Sept 22nd and here we are, Leigh and I, back in the WNC mountains for fall. Although we had planned (in our crazy secret heart of hearts) to be happily planted in our new garden of delights in some county not far from this tiny rental in Mitchell Co., it simply took longer than we thought, as these things will. We just knew that we would already be established, moved in, working at our business, planting garlic and scattering the seeds for new poems. Reality can be a hard reminder that Spirit does not have our time constraints and the Earth moves at a pace which is not always in synch with our own. So, on the first day of Autumn Equinox, we’re painting and digging and waiting for workers to come and help prepare our place so we can move in and make more plans.
The most important part of the job is done. Five Apple Farm is found, along with the Jewel Box. I only asked for a guest room and got a guest house! The universe is so generous at times, remembering of course, it both giveth and taketh away. The location, as the crow flies, is actually less than a mile from where we lived when we left NC for Arkansas eight years ago. Out of a four county radius, we landed right back in the S. Toe Valley. I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that.
We are, however, nowhere near moving in. The house, built in the 1960’s with paneled walls, thick carpeting, and harvest gold appliances (that actually work) must be renovated before we can leave the rental to live at Five Apple, which Leigh named for the trees thick with multi-colored fruits grouped at the edge of our property. Besides the creek that cuts through the front part of nearly five acres, my favorite place is the “Indian field.” I call it this because rumor has it, and arrowheads and pottery shards seem to prove it, that the Cherokee camped there during the summer hunting and harvesting months. The spring which they discovered is the same one we will be drinking and bathing from. It all feels so, I don’t know, sacred or magical or holy. We are blessed and we are aware of it. However, as the nights drop down into the 40’s, we are ready to be moved and living at our new place.
As you can imagine, all this renovating and motor-vating back and forth between the rental and the real house leaves little time for motivating you or even me to write, read, or follow through on my real work. Drawing out a bead of paint along a baseboard is not the same as following the golden thread of inspiration, but hard work is good for the soul, and I like touching my home all over. The mind and body are one, after all. I am making this place my home as I sand, clean, and paint it. Yet, I must have one day to devote to my real work, the writing down of all that experience. So today, for the first day of fall, I spent an hour reading poetry and then wrote one of my own to honor the season I love best. I try to mark this especially poignant and haunting time with a piece of writing every year. Perhaps the shortening of the days and the lower slant of light inspires you, too. Don’t ignore that nudge of intuition (as my friend Liz calls it), but allow yourself to find the palette or the page and draw your own conclusions.First Day of Fall Here in the mountains there is a true change of seasons, so sharp and clear in evening light: trees are cut-outs of themselves and every blade of grass on the hill or in the field is singular, blood-tipped inspiring the scarleting of leaves. The sun breaks like an egg upon the crest pours light down the ridges flows into the rivers below, gilding water reflection-less. Heavy dew heralds October frosts soaking canvas sneakers we trade for leather boots. Waves of hardwoods twitch with first color knowing how naked they’ll be by November. Halloween is real here; not little ghosties with holes cut for eyes, but spirits who’ve haunted these hills thousands of years appear as mists, spin through the valleys rise from the mountains whiter than sheets losing themselves in the slanting sun only to reappear at night touch us with a hint of ice– this temporary ending seeming such a deadly thing to a summer fling.