“There is another world, but it is in this one.” ~W.B. Yeats
Recently, we spent a week away in another world. Down to the low-country coastal barrier-island of Tybee we traveled, as I was feeling a bit sorry for myself for my lost (or at least post-poned) month’s work in Ireland, among other things. Both of us pining for the sea, we watered the plants here at home, packed the dog and a kayak and some food into the car and slipped away into the pre-dawn darkness.
It was worth the day’s journeying.
We made friends with sand and surf and a few others – crow and cat being among my favorites.
There was much beach combing and waterside wandering.
Even Charlie found her way to the edges of things, though dogs aren’t permitted onto beaches in the proper sense. I think she was content regardless of the limitations.
We should all be more like Charlie in this way, contented amidst the limitations we find upon us in these times.
There was much marshiness and moss which, mosquitos notwithstanding, I found to be quite captivating.
It was all so much to take in. I found it exceptionally healing.
There were weddings to witness….
Sunrises to greet….
Sketches to make….
And paintings to begin…
The space and pace of an off season beach town is something I highly recommend. We were excited to plan a small getaway, but also a bit leery about whether there would be too many other people around whom we’d have to avoid, these being anxiety-ridden Covid times.
In the end, there was space to spare. And we were grateful for it.
Soon it was time to come home to the harvest. We still have a few tomatoes on the vine which may or may not ripen. (I am researching pickling options for green tomatoes….).
I gratefully gathered a few hawthorn berries to make into a tea, though mostly because I merely adore their color.
Eventually we readied the back garden for a small gathering of our family which would serve as a celebration of the season at hand, and possibly seasons still to come.
We sense difficult times in the weeks ahead. Covid numbers are climbing and we will not be able to gather indoors for Thanksgiving, and likely not Christmas either. So I hatched a plan to host a “well-filling, out-of-doors, socially distanced, fully masked, early Thanksgiving” dinner for my family. I decided I’d set a date and let the weather gods determine if it might happen or not. In the end we were granted a most glorious day. We went ahead with our plans.
Thankfully everyone was respectful of our strict protocol for mask wearing when not at the tables eating.
It was just good to have everyone ‘sort of’ together in one place before we head into winter. A winter which may feel a bit like a revisitation to the quiet time of early lock-down and quarantine.
Time will tell. But for this one day, we safely took what we could get.
I like to think Dr. Fauci would approve of our handling of the gathering, he having said, more or less, ‘if you can’t have Thanksgiving outside, and socially distanced, then don’t have it’.
Each separate family household came inside to fill their plates independently. Even the kids were on board. I appreciate the respect and care everyone brought to our day together. I wouldn’t have chanced it all if I thought they might behave otherwise.
There was the typical fare – a turkey, smashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, chips and dips and casseroles galore. All of the standard comfort foods related to our traditional Thanksgiving meal. While thankful I don’t eat like this most of the time, there is something about all of the carb-laden goodies that is truly good for the soul. They don’t call it ‘comfort food’ for nothing. We dove in with abandon and it was delicious.
Given one perfect day of weather for our early Thanksgiving, we then weathered rain on the following day to cast our ballots into the box at the local Board of Elections. We were glad to do so. Even today, people stand in line in the rain to vote in person. At least we are all voting, one way or another.
Later, the rain abated and it was time for a hike in the woods…..
…..where nature is always full of surprising things.
A wander in the woods always has the capacity to reset things in our hearts, allowing for a recalibration of sorts. I have a deep sense that things in general will be slowing now as we head into late autumn and whatever the rest of the season may bring with it.
This is the time to be slow,Lie low to the wallUntil the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to letThe wire brush of doubtScrape from your heartAll sense of yourselfAnd your hesitant light.If you remain generous,Time will come good;And you will find your feetAgain on fresh pastures of promise,Where the air will be kindAnd blushed with beginning.~JOHN O’DONOHUE
Excerpt from his books, To Bless the Space Between Us (US) / Benedictus (Europe)
I also have a deep sense that things may get even crazier here in this country in the weeks ahead. Having cast my ballot early, along with so many fellow citizens, I find myself drifting away from the daily news, merely awaiting results of the eventual electoral outcome. I have cautious optimism some days. Other days, a drive into the countryside to the edges of our city gives me pause for all the republican paraphernalia and propaganda to be found there. As usual, time will tell. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is to hold no expectation too tightly. Everything can change on a dime.
This has always been the case, it’s just now more obvious.
I welcome the slow days ahead, as much as I miss holiday frivolity with loved ones. Somehow a hibernation feels more natural for the season. I often crave a bit of quiet this time of year, and this year perhaps I shall have it. Sure there are still zooms and classes and the like, but my intent is to capture a spirit of spaciousness, thoughtfulness and mindfulness in the weeks and months ahead. I think this space might give us some time to reconcile with all that has happened this year. To perhaps shift our way of thinking and being in adjustment to the State of Things.
This month I have reinvigorated a daily drawing practice by participating in the annual “inktober” drawing challenge. This has given me not only practice drawing in general, but making little time-lapse films as well. Here are a few….
I hope the season is being kind to you in one way or another. We are all grappling with so much of late. And it’s all happening quite fast really. My wish is that in the midst of the madness we might find a tune we love to play and play it. That we might see something worth painting and paint it. That we might begin or perhaps continue the planting and plotting of a garden bed.
I’ll share some paintings soon. Keep the faith in the meantime.