October Delight | Words of Wednesday

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. –L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Friends Going Leaf Peeping: Colorado AspensI got that October feeling today. You know the one. Where the sky is grey, and the air is crisp, and you’re inside, and warm, surrounded by laughing strangers, as you sip your pumpkin spice latte (with whipped cream and an extra shot, because, why not?) and everything is a bit golden, a bit bright, a bit tinged with that holiday-feeling. With that sense of magic. The world, for no particular reason, a bit right.

It always makes me miss Oxford, that feeling. Oxford, where I first fell in love with autumn. Oxford, where the college ivy will be turning red, and wool sweaters will make their appearance on High Street, and pubs and tea shops will be bright and cheery with students and tourists, and the Bodleian lights will glow in the early dusk.

But I’m not in Oxford today. I’m in Colorado — adding one more place to the patchwork mosaic that is my definition of “home.” In Colorado, watching the sun dip behind the mountains, turning the sky the color of golden aspens (mixed with just a hint of that Oxford ivy). In Colorado, living with two of my dearest friends, reading Anne of Green Gables aloud, running every morning (have I ever seen so many sunrises?), cooking dinners, watching anime, playing board games, editing dissertations, listening to audiobooks, and seeking, with Anne, to live every moment of it fiercely alive. 

October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry-trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.

Anne revelled in the world of color about her.

“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with arms full of gorgeous boughs. “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill — several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.”

–L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, ch. 16

Aren’t you glad we live in a world with Octobers?

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Have I Lived Enough? | Words of Wednesday

The Gardener

Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough, have I come to any conclusions?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?

I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.
Actually, I probably think too much.

Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,
is tending his children, the roses.

Mary Oliver


From Mary Oliver’s 2012 collection, A Thousand Mornings.

The year (my year) is drawing to a close, and I find myself wrestling (as always) with questions of what it means to live well, to live fully. Have I shown up enough? Have I been present enough? Have I done enough? Have I been enough?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. But I do know that I got up every weekday morning, drank matcha, and talked to, fed, played with, cuddled, and generally spent time with my nephew. 

And, somehow, none of the rest of it seems to matter quite as much.

Magnus and Aunty Kar laughing on the couch

Adulting | Words of Wednesday

To grow to adulthood as a social species, including humans, is not to become autonomous and solitary, it’s to become the one on whom others can depend.
–John Cacioppo

Walking with the Nephew


My favorite definition of adulthood.

Quoted in Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown.

Note: I listened to this book in audio format, so I’m relying on a combination of my own and others’ transcriptions (thank you, internet) without the ability to double check punctuation against the original text. I apologize for any errors in accuracy.

I Go Down to the Shore | Words of Wednesday

I Go Down to the Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall–
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

Mary Oliver


From Mary Oliver’s collection A Thousand Mornings. 

A Simple Tuesday

“But here, on our ordinary Tuesdays, is where we make our homes and learn to be human.” –Emily P. Freeman

I startled a deer today. (Well, to be accurate,
Magnus startled the deer, arms waving in a frantic joy,
calling out, in recognition, one being to another, in wonder,
in celebration, in the ecstasy of living. Do you see me? I’m here,
world, I’m here.) It raised its delicate antlers, eyes serious and calm,
the curve of its nose, its ears, its flank, somehow gentle
in their outline, a peaceable wildness in our midst.

Earlier this morning, I sat on a bench, traced words
onto brown paper, the patterned cloth of my Kenyan notebook
smooth against the inside of my palms. The wooden bridge before me
unfolding beneath a canopy of trees (Magnus sings them songs, these trees,
so tall and straight and heavenbound), as the dappled sunlight
filtered onto my pages, into my hair, between my fingers,
and Magnus studied the outline of a long sleek pen,
and wrote no words at all.

Later, I’ll crawl into my bed and nap,
papers strewn across my room’s brown rug
(Magnus’s fingerprints on each and every one), and
later still, I’ll walk beneath a rose-edged sky, wondering
about these moments, and what it means to live them well.
I’m here world. Do you see me? I’m here. A deer grazes
peacefully as I pass. Overhead, the sky darkens
towards dusk, and the first planets blink
into existence. I blink back.

Magnus and Deer