Now, where did I leave that?

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Fall whispered in my ear today,
a seductive murmur
beckoning my soul.

Sandalwood breath caressed my cheek
a quiver of longing
shivering down my spine.

Delicate fingers caught at mine,
a tracing of secrets
hiding in the dark.

Fall whispered in my ear today,
a remembered lover
dancing in moonlight.

(copyright Ashling Kelly, 2012)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fall Whispered in My Ear Yesterday

...a sweet, seductive whisper born more of circumstance and opportunity than substance and reality. But it still managed to send shivers of anticipation down my spine.

We wandered to Heather Ridge Farm

and upon emerging from the car were greeted by cool breezes, temperatures ten degrees less than down below, and views to steal both breath and heart....

We made our way up to the farm store and Bee's Knees Cafe, admiring the wrinkles and patina time had blessed it with, the strength with which it clings to its hillside.

We shopped with a purpose, because although Heather Ridge is renowned for many things, we made a beeline for....HONEY! Yes, we have bees, but so far have left their honey for them to build up their colonies. Heather Ridge sells a light Summer honey, and the beautifully darker Fall version I love. But their Irish-style lemon honey is rich and sweet, kissed with lemon oil and good enough to eat from the jar, which, ummm, we both do. Often.

We also did some freezer-stocking with amazingly juicy, beautifully seasoned hot dogs made from their own beef (I'm not a hot dog fan, but these rise so far and above what we call hot dogs that they deserve a different name), their homemade Italian sausage and a sweet, hearty Red Russian soup. Then we settled onto an umbrella-ed picnic table with iced coffee & chai, hot dogs & cole slaw. Our silverware was wrapped in cloth napkins, the placemats cut from colorful feed bags, fresh flowers adorned each table. A breeze ruffled through our hair, and voices were just murmurings in the wondrous silence. You know, as a society we don't realize how much noise punctuates our lives until there's none. The absence of noise soothed and relaxed us; we could have set up a hammock and happily dozed off in that blanket of quiet, the mountains our last view before dreams embraced us.

We're looking forward to visiting again in the Fall.

A long meandering drive later, we stopped home, picked up the dogs, and took them walking at Olana. It was much warmer there but the woods were shady. A break in the trees revealed an unexpected peek at the awe-inspiring former home of Frederic Church drenched in early evening sun...

Before we knew it, Lola & Yeti were ready for home and dinner, so with a last glimpse of the lake, we headed home.

And dreamt of the sweet promise of Fall. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nebulous Anniversaries

  I'm a time person. I wear a watch whenever I leave the house. We have 4 timekeeping devices (regular clock, stove, coffeemaker & microwave) in the kitchen, one in the livingroom, one in our home office, two in the bedroom. I have two calendars in my office at work. I remember anniversaries, big & small, happy and sad. Time as a concept fascinates me. When I was a kid, we got one of the very early 'digital' clock radios, the kind that had tiny numbered cards that flipped as each minute passed. I was an insomniac growing up, a propensity born of being dragged (literally) from my bed to go  properly sweep the kitchen floor, dry the dishes better, or be punished for some transgression I might have committed during the day. Eventually, I couldn't fall asleep until everyone in the house had gone to bed and was likely asleep, until I felt safe. So I would lay awake in the dark, listening to my sister's soft breathing, and watch that clock; I'd allow myself to literally watch time flip by with an almost imperceptible click. It felt wasteful, and yet somehow gave me a sense of control...each minute was consciously mine until the next number dropped into place, and then it would begin again.

Time rushes by faster now, but I still always know the date & time; marking dates is important to me. I know what day we got each of our dogs, what time my sons were born, what day (and time) I got the phone call when each of my parents died, what day we moved into our house up here (and that it was many endless hours later than we'd planned). And I know the day that my friendship with a womon named Linda turned a corner, even if neither of us recognized the moment when it happened.

We'd known each other about a year-and-a-half, through working together for a womyn's festival. At the 2004 festival, we'd really connected, first when I invited myself to wait out a thunderstorm on her cabin steps, then talking late into the night as fire circles lit the night, womyn chanted & drums kept rhythm. We were just two people who found it easy to talk to each other. Afterwards we developed a pretty steady email correspondence, discussing everything from politics to religion to movies to baby racoons & grown sons. Nothing ever entered our minds besides getting to know each other, friend to friend. And then one day Linda mentioned in an email that she was going to Vermont over Labor Day weekend. I invited her to visit on her way up or back, to break up the very long drive. To my great surprise, she suggested I go to Vermont too. It was an open-house kind of gathering, with everyone just setting up tents on the land. I thought it was a pretty cool, change-of-pace thing to do, two friends going on an adventure, so I agreed to go along.

That email exchange was 8 years ago this past week, and changed both our lives. We didn't plan it, didn't expect it, and neither of us was 'looking'. It wasn't until the trip ended and Linda got home that--again through email--we realized & acknowledged how we felt, each of us assuming the other didn't feel the same. There are many anniversaries that sprang from that weekend. An email exchange may seem an odd anniversary, but each year at this time I search my archived folders for those cyber-missives and re-send them to Linda. They remind me that life can change as quickly as the numbers changed on my 'digital' clock radio, and that time is too precious to be wasted.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


  The other day my sons' father sent me a wistful email that just said "You know, I thought parenting would get easier as they got older...". My reply was that when they're little and hurting, bandaids, hugs, and a rousing episode of Stuffed Animal Theatre (a nightly bedtime ritual he created to entertain the kids, using their massive collections of stuffed animals) usually did the trick. Hurts back then were skinned knees, a nasty teacher, an unexpected 'no', a spat at pre-school. We could heal half a dozen hurts, do laundry, and make lunch with one hand tied behind our backs. Those days are gone.

  The phrase "I feel your pain" had to have been coined by a parent. We feel every hurt, every fear, every sadness that our children do, even when they're adults (maybe even more then). Their pain echoes in our souls while we pray & hope, wanting desperately to pull out the neosporin and a bandaid, kiss the boo-boo better, and seal the deal with a cookie and the magic words "You can stay up late to watch the Oakland A's game" (or, with my younger son, the 216th showing of his 101 Dalmations video). A dear friend once remarked that 'white hair is what happens to mothers during all those nights spent worrying about their children in the moonlight'. Love that oh-so-appropriate thought.  We pass the wee hours aching to scoop our hurting child up from the raging river, carry him or her so carefully and gently through the icy rapids, not caring that we're cold & wet with muscles straining, and deposit them safely in the lush, sun-drenched green meadow on the other side, where we'll watch them run off laughing, tossing us a careless wave as they move on to the next adventure. We want that with all that we have and are...but it's not in our power.

  Maybe, just maybe, we can wait on that distant shore, toss a branch or a rope, call out encouragement, but mostly we just have to wait and watch and pray and root for them. We know what's waiting just a step or two past the foaming river. We know the solace, joy and life waiting for them on the other side, even if all they can see is angry water and treacherous rocks. We've been through the river, been battered against the rocks, sure we would drown, maybe even wanting to drown. And we know what awaits when they pull themselves, stronger and wiser, from the grasp of that torrent. We know that they'll  feel warm breezes in their hair, roll in the cool green grass and laugh out loud from the sheer joy of living.

  We know this, but they don't. And so we lay awake in the moonlight, remember when they were little and innocent and warm curled up next to us listening to The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, and wait for them on the shore.