Normally when I travel to work instead of working from home, I’m away for a total of twelve and a half hours. And normally I try to actually work all that time on the bus and the train, so as not to waste it. Needless to say, I’m exhausted when I come home, and there’s nothing of the day left. All I have time and energy for is dinner, an episode of a TV series, and bed.
Today, inspired by the new insights my bullet journal is giving me, I decided to change it up. I mean, is it worth it to run myself into the ground just to be able to shave off a few hours on Friday? No. So today I worked an ordinary eight hour day instead, and the results were amazing.
I had so much time! I could photograph, and edit, and write, and all sorts of creative stuff that really is my lifeblood. And as if to cheer me on, the sun came out the moment I came home, and it stayed out while I strayed through the woods and snapped my photos. It felt like I was out there for an eternity, and yet only two and a half hours have passed!
No matter how tired I am, the forest always manages to rejuvenate me.
I can never get enough of these seeds!
I’ll be honest: once I got home again and started loading all my photos into the computer, I did feel a teensy bit tired again. I mean, I did wake up at 4.30 this morning. It’s just that I forget about being tired while I’m out there in the forest, crouching in the moss to capture those backlit leaves.
But being tired is fine, because you know what? Tomorrow I’m changing it up again and taking the 8.40 bus instead of the 5.35 one and staying later at work.
One of my favourite desserts at Christmas is lingonberry preserve with whipped cream, and it’s the easiest thing to do. You just need a day in the woods and a mason jar. That’s it!
We’re not the only ones who love lingonberries. Apparently a bear beat us to one patch..
Everything is aflame now: the last burst of colour before it all dies. Nature does not go gentle into that winter night, and the dew weeps for the departing souls.
After a few hours, this was our harvest, and it’s enough for a whole week of yummy jam and one mason jar of lingonberry preserve.
First, a note: I feel guilty for posting anything remotely normal. It’s too early, it’s too meaningless. I should be living in a cave for a year to honour the dead.
On the other hand, I feel more obligated to LIVE than I have in a long time. Like I’ve been reminded how precious this world is, and what’s the point of being left behind if you don’t make the most of it?
So tonight I did something I haven’t done for twenty years: I baked.
Hubby had cooked vegetables in chicken stock for dinner, and I used the left over broth for my bread. Managing my resources in a way that connects me to the rest of human history.
It’s a funny thing about autumn – I get this primeval urge to gather, to put away, to stock up on things. Normally I just go for ready-made preserves, but tonight it felt right to do something with my hands.
Bread. The symbol for life.
In the days after news of a death, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re making a statement.
I wanted to be sure that the clear-cut is full of rosebay willowherb next year, so I decided to help Mother Nature along… 🙂
(In the interest of full disclosure, I was massively inspired by this.)
The world is golden.
Everything is ripening.
Even the reeds by the creek are yellowing.
We saw this bird from the car – it might be an osprey, we’re not sure. It had caught a fish and was circling over us with the poor creature in its claws.
Anyone know what it could be?
Many people I know wax lyrical about chanterelles, but we prefer boletus. Every year in August and September, we go for a drive in the forest and pick them.
This Saturday was a perfect day for it. Warm and sunny, just a faint breeze that brushed the fair from my face as I sat staring at the slowly passing forest floor, looking for that special kind of bready brown.
It’s a miracle that anything manages to grow here at all – it’s so dry, and the landscape is quite rough. The firs love it, though!
Not only boletus grows in this sandy earth. Lingonberries are ripening now too. Perfect for preserving in water and a little sugar. Nothing else is needed since they contain natural preservatives, and the result is delicious with wipped cream. I’ll have to make a post about that some day!
Hubby went back to a place where he found sheep polyporus last year, and I abandoned the fungus hunt for a while to explore the nearby stream.
Back home we surveyed our ‘catch’. Luckily most of it was okay (fresh and without too many wormholes).
After dinner, what better end to the evening than taking a walk up the clear-cut? Contrary to expectation, the hewed forest has actually expanded our world. We never went up there before, but now it’s almost mandatory.
There were lots of crowberries up there, a berry that’s considered sort of boring and not very tasty. I have seen people sell crowberry jam at markets, but I’ve never tasted it. Maybe this will be the year?
Heading home in a cloud of tiny winged creatures. 🙂
No matter how small the creature, it’s always at the centre of its own world.
Hubby and I sometimes talk about this in relation to spiders and flies: how they must view the world so differently from us – not only because they have more eyes, but because they hang upside down from tent ceilings and windows. Wonder how this garden looks from their perspective, we say. Do they even have a concept of it, or do they just see their immediate surroundings and ignore the rest? Is the ant’s world comprised of the blade of grass directly in front of it – an obstacle to overcome – or do they think about the ant hill and dream of reaching it faster than yesterday?
Every single organism is at the nave of its own universe. It’s the receptacle for sun and rain, for wind and weather. Everything that happens to it happens in relation to their unique self.
Even in a field of endless waving grain, every seed is an individual.
But what about fungi? Their self resides under ground, and the bodies we see poking up through the forest floor are only satellites revealing a larger presence beneath the surface.
And we humans – can we see beyond our immediate surroundings? Can we grasp the concept of the garden even though we can only see the blade of grass that blocks our way?
Are we individuals, or a seemingly unique expression of something else – something constant, something whole?
One of the perks of living in an old house is that you never know what you will find. In attics and basements, in outhouses and barns, you can discover old junk that someone stored there ‘just in case’. Things that first lost their value in the onslaught of the modern, but since then have gained another kind of value through the romantic tint of Olden Stuffe.
During our latest stay at the cabin, we started cleaning out an old barn in order to display some of these old things in a museum-y way that heightens that value. You only have to put something in a frame or a context to make people see it in a more positive light. What looked like rubbish just now, lying thrown in a dusty corner, is suddenly a relic, an artifact. Like these old cake tins.
It takes some doing to brush away the filth of the decades, but it’s very refreshing to survey the result.
And windows that sit in the cracked old concrete walls of a barn where cows were once kept can suddenly become picturesque just because you put some ancient paraphernalia in them.
Pretty, isn’t it? So let’s ignore the piles of still-unsorted junk right outside the frame…