the poetry of leaves and ashes

i could wax rhapsodic about fall for many many posts, but i will refrain. Only barely though.

so we bundle up in our sweaters, let the last warmth of summer settle into our bones, and prepare for the deep sleep of fall. the warm bed in the cold night, the skitter and play of leaves on streets and roofs, the blustery winds that drive us to seek comfort in homes redolent of spices. the lengthening dark of winter’s approach drives us to the mountains, to the orchards, to the fields, to save and preserve the final parts of summer’s bounty.

we walk down shadowed lanes, with leaves suddenly bursting with light, as if lit from within, light coursing through the branches of the trees we stand beneath. the flickering rays of sun enter our homes, our eyes, our hearts, turning all to brightness within, and we store the light in our hands. hands that flicker with speed over knitting needles, fabric, jars, bottles and pages of books, fluttering like the leaves from the one perfect tree illuminated by the setting sun.

in cold clear nights, we gather around fires, burning with the remains of summer’s light and warmth and water. we gather our friends to us, hoarding our moments together, preparing for the long cold of the coming nights in our homes. driven together, we set fires inside each other that outlast the ashes of wood and water. eyes across the fire meet, and our hearts burst with light.

this is the last, loveliest smile. the pause between the opposing agonies of summer and  winter. the old friend who settles in to tell stories of where he has been since last you met. the smell of ripe earth, honeysweet and bitter.

appreciative nods to william cullen bryant, carol bishop hipps, stephen king and rainer maria rilke for the final paragraph.

image from: Kelsey Garrity Riley

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7,972

that’s how many steps we took at the highland games today. maybe more, but my phone died right after the pipe and drum bands closed out the day, and we hadn’t walked back to the car yet.

zoë, spencer and i went to the stone mountain highland games today – the first time spencer and i had been in years, and zoë’s first time ever. we had fun, and tried to do all the things that a first timer should do – watch the caber toss, eat fish and chips, walk around and hold historic weaponry, and of course – the clan tents. spencer’s family is deeply deeply scottish on both sides, and so i think there were something like 12 tents he could claim as part of his heritage. he primarily discusses and reearches the macdonald and ferguson clans, in case you needed to know – his maternal and paternal lines respectively. 

7 1/2 hours of walking, sitting, eating, dancing, listening and seeing later, spencer and zoë are passed out, and i am actually uploading pictures. woo hoo! we didn’t get a chance to go to the top of stone mountain, but i think today was pretty full as it is.

it’s funny – this was the first time, in the 4 times we’ve gone to the games that is, that spencer and i could seriously enjoy ourselves. we had far less spending money than we’ve had in the past, and because we went down with friends, we didn’t get to dictate our schedule or where and when we stopped for dinner or left the house, etc. but we were marveling at the way anti-depressants and counseling has so seriously changed our marriage. i know i find ways to stick this into every post, but i really do feel amazed when i think about our life as it was, compared to how it is. comparing our first year of marriage to this year – we’ve got something like $25,000 less yearly income, higher bills and insurance, less vehicles, and more debt now. but we’re happy. which i guess i wanted to say, just as a reminder to folks, that your fiscal circumstances aren’t going to make your life better or more stable if you’re falling apart on the inside or in your relationships. but again, i stick that into everything. money don’t buy happiness.

money, however, would buy a lochaber axe, or a norwegian stuffed reindeer or a handmade kilt at the games. you know, in case you were in market for any of those things. zoe bought herself a wooden sword with allowance money, and promptly left it in the vehicle we carpooled in. she’ll have it back soon enough, and then the highland rampages can begin. at one point in the car ride back, zoë and her friend were arguing about which clan was better – ferguson or macgregor. we had to step in, and remind them that they probably fought the english together 300 years ago, and peace was restored. 

so yeah, that’s pretty much what’s been exciting in our life – laundry, schoolwork and watching the chickens grow don’t rate as highly on the meter. a side note though, we had a parent teacher conference last week, and i just have to say, zoë’s teacher is just wonderful. full of grace and understanding for the disorganized, smart, talkative, little sweetie we have, but unwilling to let her stay that way for the rest of the school year, and willing to work with her and us to help zoë cultivate the skills and methods necessary to becoming more organized and focused. just talking to her was uplifting, and it was very clear that she absolutely loves the kids in her classroom. just another reason we’re so thankful for zoë’s school.

so, the fall marches on. i’ve posted a bunch more pictures on flickr, in the album “fall 2014.” the other pictures were from a birthday party for the youngest child of very good friends. it was a sunny, perfectly blustery day in the park, and of course, the birthday boy was extremely unhappy the entire time. also, if you’re not following me on instagram or twitter, i can be found both places as @cakewife. there are always lots of quick snaps of pics and things going on, since i don’t always have the big camera on hand.

joining bloglovin, and claiming my blog

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/7023143/?claim=kqhaxuk7p5g”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

so yeah. there’s that. with the demise of google reader, we do what we have to. ignore the wonky formatting, i’m just copy/pasta-ing from their site.

life has been busier and more boring than it’s been in a while. life is boring without our sweet 6 year old to liven things up – she really does bring so much life into our life – our true zoë.

i’m still enjoying the heck out of my job, and i’m getting to finally cook out of my beloved ottolenghi cookbooks, and summer is not miserable (YAY!) and we’re going to athfest this weekend. one of my fave local bands, quiet hounds, is playing on one of the free stages, and i am beyond excited. ignore the crazy art on their splash page, the music is awesome! AND spencer is in town to go with me, so we will be ridiculous townies for a weekend. even though, i wish we could just settle into life with him, with her, with us, here. waiting is the hardest.

i’m trying to be patient, knowing that she is having so much fun with grammie and aunt mimi, but sometimes, it’s so hard to miss her for so long. and we’re only a month or so in. we still have another month to go, if she stays for every class and fun activity that they’ve signed her up for. it’s a fine balance, between longing for togetherness and knowing she’s enjoying every minute she’s there. we haven’t been able to skype/g-talk as much as i would like – there’s no internet at the friend’s house i am in, and so i haven’t seen her face in what seems like forever.

i’m getting maudlin, but i desperately try not to think about how much i miss her sweet face. and her joy and hugs, and incorrigible questions. it’s not as bad as it sounds, or if it is, i’m firmly in denial. she’s great, and we’re fine. mostly. 🙂 very soon, this will be over, a moment in time that passes like a breath, and we’ll be together and settling into a healthy life as a family – not destroyed or distracted by depression or hopelessness. soon. soon.

i’ve got to get back to work, i snatched a few moments out of the work day, and it’s so busy. it’s the end of the fiscal year, so there are lots of loose ends being tied up. back to tying!

december in review… phew!

obviously, i’m way behind. i’ve been enjoying my break immensely, but now i have literally 100+ pictures to post. onwards and upwards i suppose. the pictures in this post are from the previously referenced screwed up batch. sorry. the pictures are from the following:

thanksgiving with greg and ellen, where zoë made a cake, and we took pictures by the river

my 30th birthday

zoë before school one day in her cute furry vest

zoë dressed up like a princess

christmas eve with ellen and greg, lori and scott, sarah and us

and christmas eve at our apartment, where zoë got to open one present before bed. and what a present it was!

my christmas day and snow day pics will be following in another post, after i edit them. and this time i won’t screw them up completely.

short update…

so with the turning of the weather comes more tests, more papers and more stress. i’ve got 3 papers and 3 tests this week, so there’s not a whole lot we’re up to. we did make it out to the zoo earlier last week, and zoë and i have been walking every night around dusk. with later night walks, i’ve not been bringing my camera along at all. in fact, i’ve taken no pictures this week. sad, i know. it’s been a little hairy with school, but thankfully, when we went to the zoo, we went with susanna and linley and piper. and susanna had her camera along. so i have 2 pictures of the girls all together, hanging out at the park.

zoë has been asking about the halloween decorations we’ve been seeing all over the place, and has had a lot of questions about the bones (skeletons). tonight, after we explained that everybody has bones inside their body and they can’t come out, she asked if she could take her bones to school in her backpack. this was right after wondering if her bones were sleeping, and when would they wake up? we are bombarded with questions like these from sunup to sundown, and while adorable, it is a little overwhelming sometimes. i need to brush up on why the sky is blue, and what makes water wet, because i know that’s coming next.

i’ll check back in this weekend i think, after these tests and papers are done. i will be happy to get out of college with just a 3.0 average, because these tests are tough.