Morning, warming by the fire, with coats and hats and mittens hanging, dripping, drying. Outside, the snow continues, amasses, piles a heavy load. Just back from feeding horses. They are worked up, snorting and running about because there’s a big old bull moose out there who doesn’t get that he’s not welcome. Now safe and warm inside, I watch from the big south window at them milling around, but they’re still upset and won’t put their heads down to eat. All but Norman, who has his head down and wastes no time on such silly things that the others can take care of.
Evening, warming by the fire, with coats and hats and mittens hanging, dripping, drying. Just back in from a ski with Gunnar along the river, oddly still open and full and shiny black against the flat white landscape. Blurred lines in heavy snow. Soft silhouettes of geese, duck, hawk and eagle. Now warming my hands and pulling out dry clothes before heading back out to feed again. And still it snows.
Winter. So far, so good.
A big one rolled in and has remains with us for days. White sky, white ground, white on the horses backs, the dog’s nose, deep up to our knees. The truck is out. We are in. Here with a deep winter world.
The horses don’t particularly like it. It’s a warm wet snow which is harder on them than a cold dry one. It won’t last, but the next couple of days might be not fun. They are grouchy, short of temper, snip and snap and one another. I will not work with them now, but feed quickly, and walk away and wait for this to pass.
The adventure of standing still.
Time to write.
And to keep up with friends.
“A very simple life. I make it full yet not stuffed and filled, if that makes sense. Time to walk, think, write, watch the snow fall, and feel the cold outside then the warmth of the woodstove inside. We all rate success differently. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s. And still a creation in progress, as you too show me, life always is, always changing.”
“I need seasons. Here, there, where ever. I need that balance of time like putting your garden to bed, letting it be, fallow and dormant, and then reawakening after a deep slumber. In summer I work. In winter, I dream. I know that’s kind of weird, and very extreme, but it works for me, and connects me more to the land.”
“Professionally, as a writer, I do not know. What is my responsibility? As writers… what matters most? A wonderful challenge presents itself. Truth or beauty? Responsibility, environmental concerns, social ethos, pathos, or simply… entertainment?”
Except for my love of my family and four leggeds, my love of the land is my greatest passion. Unlike Mr. Berry, who said, “I have never not known where I belong,” I have spent a lifetime searching. I have been on this mountain only a dozen years. I tried to leave her. I could not. Now I watch her standing strong in this volatile time when the trees are dying – not just a few, patches here and there – but mountain after mountain after mountain in these great big waves that turn blue and green into red and brown. And then I saw her burn. A hundred thousand acres up to a few miles away from my front door. Not much press. Not much people around here. Just trees. And trees don’t scream.
So… I’ll write. (No, I don’t scream much.) I’ll carry the burden of the world we love because we are here, we see, we feel, we are intimately connected with the land. And because the land can’t speak for herself. Or maybe she does. We just need to listen.
I’m no greenie, no environmentalist, in fact, I don’t want a label and don’t want to side up with anyone from behind a desk who likes to call me names. Maybe mother, wife, horsewoman, fencer, builder, baker, cook and cleaner… Mountain Mama. That’s about it.
Now it’s time this woman wrote about what she sees.
Final thought to leave you with.
Forever looking forward.
When I was a little girl, I used to flip through the fashion magazines and say, “When I grow up, I want to look like that.” By the time I was twenty, I did.
Now at nearly fifty, I see a picture of a beautiful, classy older woman, like Doris Lessing at 90, and still I say the same.
“When I grow up…”
A quiet voice from a high, harsh mountain.
And yet today, she feels so soft.
9 thoughts on “The adventure of standing still.”
Love this! And all your posts. What was that blue bird?? And no, Gin, we age, but hopefully never fully grow up. I hope to always keep growing…
Your words touch me. I too always wonder what I will do and what I will be when I grow up. At 75, my wonder continues as strong as ever. The wonder would only cease if I were to give up. That is not in the cards. In my prison program, my inmate friends (my new literary bosses, over 120 of them to date) ask me if I will ever quit running my program. I respond, “Not until I drop! How’s that for company loyalty”. Check my web site. There is a magazine article on my prison program, also a You Tube interview on my program.
Really, Dick, that is (you are!) fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing, and for the inspiration.
When I grow up, I want to write like you.
Never grow up. And write like you. They say Mark Twain’s beauty lies in that he wrote like a child. He’s to staying childlike, and just pretending we’re all grown up.
You have proper seasons…..not just warmer days and cooler muddier days…..I am a little bit envious.
I used to look about for a place where I would feel perfectly at home, and of course it was not to be found. Then the truth emerged, that one needs to feel at home in oneself. And that particular journey can be the longest and hardest. When one is content within, there will be better and worse places to be, but nowhere absolutely right…..I think so, anyway. Besides, amidst perfection the blade of creativity dulls for want of exercise.
Finally, Gin, I don’t like to consider you and Doris Lessing in the same breath. There’s a woman who abandoned two young children because – as she put it – intellectuals should not need to be bored by the company of their progeny. Is a Nobel prize worth two human lives? Unlike her, you have combined creative expression with raising a remarkable young man. And you have become an example to women rather than just pontificating about “feminism” from the comfort of a desk.
Julian, You are so thoughtful and I don’t know if I am deserving of your words but I will try to be. I do feel too that I owe much to the feminists who worked before me to allow me the choice – and I chose to be a mother first and foremost. It is not without personal gain and selfishness, I confess, for nothing has given me more pleasure or pride in this world. Oh how wonderful to know we will be able to share our world with you this coming year!
I’m so glad you are home after 2 winters away from the ranch!