Today I went for a long walk to the top of Mt. Sentinel and around it. The sun was barely there, hanging on until the first talons of winter scratch through the warm surface. I had a warm mug of tea and a lot of love in my heart. The cold wind feels really good against my cheeks today. I love this time of year. The carving time. It carves you out like wood and rocks in the river. Tumbles you around like the tumbleweeds, who are nervous because they know snow will crush them soon.
The sun shining on the crests of the mountains made me think of death because they cling to the sunlight so desperately. I wasn’t sad and I wasn’t thinking of death in a bad way. Just in the way that I am now aware that it could meet anyone at anytime. And I am never scared of my own death…only the ones I love, and even then I am not scared of it. A few people I know and love have recently had brushes with death. It is like the shadows that stroke the hills every evening. It always comes, always goes. I always feel the greatest amount of love for others and for the world when I am out and about.
I love going to high points–I call them citadels–and looking out across the city. I like to keep watch over my people. I think if I was an animal, I would be a peregrine or a red fox because I am quiet and observant and I like to find nooks and crannies but also very obvious points of observation. I like to make sure everyone is still alive and in love with the world. I silently wish this from the top of my perches.
The whip-poor-wills are loud. I would not be one of them.
I took some photos yesterday of chipmunks and a monk and dear friend. Enjoy.
It’s funny how the biting cold drives realizations into you better than anything…except a holy man. And if you combine the two, you’re in for a harsh reality when coming to terms with the work you need to do in your own head.
Winter has come, and with it too comes fogged windows, lonely days, intermittent bouts of shivering, snowy walks, and more waiting…waiting for the sun to come out. Waiting for loved ones to come home. Waiting for things we want, but can’t have yet. It’s a starkly beautiful and challenging time–time for internal growth.
Sometimes the morning, for me, are difficult. And not because of the time, but rather because of the decisions to make. It used to be easy to go out and decide to do something all day…to go walk around for hours in the hills and take pictures or go to yoga and study or run for miles or find some hot springs by myself. More and more, the days go by and I find myself with the feeling people have when they can’t explain something properly or they struggle to get a tightly-closed jar open. I have trouble writing and I haven’t picked up a paintbrush in awhile.
I think this is how the plants feel when the first freeze comes.
This particular morning, I find myself alone with a blank slate in front of me, and a bowl of warm oats and coffee that I’ll peck at, sun barely peeking through the window. I heard some geese above the house; like me, they get hungry for adventure and movement. I’m replete with a lot of feelings this morning, but mostly I just feel tired and lonely. Again, this is exactly how plants feel when the first frost comes.
Which is just fine sometimes.
I’ve been trying to wake up
Before the sun every morning
To greet it with open eyes
And moving feet
And a crushed, surrendering heart.
I’ve been trying to write silent songs
To describe the possibilities
Of where to go, what to see…
What to make with my words and my love–
What mountain to put it all on top of.
I weave and braid the emptiness of
The sky that lacks a moon
But is filled rather with stunning
And inexplicable completeness–
Richness more velvety than a deep kiss or whisper.
And it all steamy-like floats up
Out of my coffee and into the stars
The hand I felt yesterday is clay or dust
And this spectrum of colors—of glazed emotion—
Is infinite in you and in me and in all that simply
Last night in the middle
Of the rounded night
That’s always rolling
Like the moon that bounced down the hill
…the one that you and I can both see from our windows.
I dreamt of your dream
And in it I saw outlines and headlines
Of black and white not shapes
but rather people
dancing wandering chanting
Holding hands hungry
And searching through the dirt
Ravenously for food
Not for their bellies but for their
Meandering musing minds.
And in waxing and waning
They move like
Snakes through the sand
Sand running through their hands
Holding onto and careening off of
not what is but rather what was–
undulating with the turning
Of this almighty world that simply
We have a winner!
But first, I wanted to share the entries with you. Here they are!
1. From my beloved father, a delightful recipe for “goose”:
Fall Roasted Goose.
Kill a goose, clean it and wash it.
Prepare a huge pan with a lid by removing it from the garage, pressure washing it, and greasing it on the bottom and the sides.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or whatever).
Stuff the goose.
Rub oil all over the goose (preferably Olive oil).
Sprinkle your favorite spices all over the goose.
Put it on a wooden roof shingle, in the huge pan with lid.
Cook it til the cows come home.
Remove from oven.
Remove goose from pan, make sure you keep the goose on the shingle.
Remove the stuffing.
Throw the goose in the garbage can.
Throw the stuffing in the garbage can.
Put the shingle back on the roof where you got it from.
From Dr. Daddy Lyons
2. A picture from my beloved father:
3. A lovely recipe from Sarah, from Saranac Lake, NY…YUM!:
Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons greek yogurt
1 (15 ounce) can cooked pumpkin
4 ounces cream cheese
flax seeds, as garnish (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. Stir the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.
3. Beat the brown sugar and the eggs together with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add the applesauce, yogurt and the pumpkin; continue beating until mixed. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and beat until just barely mixed. Add chocolate chips if desired.
4. Fill the prepared muffin cups about half-full with the batter. Spoon about 1 teaspoon cream cheese into the center of each muffin cup and poke it down into the middle of the batter with a finger. Sprinkle the flax seeds over each muffin.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes and remove to a rack to cool completely.
4. A tantalizing recipe from Aunt Sis in Phoenix, AZ:
Grilled dark chocolate sandwich
0.25 cup fat-free evaporated milk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1.5 tablespoons butter, softened
8 slices thin whole-wheat sandwich bread
3 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)
Heat evaporated milk just until boiling. Add chocolate, let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly
Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Divide the chocolate mixture on the unbuttered side of 4 slices, leaving a little border. Press chocolate chips and nuts (if using nuts) into the chocolate. Cover with the remaining slices of bread, buttered-side up, and press lightly
Cook the sandwiches in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over, press with a spatula, and cook until nicely browned and the chocolate is barely melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
And the winner is #4, which belongs to Aunt Sis in Phoenix! Your bluebird package will be on its way. The runner-up is #2, which comes from my dad! You will also get something from me, your loving daughter, in the mail!
Thanks everyone, for participating! I feel terrible that it took me so long to get the results up here. There will be a Holiday Giveaway, so stay tuned!
This is ours now.
Good morning, lovely bluebirds!
It is officially autumn (by my watch), and that means it is time for the seasonal…wait for it…
Fall Bluebird Giveaway!
Here is what you have to do:
1. Take a picture or write a poem or send me an autumn recipe.
2. Send it to email@example.com, along with your name and address. If your name starts with ‘Bran’ and ends in ‘Han’, you are disqualified from entering (xo).
3. Do all of this by 9/20/13.
4. I will randomly select the winner using a random number generator.
5. I will publish all of your work on this blog and announce the winner on 9/20/13 at approximately 6:00 a.m (STC…I could be on a fire). Your prize will then come in the mail to the address you emailed me with your submission (I have been rumored to feel bad and choose a runner-up and second runner-up if the submissions are good…).
Here is what you will win:
A signed print of this Wind Rivers painting, which I painted with tender, loving care, ink, colors from the sand and sky, and bluebird feathers (If you don’t like this one, I can send you a different print or make you a new painting!):
Some wonderful, autumn-ey chai tea:
And a pair of Smartwool socks:
Share this contest with your friends! Good Luck, and have a great day!