Saturday, February 22, 2014

the sky is pink

This morning: the sun is shining, it's a balmy thirty and the sky is pink.

This afternoon: a woodland snowshoe/walk with a woman who knows her beavers.

Hurrah, hurrah!

Friday, February 21, 2014

mm, morning

I don't know how this happened but I am loving this winter. Not typical of me. Yesterday: a snow lady, a broken blue typewriter and sledding with friends. Today: ice covered trees, multi-generational cowboy boots, more sledding and more friends. 

My children are wildflowers (singing, this instant, at the top of their lungs, and clopping like wild horses in said boots). 

And the light? The light is back. 

The light is back. 

Oh my oh my the light is back. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

true, white, blue, deep, blue, white winter

4:25 am.

It is winter here. True, white, blue, deep, blue, white winter.

Downy snowflakes all day yesterday.

I fell asleep last night with both my babes in bed with me and let them stay there--a rare treat. This morning the cat and moon woke me, at what I assumed was five, and I spent twenty minutes trying to untwine myself from my children's eight, soft limbs which kept flopping back over my chest accompanied by a whispered, "Mama."

They love fierce, these babes.

But I made it, out of bed, and downstairs, only to discover: it was 4.

Too early. Way too early. The day may be doomed. But what options are there?

Yesterday two strangers in the grocery store told me that I have remarkable children and must be a great mother.

It was that kind of day. I didn't describe, to those strangers, the other kinds of days we sometimes have. I just smiled at my children and said, Yes, you ARE remarkable!

We're all trying our best.

There are moments that shine.

Oh, mon chéris.

We did go looking for "California shoes" at the thrift store and came home, instead, with new shades and a beautiful blue typewriter, which I'd seen in a dream the week before.

That kind of day. One that shines.

Well, the rooster is up, which means it must be five. I'm going to make myself a second cup of tea and read my book by the fire.

Ta ta, loves.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

oxalis, hat

5 am morning. moonlight. wood stove. cat. (and of course, tea.)

yesterday was a snow globe. the day before: sunlit, and i pretended i was in Mexico while dancing around my kitchen making dinner (oxalis, shadow hat).

this light is treating me well.

my children are treating me well.

they are, at times, balls of blubbery laughter that bring the sweetest joy i've known.

they are, at all times, dear human companions.

today's agenda is to make a snow lady, look for "California shoes" at the thrift store, and buy more chocolate.

blessings to you all.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

those trees

Morning. It's been lovely here--payback for our month of sickness. I've even had time in the woods, by myself, on skis, on a trail already broken.

This is my field. These are my woods. When I write about the deciduous/coniferous woods I live in, this is what I speak of: this many-armed mix of hemlock, spruce, balsam, pine, beech, birch and soft maple best seen by skis in winter.

It's school vacation, which means I won't get out there for another four days. I will be deep in tea parties, play dates, spilled milk, backhoe viewings, baking adventures, squabble negotiations, etc. etc. etc.

But those woods are there. Those trees are there. Those tracks are there.

You know?

Happy sunlit February to you all.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

rooster. sleeping. babe.

snow. mint. tea.
rooster. sleeping. babe.
by the window: ice.
in my mind: you.
fire. boots. tree.
chocolate. soup. snow.
you'll be home: soon.
by the window: ice.
snow. mint. tea.
rooster. sleeping. babe.
in my mind: you (honey cakes).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

family tree, tea

A family tree came with the box of china. Good morning Olive Smith, Lydia Ann, Polly Winters, Olive Lucinda, Adeline Martha, Clara Gertrude, Jesse Skinner and Olive Trowbridge Turner. I'm honored.

(And too bad I'm not not having any more babies. Those names...)


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

dishes, patterns

Yesterday, while unpacking family china with my aunt Megan (variant of Margaret) and my daughter Avah Margaret, I realized the following:

My grandmother, Margaret, was thirty when she had her fifth child and only girl, Megan.
I was thirty when I had my first child and only girl, Avah Margaret.
Margaret was born in the spring. Megan was born in the fall.
I was born in the spring. Avah was born in the fall.
Margaret's birthday is ten days after mine.
Megan's birthday is seven days after Avah's.
I.e. our daughters are nearly the exact same number of days younger than us.
Are you following me?

Also, this: my grandmother was a frustrated, hard working housewife until 1962 when (by chance) a recording of songs she made on a reel to reel on her kitchen table was put out by Folkways Records. Megan was three at the time.

In 2002 we made an album of songs my grandmother had collected. Avah was three at the time.

After her first paying gig (shortly after the release of Folksongs of Vermont) my grandmother went out and bought herself a dishwasher. (They had rigged up gravity fed well water by then.)

We got a dishwasher a year and a half ago, and it has made all the difference.

Are you following me?

The first photo is of Avah and Megan unpacking said china.
The one below is of me and Margaret, 1980.

Good morning, ya'll. May your tea be strong.


Monday, February 10, 2014

the homestead

Woke at 4:50, tiptoed down the stairs. Water in the kettle? Thank god. (The sound of the tap wakes child number one.)

Trip to the woodshed. Smoky tea. Honey. Milk.

This is the house my grandparents found in the early 1950s: logging road, broken windows, floors eaten by porcupines. Five children with no running water or electricity.

We went sledding on its hillside yesterday. Skied in loops around its apple trees.

I came home and poured myself a glass of Maker's Mark which I sipped for four hours in order to keep the body warm.

Oh, there are footsteps. Oh, bright face: hello.

May your day be blessed, friends.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

5:28 am. I've been up (miracle of miracles) by the fire for half an hour. Tea, down coat, bog boots, a trip out into the dark for an armload of wood. When I am old I think I will wake at four. When I am old I will write all my books, drink limitless amounts of tea, walk more.

Oh, there are the children. Good morning to you, friends.


Friday, February 7, 2014

the bright things

Morning friends. Ty is outside with Owen Cricket for a few moments before he leaves for work which means me, here, tea. There's been a lot of posting lately, yes. I'm utterly obsessed with my new phone/toy. Such things are privileges, I'm well aware. (And in the name of transparency: I got the old phone and the bare-bones non-roaming plan for $30/month.)

I'm not thinking about much on this cold, sunny morning (the tea has not completely kicked in) but I will say this:

1. We need each other in winter. We should be doing all we can to have regular, meaningful get togethers with people who make us feel engaged and inspired and people who make us laugh.

2. It's okay (I think) to indulge a little bit. On chocolate or self-indulgent photos or whatever else rocks your boat. Because our boats need rocked in the winter. I've been buying myself chocolate bars on a regular basis and they are utterly delicious and make me happy.

So there you have it. May you all find your brightness where it be, friends, and stay warm, too.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

love child

Today's menu: taking a break from laundry after an epic stomach bug/snow day to stare at this pile of books on my desk.

Drinking: chai

Thinking: What awesome collections of words in this randomly composed pile. Also: I would like my next book to be the love child of these ones.

What are they, you ask?

1. Once the Shore, by Paul Yoon. A beautiful, lyrical, quiet, empathetic and haunting set of stories set on an island in South Korea.

2. Bluets, by Maggie Nelson, which I've written about here.

3. The Seed Underground, which I've written about here.

4. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. (So good.)

5. Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit by Leslie Marmon Silko. A collection of Silko's essays, including some on (my favorite topic) landscape & sense of place.

6. Gaston Bachelard's classic The Poetics of Space, which I have flipped through every six months for the last ten years but never sat down and actually read.

7. Terry Tempest Williams' beaut Refuge.

8. Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost. (So good.)

9. Terry Tempest Williams' When Women Were Birds. (So good.)

And there you have it. That love child would be both beautiful and bril, eh?

Happy day to you all. Here the sun is shining, the snow is deep, and I haven't been thrown up on since 5 am. Things are looking good!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Morning, and warning: if woodbird is too wholesome for you, just skip this one. It has to do with Sundays and extended family and walking and pancakes, which might just be the reason both of my parents' children moved back home. (Or the free land to build a house on? That could have been it, too.)

Regardless, here are some shots from this past Sunday. That house on the hill is where I was born. My placenta is under one of those apple trees. My parents were married in the foreground, back when it was woods, before they'd cleared that land, built that house and barn, planted those trees et. al.

I threw the Barbie shot in to keep it real (though the dress it's wearing has been through three generations).

So there you have it. New phone and pancakes etcet...


Monday, February 3, 2014

the view from the woods

so here's my fantasy childhood castle, as seen from the woods. this place is my heart, were my heart spilled out onto the earth. it is made mostly from trees cut and milled here and the sweat of my hard-working man. it has taken us the last ten years to build, in fits and starts. it is far from done (as in half those rooms are still unusable). such labors are worth it, no?

Sunday, February 2, 2014


6 am, tea, tights, sleeping house, waiting for the stove to light. i have a new toy, the kind that enables faux retro photos like this one, so be prepared for some indulgent playing around.

it's been a silly winter. i was sick for three weeks, then i fractured or sprained a rib coughing, and now i hobble around the house trying my damndest not to laugh or to cough. the good news is: yesterday was thirty degrees, which felt downright balmy. for the first day in a month and a half my toes didn't hurt from the cold. we went tracking in the woods below our house, following a squirrel's jubilant circles until we came to its den.

such things are goldmines, you know?

my children these days are cherubic-faced darlings. we have plane tickets to california. my house, when seen from the woods, is some fantasy castle from my childhood dreams. i'll snap you a photo sometime.

Till then much love, friends.