Monday, October 29, 2012


Good morning. Woodbird has been quiet of late for a few good reasons: 1) the day my daughter decided to start sleeping until six, the baby and the new cat decided to start waking at five 2) I've been busy dreaming and scheming and changing my life. Remember that post a month back where I said I wanted to start bringing some money into the household? Well, a few days afterwards we felt, for the first time, an earthquake here in our little house. The dishes on the counter shook and things started...moving. Tectonic plates shifting, slowly. This week I begin a freelance manuscript editing job and have an interview for a part time teaching position.

On other fronts: the big storm is moving in. Rain on the roof, the yard milky with fog and the air disquietingly still. And where is my early-rising family? We bought my daughter a CD player for her fourth birthday, which means she's up in her room listening to one of her favorite Margaret MacArthur records and tidying up with a joyful hustle and bustle. Holy. The cat: she's making a general ruckus. The baby: he's fallen back asleep with T. And me? I'm here for another three minutes or so drinking this milk and honey Typhoo elixir and watching the light come. Oh how I love watching the light come.

Hold tight everyone through this big storm. Lay low. And if it's dark for a while? Savor the candle light and the quiet and the unpredictable and sometimes irascible way the great world spins.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Morning. It’s apple season around here and my brother and sister-in-law, (the masterminds and laboring hands behind Whetstone CiderWorks, a blossoming artisanal hard cider business), spend every Sunday a pressing bushels of apples with beautiful, complex names and even more beautiful and complex flavors: Dabinet, Harry Master's, Yarlington Mill, Cox's Orange Pippin, Reine de Reinette, Jonah Gold and Orleans Reinette...

I love their cider, but I also love what it brings to our hillside and our lives: weekends of apple pressings and farmers markets and children running around with dirty knees, cold fingers and sticky faces.  Which is worth a whole lot more than they’ll ever make on their artisanal cider. It turns out both of my parents' children have chosen to dedicate their lives to labors of love. Or, love of labor. But oh, how I love that word--labor--and all it now connotes! The deep, concentrated, hard work that brings forth something entirely new and original and radiantly itself. And without all of these long-labored efforts, and the beams of light they bring forth?  What a dull place the turning-cold world would be. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's feeling an awful lot like November around here: cold wood stove mornings, leafless trees, stashing clothes under the covers to warm before slipping them over bare skin. Yesterday A and I cleared out the vegetable garden and moved the potted plants from the porch. Today we'll make applesauce to freeze for the (long) winter.  It's time to hunker down into a good book, to stay up later than one should reading it, to get lost, but I haven't yet found what book that should be. Last night I picked up Jim Harrison's The Woman Lit by Fireflies and Mary Oliver's The Leaf and the Cloud. I'm in that limbo I arrive at occasionally, in search of the perfect book for this moment but unable to settle on it. I peruse my bookshelves: Jane Eyre. The Lives of Girls and Women. Housekeeping. The Angle of Repose. Love Medicine. So Long, See You Tomorrow. I'd like to encounter each of those books for the first time again, to feel the magic delirium of falling into the spell of a masterpiece. To feel my cheeks brushed by its feathered or chilling beauty and thus want to change my life. River Dogs. The Meadow. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. 

Which means that will have to be my quiet, secret goal for the day. While coring apples and stacking wood and reading Blueberries for Sal for the umpteenth time. Which one will it be? Into which river of pages will I make that headlong leap of faith?

And you?

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Morning. It's 4 AM and when I wake at this hour I get at least an hour to myself in the dark. Steve Almond signed a book for me yesterday. It said, "Owen Cricket! Go towards the darkness and SHINE!" Which is what we should all be doing. Almond was speaking at our library and Cricket was strapped to my chest, first chirping, then babbling, then sleeping. It's the second reading he's come to with me in the last week and he's my favorite partner in crime. I want to bring my children closer every day. Every day let them further in.

Go towards the darkness and SHINE! It's raining in this morning's early darkness and the house is cold. I pull the covers up around my knees and listen to the rain on the metal roof and Cricket breathing beside me. In a while I'll get up and light a fire in the wood stove. Put some water on for tea. But right now I'm content with this luminous screen and cold dark room and sleeping child tucked against my bare legs under warm down. Every day closer. Every day further in. Every day go towards that darkness and shine, you lovely little soft-heart-beating ones. Hear me? While outside a cold rain drenches the earth and the last leaves fall: shine.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Morning. It's 7 AM and still dark. The birches outside our bedroom window are leafless, the garden hazel and brown. Our four-month-old just popped his first tooth; our first born will turn four-years-old in a week. We light a fire, snuggle cold toes under warm covers, contemplate TIME and the passage of it. A tooth?! Four years old?! Don't leave this bed, my darlings. Let's live in this bed, a little ship in the darkness, floating to and fro, holding tight and holding light while outside nights turn to day and days  to night. And if we grow bored? Or restless? Or long for other company? We'll just gaze into each other's eyes and watch the ghosts go marching through: trumpets and horns, mouths wide with song, limbs doing the fanciest of footwork.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Thank you all for your kindnesses and ideas. This morning the skies are grey but I'm feeling much better in body and spirit. Rain on tawny leaves, rain on bracken ferns, rain on gravel and on the woolen-covered heads of my young ones. One of whom is off to school, the other of whom is sleeping. Which means? I'm off to make my dreams happen. Happy rainy morning to you all. May the tea be strong and the honey ambrosial.


PS: Here is a wonderful interview my dear friend Jen conducted regarding good books and indie book sellers. I'm already reaching for My Antonia.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Louise Bourgeouis, drawing

Morning dear ones. It's been pretty quiet here in the dream trailer for two reasons:

1. I've had a head cold for five days and a head cold is more than I can handle with two little ones (the laundry hasn't been done either). 

2. I'm doing a little re-visioning of my life these days, trying to figure out some changes that would make me and mine happier. I.e: I want to start bringing a small amount of money into the household, and have a few hours to myself each week to do so. Since I've been unemployed (other than Red Heart) for four years, it's taking much walking (with children and head cold) to try and envision just what that might be. And I'm not fully there yet. It's a bit like trying to decipher the Louise Bourgeois drawing above. Your suggestions and ideas are welcome. 

In other news, it's full blown autumn here: the dirt roads leafy; the wood stove hot; the hillsides russet; the air burning apple; the highways speckled with cars from away.

Come find us if you want to.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

self portraits

Mother Breast-feeding her Baby, by Louis Fleckenstein, c. 1900.

Dorothea Lange, Blythe, California, 1936.

Monday, October 1, 2012


A few photos from yesterday's early morning splendor. @ Whetstone Ledges Farm.
This morning the tea is sweet and all the leaves are falling.