(The Celtic Halloween)

-Annie Finch

In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.

Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor

I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my own mind across another,
I am with my mother's mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings

arms that carry answers for me,
intimate, a waiting bounty.
"Carry me." She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual gaze.


as october nears end

last night I drank hot cider with whiskey and the rain fell for hours. this morning the air is clear and everything is in droplets. the aspen outside the kitchen window contrasting against the wet, dark fence. I found a piece of wood turned bright orange in the rain. 

the acequia is running full, but also the Rio Hondo is rushing. I can hear it from our yard, though it is almost a mile away. it is so loud I first thought an engine must be running nearby. the water comes from the mountains, and eventually it all runs to the Rio Grande, especially now that it isn't irrigating fields.

the leaves are a sodden mess, in all their greens, yellows and reds.

the valley has turned rust-colored. I've pulled out my sweaters and packed away my shorts. Libby the cat has been safekeeping her toys in D.'s shoes, we've found three so far--she seems to be nesting for winter in her own way. we've accepted the reality that though we have a lot of wood, we'll need even more. and yesterday I applied for a New Mexico driver's license...which made me cry a little, as I still have occasions which I feel misplaced here, and yearn for the comfort of the Plains. though in looking back to a year ago, that "homesick" feeling has very lessened since then. 


fall in the mtns

we don't have to drive up very far to find snowy patches. we cut lots of wood on wednesday, all the while under the tallest trees, and our boots crunching in the snow. I found a hollow tree, and took pictures of it, wondering who might call the little wooden cave home. 

today woke to a cloudy, rainy morning. the yellow leaves darkened by the rain, looking orange in the trees.

I keep having these dreams with an old theme, that I've been forgetting to go to class. and not that I forgot one day, that I manage to go entire semesters without remembering. and when I do decide to make sure I get there, everything gets in the way--I have to wade though long, muddy fields or I can't find the street...and I always have to walk, no matter how far away the "school" is.  
D. tells me that it is just my own unfortunate beliefs in my own inabilities, haunting my dreams. 


city weekend

occasionally one must leave the ground and fly off to the city. we'd both been to this city before, but it is one we don't mind seeing again, and this time it was with each other. & we had a wedding to attend, with me to stand up with the bride. our first morning was grey & windy, as we walked up & down the lake. tall buildings cloaked in clouds, and our noses pink from cold. 

the next morning, sunny. everywhere looking up, I was distracted by decorative moldings, sun's light carved into brick & stone, the awe that people live among such tall buildings in the sky. we kept losing our sense of direction without a horizon to gauge.

we were staying in one of Chicago's historic hotels downtown. and the lobby was a bit breathtaking, in its art & opulence and also in its energy, as it was always a bustle and filled by the din of voices from everywhere. we managed to sip coffee there, with friends. and also have a late night cocktail, allowing the overpriced drink to be admission for the enjoyment of the view.

managed to see friends who were also in town from faraway, though not for the same reasons. ate deep-dish pizza & found time to chat in the midst of so many things. 

I used to go to weddings alone, and it always felt like I was missing something. it took me forever to find the love of my life, and now having him with me, for weddings or for traveling, or even for figuring out the propane bill... is in itself a happiness. I used to have to grab hope for these things. And even though I was perfectly capable on my own, now having a partner to share all these things, is something I know I deserve, but also something that makes me feel like one lucky-ass woman.

while d. had time to explore the city, I spent quality time with the bride, as hair & makeup was done, fancy attire put on, and nerves bounded all over the place. all-in-all a wedding that went as planned, and the bride was happy. and so were all the guests. and even though I cried giving my toast, I wasn't as nervous up there in front of the microphone as I'd expected. but I think it was because I was on my 2nd drink on a hungry stomach. the wedding ended the trip, & we were up early with the sun for our journey back to la tierra. the first thing we noticed, on the ground in new mexico, was our incredibly warm sunshine. 


colors & finds

fall colors high up in the mountains.

we were up cutting wood. and we found the finger bones of a bear.

but, they didn't come home with us.


fall walks

I've been trying to take a short walk each day on our road. (I'm not the best at getting out and exercising.)

this little walk takes me from the bottom of our driveway, winds down to the river, and curves up our little mountain. I feel my calves burn a little from the climb, and I feel my lungs wonder where all the oxygen is. I see the changing colors, hear the river rushing by, walk past bear shit and convince myself to be curious rather than afraid. today I noticed leaves falling, and noted I should find out what kind of tree they are from. 

sometimes I find myself counting my steps. and I can't quit. even if I distract myself with real thoughts, eventually I again hear in my head the numbers in pace with the steps. 

and I take pictures.


we have an old camp chair by the acequia, next to a large shady tree. yesterday morning I sat there for a little while reading a book, feeling the warm warm sunshine on my arms & face. when I looked up I saw a coyote coming through the overgrown brush along the water, he was heading my way. short, quick and with his nose down. he didn't see me until I moved suddenly, out of shock. then he ran the other way. oh why did I move at all, I could have watched him cross the water over to the pasture. his coat was red in the sunlight.

I stepped inside, waiting for him to come back. he didn't. he kept going the other way.

in most native american folklore, the coyote is known as a trickster. some believe the coyote is responsible for teaching the people how to hunt. many think that witches disguise themselves as coyotes as they travel the land. one pueblo legend credits the coyote with spilling the jar of stars which mother nature had been hoping to hang nicely in the sky, thus being responsible for their scattered twinkling.

a friend of ours who grew up here, he pronounces it like a taoseño. I try to let it roll of my tongue this way. coy-yo-té.


as fall arrives

as fall arrives, so do the colors change. I can see in the light, that it is losing the reflection of all the green, and gaining more yellow, orange & brown. the field outside our adobe, turning into a plain of rust, gold, lavender, bright red and sand. oxido, oro, morado y rojo. 

though am trying to stay thrifty, visited the farmer's market on saturday. didn't let myself buy a piece of lavender/sage art, and admired the brightly colored ristras now on everyone's stall. I bought butternut, zucchini, candy onions and garlic. and some little apples. manzanitas. 

an older farmer, with cowboy hat and a crisp, tucked-in western shirt, stopped me as I walked by his booth. he was excited for me to try some of his golden apples. with his heavy taoseño accent he insisted I try a piece. I couldn't say no. and he was right to press me, they are sweet & crisp and full of a green taste. I bought a pound for $2. knowing that later some of them would become chopped, covered in cinnamon & sugar, and folded into a buttery pastry. (the exuberance of which d loves these pastries, makes me almost addicted to making them for him.)

the night before we had our first hard freeze. and it did hit hard. everything that had been so full of life, now wilted and brown, closing down because of the cold air. this is summer into fall.