reflections on balsam fir

There’s nothing I like more than hiking in the autumn; the sound of leaves crunching underfoot, the shift, movement and calls of migrating critters, and the smells. Autumn has its own fascinating, fresh smell — and it’s particularly poignant in the northeast. For years I kept a small pillow filled with balsam fir needles until the smell finally wore away for good. Over the next few months, I realized how much I missed that comforting smell. And then while hiking in the Appalachians, I found its source. With fingers crossed, I checked a local gift store for a new scented pillow, and snagged the last one. Lucky me! And then read the insert on the healing properties of balsam fir, and realized just why I had clung to that scented pillow for so many years. With great delight, I brought the new aromatic pillow home with me and breathe deeply in of its restorative grace.

a moment in time

I swipe the so-called instant and private message and poof! Gone! 
Rather like those early days when a much younger and smaller you still 
clung to me for comfort. We spent hours – courtesy of the annual pass 
given us for a Christmas present, otherwise we could not have 
afforded it – at the zoo. We would snuggle deep in the stony crevice and
watch jellyfish float up and down, listen to the soothing gurgle of water 
and the tender sounds of harp music. There was peace and comfort 
there – surely worth clinging to, even if just in memory.


Interesting, how at age 50, those early childhood memories become a bit more vivid.

One of the September NaHaiWriMo prompt words was “roadrunner.” This naturally took me down memory lane to Saturday morning cartoons.

Whether at home on the couch with dad, or bouncing on Grammie’s bed while she tried to sip her coffee without spilling from her antics, Saturday morning cartoons were a given. Predictable, treasured time filled with giggles and belly laughs before weekend chores and  errands.

As a young parent, I didn’t have cable. I did have a small TV-VHS player. A friend lent me  videotaped cartoons for my son when we were stuck at home while he got over some lengthy virus. Bored, glum and feverish, I will never forget his delighted laughter as he watchd the first cartton. Soul food!

la belle-mère

There was simply nothing in the world better than that first crunchy bite of a Granny Smith apple after four years of restriction, discomfort and awkwardness. Braces, glasses, pimples, unruly hair, no skill with makeup, no fashion sense, and frankly, no social skills to speak of . . . but now, all would change, right? Braces gone. Four-eyes exchanged for contacts. Clothing with an eye to shape, color and fit – not just function. Napkins and manners, routine and rules, safety and childhood resumed – someone to guide the transition into young womanhood.

Inspired by the brave woman who took on the gargantuan task of “step-parenting” an adolescent, and the September 17 prompt “juicy apple” from the Facebook group NaHaiWriMo. I think the French have it correct when they call this person the beautiful mother.

What September Brings

In this month comes the night of the bright Moon.
A cool wind chases wisps of satin across His face,
and his lover clings to fading bushclover, to wait for His kiss.
In dim morning light swallows dip and soar,
courtiers of welcome for geese come home with calls of
“Now! Now is the time for clear air!”
Handle in hand, I pause to look at the western horizon.
Deep blue above crimson and gold holds the now fading day moon.
When raking leaves, breathe deep of the crushed scents. I call you to remember!
Toss handfuls of leaves in the air. Spin in delight under their typhoon of colors,
that land on graying threads to knit a scarecrow hat,
frame dim eyes hidden under folds like a woodland owl orchid.
Do you recall childhood dreams?
Where like a drifting leaf you went where the winds blew?
You were too young to understand that the Monarch calls all home.
Instead you suckled greedily on the nectar of purple aster,
surprised by the gale of October hurricanes,
birthed from the month of the night of the bright Moon.