“I Know This Place”

By , October 22, 2014

After more than two weeks of travel outside (see To Grandmother’s House I Go . . . .) I’m re-emersing myself in our home. These last couple of days I’ve wandered around the property, drinking in the sights, sounds and smells. I inhale the fragrance of breakfast heating in cast iron, mingled with brewing coffee. The aroma of a lit match makes my head swim with gratitude and relief. I’m delighted to see birds on the water, fresh snow on the mountains, garden beds heaped with compost for the winter, and leaf litter on the trails. I’m lost in Michelle’s smiles and touch. Shinrin-yoku, a vital aspect of our lives long before we knew the term, seems to heal me each moment as I am reabsorbed by the “homestead,” and by big-N Nature (see Shinrin-Yoku). At every turn, I find myself thinking, “I know this place.”

Some rhythms of the lifestyle return sooner than others. I need to work at a few of them, to shift gears from what most people regard as “normal life” to the opportunities and demands of life off the grid. I’m taking it slow, resurfacing from the depths so I don’t get the bends. Tuesday, I spent much of the day catching up on the wine work I left hanging while gone. It’ll take me a few more days to get around to my habit of writing letters. More urgent chores, like ensuring the wood piles stay dry in deep autumn/early winter storms, may require a more forceful reorientation.

In my absence, autumn has nearly passed, and winter stands hard by. Most of the leaves are now gone. I see very few mushrooms in the forest. Chill pervades the air around me. I feel as if I’ve missed something; I suppose that’s true. I’ve been gone during one of my most favorite times of the year, and as trivial as that may seem to some, I feel the loss.

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