Sunday, October 28, 2012

At the Writing Cabin

Recognize the writing cabin from the heading? Yesterday was a late October day and the leaves were brown and the leaves were everywhere around Edwin Way Teale's writing cabin at Trail Wood in Hampton, CT. Without a wind or breeze the leaves were descending, one after the other, through the branches to the ground.

It was a cloudy morning, and the farm maintained by the Connecticut Audubon Society was empty. I loved it that way.

The caretaker had unlocked the writing cabin earlier that morning after a request I made to him the day before. To be able to push open the door and stand once again inside the cabin and face Teale's desk was something I needed to do.

I had come home in a way.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Middle of the Night

Two o’clock in the morning is not a time I usually see. If I am going to find myself awake “in the middle of the night,” the clock will usually show that it is already 3:30. During the past week, however, twice I have been roused – almost suddenly it seems – nearer two.

When I walk through the neighborhood the next morning, the mood of 2 am is something I have to work to recall. Seven hours later, the sun is shining on a world that most people would agree upon. I expect no one to guess where my heart goes sometimes when I get out of bed at two o’clock.

I get up having learned not to trust the other places I could end up if I stay in bed.

I am willing to fall back asleep if it is possible. Experience tells me, though, to settle in a corner of the living-room couch, to turn a lamp on, to take up a nearby book of poems or prayers. Something there is that I have to sit with.

I do not feel particularly religious at that point. I am exhausted actually. I am trying to figure a way to carry something. I am trying to find a way to carry myself.

Last night I took time to find my place in the breviary, a book of psalms arranged in four weeks. When I found Week Three, I stayed with one of the psalms collected there. And then the awareness dawned. Here was a psalm I could encounter a month from now when Week Three comes back in the cycle. It will be November then, and I will be able to sit with it again. I will be someone who may need to sit with it or something like it at two o’clock of another morning.

Whenever I might need it in the two or three or twelve months to come, not only will it be there. I will be there too.

The message – and with it the return of sleepiness – turned out to be a simple thing.

Something I might need one day is possible.

The someone I might need to be is possible.

How did I get to live in a world as good as this?

In the words of the old hymn, Blessed assurance.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Landscape in Miniature

When I close my front door these mornings of early October, I look up and around. I want not to miss what new traces of the season may just have appeared.

Today I remembered to look down as well.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Beets and Sweet Potatoes

There are times when you need to eat something you remember your parents eating. You need to eat what was on your dinner plate when you were barely in your teens. Some staple of your mother's meals. Something like beets.

Years may have gone by when evening meals could pass with nary a baked sweet potato in sight. You ate well but your mother had regularly treated the family to sweet potatoes carried from a rack in the oven directly to your plate. She might not recognize lime aioli or salsa as accompaniments worth learning the names of -- much less using in place of cinnamon. But she knew how Louisiana in the 1950s could feed a family.