Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Horn Dance

We live in a shady glen here, surrounded by trees, but if I press my face to the  glass in the front and back of the house, I can see the hills. If I am mindful, I remember to look at them in the morning, when they are blue and gray, or frosted, like today. In the afternoon they are naked, drastically different hills from their lush and wanton summer selves. Across October, they spent a few weeks turning yellow and orange. Then one morning I woke to find all the leaves had dropped, except the red ones. Now they display fantastic tangles of bare branches and tufts of peacock-shaped crimson, a somewhat Suessian landscape, gray lines exploding with rainbows of red. In the late afternoon the sun wraps the hills in gold and crimson, the long white trunks luminous and glowing, anyway, in the dying light. If I bend down and peer through the arch of trees, I can see the pale cornfield two houses down. Today it is tipped in frost.

 I love these autumn woods far more than I loved them in summer.

Yesterday I stood gazing at those hills, at my neighbor's tree which was, indeed, copper like a trumpet call against a bright blue sky. I was thinking about worth. I'm not feeling worth much myself these days. Moving for my husband's job has brought on a bit of role confusion I did not anticipate. I got a job of my own and then had to turn it down, because getting a brewery up and running is placing extreme demands on my husband's time, and he can't commit to being home with the girls in the evenings nor on the weekends. I'm not making any money off my writing, which I set out years ago to do. I want to feel worthy. I don't want to get a job. I want to experience all the world at the same time I want to hide away from it like a hermit in the forest, alone with stories and poems.

There are three things I don't know: I don't know how humans survive the things we do, I don't know why my blogs always sound so melancholy when the heart of me is stupidly idealistic, the third thing I forget. This morning I woke early and went down the hall to find my husband gently waking our daughters, who were nestled into bed together. Moving here has bonded them, I think. They can often be caught hugging one another, fondly cradling and stroking each other's flushed pink faces. Behind them the morning sun shone bright through the window, over the white frosted grass, and backlit them all in heavenly light. For three nights in a row, I dreamed of paths. One through a thick forest of bracken and bramble, one through sinuous brick streets of an old European city, one through canals overgrown with weeping trees and low-slung magnolia. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am a Gemini. There will never be a singularity to my nature. I have a twin that dwells in me. When I proclaim this to my husband, he keeps a straight face.

When my dad was here I told him about my guilt over my decorative, garage-sale antlers. Guilt that an animal had to die, to sacrifice this blood and bone, so I might adorn my house. My dad told me this wasn't necessarily true. He told me that in the deep of winter, deer actually shed their antlers. They drop them in the forest like offerings, unconcerned, unburdened, and grow new ones again come spring. The people of long, long ago would walk through sleeping forests, gather these things that nature had surrendered, take them home to fires and turn battle-bone into a sacred dance.

Lay down locked horns and dance.

Here is why my blogs sound the way they do: everything is so beautiful it hurts.


  1. That looks beautiful. Bea, you're worth a lot to me. Not that it matters when it comes to what you're talking about, but still.

    Your girls :) There are some things that only a sister can understand. I'm glad they have each other.

  2. I just let out a little whimper in my cubicle. I wonder if anyone heard it. And here's the sentence that resonated and brought peace to my exposed/hurting heart: They drop them in the forest like offerings, unconcerned, unburdened, and grow new ones again come spring. I have felt so burdened with this new role I have taken on...being away from my home working. I know it's not forever. But, maybe I don't have to be so burdened by it. Maybe I can just offer it up as an offering, as you so eloquently said. YES. I am writing this down and it shall be my mantra. thank you!! And I wish for you that you could just write and get lots and lots of money. Your writing is so soul quenching.

  3. Thank you, Alicen. You brought tears to my eyes. I was having trouble bringing that metaphor full circle, now you've done it for me.

  4. well, it's on a sticky note on my monitor now, just so you know. :)

  5. Yes, they shed their antlers, as the trees shed their leaves. Wait for spring and the deer will have new racks clothed in velvet. There is no use for the gallant display of antlers in winter, it's all survival then, down to the bone, all that matters is the yearning in the heart.

    Jeez! I read your blog and start to write like you! It's infectious! Beauty follows beauty!
    Love Dad!

  6. I totally get the antlers. I paint about them all the time. I think I lost you in the new facebook mix for a while. I'm glad a I found you again!

  7. I sometimes balk at the amount of angst that goes into my blog and ridiculously try to remember if I've posted anything "cheerful" in a while. The weird thing is that on the days I'm most dark, I get the fewest comments and the most hits. Maybe we're all out here, deers, dropping our antlers like offerings.

  8. As a summer-lover who weeps a little with the first changing leaf, I love this post. There's a reason our lives are often compared to seasons, and I really need to find the beauty in the one I'm in. LOVE the last picture - STUNNING.

  9. I wonder what my purpose and worth is too. I was at home with kids for so long, but now the youngest is gone all day, in first grade. I was a stay-at-home mom, but now I'm just a stay-at-home; there's no one to mom. I don't want a job either. I want to read and cross-stitch and help out at school and Be and Hear and See and Do. I often myself that everybody else is looking at me and thinking "lazy bum!", and so I don't allow myself to enjoy where I am in life. I need to work on that.Did you know when you posted this that it would be a therapy session of sorts for me?

  10. i have yet to encounter autumn in the summer but then i am not american. i do like your travel writing. there is an ironic mix sometimes such as juxtaposing grant with lee and stonewall in north carolina.

    i think you might drink too much but i like margaritas too especially the salt and its crunch or that could be the beer glass after one too manyor. frozen yogourts in airports are always good albeit having a sudden urge to have babies has never happened to me.

    i am sure that one day i might your book in the bookstore. good travel writers are difficult to find especially when you can write of home as if you were travelling there too. i kind of like that.



link within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...