, telling its solitary story. no encumbrances, no leaves, no frills. just the bending, arching, reaching limbs, and whatever’s fallen too.

we see it all now. we teeter here on the precipice between the autumn and the winter. not yet snow sky, but i get the sense it’s coming any day.

i could watch all day. watch the birds watch the sky. watch the squirrels too. how they know which days to scurry to the feeder, gorge on seed, before the weather does what sky is saying.

the gray sky for me is one big knitted afghan. i draw it ‘round my shoulders. hunker down beneath november sky.

it is signal, mostly, that it’s time for one and all to go deep, pull in, be ready for the cold winds that will come. bulbs are buried. painted turtles sleep along the bank of the lagoon. even little sparrows, long past nesting, have been collecting bits of cloth, flitting off to somewhere where i think they’ve knitted their own afghan for the winter.

i too go deeper in these days. pull in. take my cues from sky. i, too, ready for the winter. put the gardens all to bed. tuck in plants in blankets made of leaves i didn’t rake. i haul out the soup pot. simmer beans and bones, whatever takes the long slow flame, offers up its essence over time, over hours that aren’t hurried. not at all.

but i go deep in other ways.

this is the season, starting now, for introversion. funny, then–odd, even–that it’s the season that the world claims for merriment. hmm. so maybe that’s why, sometimes, for some of us, it’s like climbing through molasses to go out and join the crowds.

maybe if we listened to the sky, we’d be more in keeping with the rhythms deep within.

i believe in seasons. and not because i’m the daughter of ecclesiastises. or the long-lost fourth of peter, paul and mary.

no, not that at all. i believe in seasons because i believe that Wisdom understood the ebb, the flow, the time to plant, the time to harvest under heaven.

and november sky, maybe more than any other sky, tells me things in notes i cannot, do not want, to miss.

wrap up. take shelter. kindle lights in every window. brace for storms to come. feed yourself deeply.

this time, these days, are ripe for inner harvest. while the orchards all are sleeping, while the fields have gone to fallow, sift through the soils of your soul, i hear the sky say.

root around inside. see what’s ripe for picking now. take in wisdom. curl up and take it from the printed page. or lace up your boots, and listen to the forest. or the waves that won’t be stopped for cold. or the grasses of the meadow that can’t help but rustle to the song of winter’s-coming wind.

the grayer that the sky gets, the more i feel my heart beat. it is november, most of all, november almost gone, that stirs me, like a spoon inside the pot, for the broth i’ll sip for months to come.

the reverie of november, november now slipping in its final hours. do you find your soul stirred too, like the jostling building clouds that crowd the sky? do you find this the start of your deepest months? what of the party schedule that demands a mood that might not be in keeping with the call of sky to hunker down? or is it that the dark of deepest winter demands we kindle flame? what of the flame we carry deep within? what if it’s the one we tend in the weeks to come?