This Time of Year

This time of year, late fall transitioning into early winter, is my least favorite time of year.

Trees have shed their leaves and draw inward with just their skeleton trunk and branches remaining. I miss the leaves and their whispers and rustlings. More than just missing, I actually mourn.

mostly-barren
I felt a strong urge to clean my house this autumn, a deep and thorough cleaning that required a ladder to get to the cobwebs dangling across the high ceiling beams, and to the dust that had settled on top of the cabinets, closets, and ceiling fans. I took everything out of the kitchen cabinets, every single thing, and cleaned inside the cabinets as well. I only put back what we really use; the rest is waiting for a trip to the thrift store.
I removed everything from the pantry and threw out many of my old herbs and spices (the compost received them with equanimity). I reorganized my dry goods jars, lentils, beans, grains. It looks more spacious in there now and I can find everything I need.

tree-branch-and-sun-spot

The leaves kept falling and I kept cleaning and decluttering.

I miss the leaves but I do like the spaciousness they left behind – spotting houses through the trees that I had not seen before, appreciating the unique shapes of bare tree branches, noticing a woodpecker more quickly without the cover of leaves.

Then there was this last tree that clung to its leaves much longer than its neighbors.  It glowed golden orange in the setting sun, the last holdout of the glorious autumn season.  It, too, eventually dropped its leaves and surrendered to the stern commands of Nature’s law of continual change.

flaming-orange

Despite the depressing November elections here in the US, things are getting clearer in my mind, and more organized. As the outer cleaning happened, the inner sorting and clearing occurred as well. I know my priorities, I have a plan for moving forward. Winter will provide a chance to draw inward, sink roots even more deeply into the ground, gather momentum, nourish new alliances.

We can spruce up winter with sparkling lights, fragrant evergreens, and other delightful decorations to lift our light-deprived spirit; however, the deep underground work must happen in the dark.

And so it will.

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: It’s Not this Time of Year Without…

Posted in Musings, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Iceland Magic: Geysers

In the land of cold and ice, water vapors betray its hidden seething innards

land-of-water-vapors

Hot water bubbles to the surface, ready to fill a tea pot

litli-geysir

But here, a much fiercer force is preparing to emerge. His name is Strokkur.

waiting-for-strokkur-to-erupt

Excitement builds

the-bubble

And then he blows

eruption-1

Hurling himself towards the sky

eruption-2

A force that cannot be contained – exuberant, reckless, wild

sheer-force

Spent, he curls back inside the stony caverns

after-the-eruption

For a few moments, calm returns. But everyone knows, it’s only the quiet before the next storm.

the-quiet-before-the-storm-150

Here are Litli Geysir and Strokkur caught on video:

The DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic.

Posted in Adventure, Travel Iceland, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Icelandic Elves

Somewhere in the Southwestern part of Iceland…

A crater filled with blue water rippled by merciless winds…..green vegetation touched by autumn warmth spilling down the brown and red cone-shaped walls.

Tiny elf people hike along the crater rim; some ventured way down to the water’s edge.

crater-lake

people-on-crater-rim

The DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny.

Posted in Adventure, Travel Iceland, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Transmogrification – Iceland

Transmogrify – to change, morph, transform.

My first trip to Iceland introduced me to a landscape that somehow rattled the portal to ancient memories.

entering-thingvellir

Rock, water, mountain – primeval elements transported me back in time, a thousand years ago.

mossy-rocks-and-thingvellir-valley

Wind, ice, sun, lava – elemental forces that transform the geography of place….and the geography of soul.

split-rocks

Even before I have my DNA tested, I know that it carries Viking blood.
I know THIS place. I have been here before.

thingvellir-valley

I felt transported back in time, listening to people talking a language I could almost understand, swords clanging, horses neighing. Times were hard, the climate even harsher. Survival was uncertain and never taken for granted.

And, yet, we are still here, more numerous than ever before, crowding together in ever-expanding cities across the globe.
Here in Iceland, though, you can still hear the earth’s heart beat and dream of the early times.

autumn-colors-at-thingvellir

The DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Transmogrify.

Posted in Adventure, Travel Iceland, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Local Color

Here, in the mountains and high valleys of Virginia, autumn colors have been intensifying over the last few days. Is there anything more spectacular than sunlight warming autumn’s red and golden leaves?

autumn woods

Autumn – thanksgiving for the rich gifts the earth has showered us with.

red-and-yellow-leaves-on-gravel

Fall’s tapestry of earth tones drape the landscape into a final warm embrace before winter knocks at the door.

fall-color-along-the-road

And just like this leaf is suspended for a few fleeting moments in some dry grasses, the season displays itself in its expansive fullness – for a few deep breaths. Then, the cold winds and laws of change will move us to the next phase. Who’s afraid of change?

yellow-leaf-suspended

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Local.

Posted in Appalachia, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , | 38 Comments