Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Into the Woods

I'm blissed out on a forest right now. We went for a long hike in one yesterday. A three-hour tour of Pyramid Mountain Natural Historical Area in the borough of Kinnelon and Montville Townships. This wilderness land was used as a hunting, fishing, and gathering site for over 10,000 years by Native Americans, including the Lenape Indians, who were encountered by the first European settlers over three hundred years ago. And it's right here in New Jersey--the state people claim is the armpit of America. I'm here to tell you, it is not even close. It's beautiful. Maybe not the Grand Canyon or Sedona or the wild coast of Washington State, but it has it's own quiet beauty, too.

The place we were hiking to is called Tripod Rock. This famous multi-ton boulder is balanced on three smaller boulders. It is 15 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 8 feet high. There is a peculiar triangular crest running the length of its top. The entire boulder is balanced two feet above the bedrock on three smaller stones. The point of contact between the main boulder and its support stones formed an approximate 3-4-5 triangle.

As we hiked I found myself going to this very quiet place inside myself. It's amazing to listen to the sounds around you, the birds singing and calling to each other, small animals picking their way through the leafy undergrowth, the breeze blowing gently through the canopy above us. It's fun to remember the forest from your childhood. It's always been a magical, mystical place for me. I remember roaming the woods near our house in Pennsylvania when I was in elementary school; looking for huge acorns to make into tiny people, searching for giant leaves to use as an umbrella, tracking animals by their footprints, taking note of a million specimens of trees and shrubs, flowers, fauna, mosses and ground cover. I remember plunging my hand into a brook to pull out a crayfish and sitting on a log pretending I was a king in his castle. The forest. All of it breathtaking and mysterious. I loved the smell of the ground and the sound of leaves crunching under my feet.

One of my favorite pieces of the forest back then, and still today, are the logs of fallen trees--decomposed and rotting, almost returned to their original state of being--but filled with new life to come. An organic example of life on earth.

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

--Philip Larkin

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I'm just going to link to this amazing woman's post today, because she said it so incredibly-so perfectly-it's almost as if she looked inside me and read my heart. I couldn't have said it better so I won't even try. . .

Friday, May 22, 2009

5 Senses Friday

It's been too long again, but I'm not going to beat myself up about that here and now. I am going to play this game though. On such a sunny, beautiful Friday it only seems right:


. new organic coffee straight from the underused grinder
. Ritter Sport dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts
. Smooze! coconut pineapple fruit ice out on my deck


. the grass being cut right outside my window as I type
. my freshly bathed dog
. the above-said coffee in the grinder


. my boy holding my hand as we walked from school
. the warm sun on my face as I sat on the deck this afternoon
. the Aveeno almond bath oil I used in the shower this morning


. the soundtrack from Jenica's blog that I leave playing while I type
. the sound of the goldfinches outside my window fighting over the seed in the feeder


. the photo is from last summer, but I've been dreaming about going back to Italy soon, so I'll have to close my eyes and go now. . .

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Ordinary Woman

The Woman in the Ordinary

The woman in the ordinary pudgy downcast girl
is crouching with eyes and muscles clenched.
Round and pebble smooth she effaces herself
under ripples of conversation and debate.
The woman in the block of ivory soap
has massive thighs that neigh,
great breasts that blare and strong arms that trumpet.
The woman of the golden fleece
laughs uproariously from the belly
inside the girl who imitates
a Christmas card virgin with glued hands,
who fishes for herself in other's eyes,
who stoops and creeps to make herself smaller.
In her bottled up is a woman peppery as curry,
a yam of a woman of butter and brass,
compounded of acid and sweet like a pineapple,
like a handgrenade set to explode,
like goldenrod ready to bloom.

--Marge Piercy

I can't tell you how much I love this poem. It actually physically leapt off the page and grabbed me. It made me weep. It feels like me. I could have written it today. I wish I wrote it today. I wish I knew Marge Percy so I could call her and tell her how well she spoke to me. I know her ordinary woman; this woman who "fishes for herself in other's eyes"; this woman "who stoops and creeps and makes herself smaller"; "bottled up . . . like a handgrenade set to explode". THIS is how I've been feeling for a year, maybe even for my whole life. Like I've got so much more inside me, but I've spent so much time doubting myself and stuck. Believing what others may have told me or maybe what I told myself long ago. Believing I'm not good enough. Not smart enough. Not courageous enough. Not pretty enough. Just not enough. I've been waiting for life to take a hold and lead me, rather than getting up and leading my life where I want it to go. It's time.

Jenica had a great link in her post the other day. I finally sat down and listened to the whole nineteen minutes and it was amazing. So moving and thought-provoking. I think Elizabeth Gilbert actually looked at me and said, "Listen up!"


I'm listening. I'm a goldenrod ready to bloom.