Tuesday, October 02, 2012


The morning, rising and shining, and taking my heart east. East, toward the hills and valleys I love. East, where we find sage and oaks, and all the familiar touchstones that form my memories of a childhood home. And I love this view, this beautiful connection to those places and recollections. Some days I cannot resist the impulse to go there... to travel about and touch those stones. I've got a wanderlust, for familiar things, for a season, for ideas, for experiences I know, and places I want to know.

It's no secret: I have been wishing and pining, and almost near-whining for fall. For autumn, and frost, for a roaring fire, yarn to knit, leaves to drop, wind to whistle.

I am in need of a deep, delicious seasonal change. I feel romantic... wistfully dreamy, willingly tied to improbable notions, achingly desirous of intangible ideals. It comes of sleeping in a barn, perhaps? From a long summer spent with Jane Austen, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Tasha Tudor?

Forward we go, headlong onto the trail, in search of the season, a cool breeze, acorns, bats, the night sky, views, sounds, silence, something.

One night. In a tent. Around a campfire. Laughing, and wandering, listening to the didgeridoo, following the moon to the pond, where the coots called, and the owls joined, and the bats were flitting, flitting, flitting. One day. Following trails. Rounding corners. Making do. And making plans.

I love the plans we made, the notions we pondered, the designs we drew.

When we pitched the tent, I said, Oh, let's not worry about the fly. It's so hot, and besides it will be lovely to look through the oak branches, into the night sky.

And at 9 o'clock, I swooned, The moon! How magical it will be to gaze at this moon, and sleep under the stars.

And at 11:53 pm, when I could not imagine laying on the ground a minute longer, and thought, it must be near dawn, I was stunned to realize it was not nearly dawn, and the moon shone like a street lamp, and my eyeballs were gritty and sore.

And around two, or three, or four, when I asked aloud, to any who would care, "Can we ask the crickets to knock it off, already?!" And the moon, interrogatingly bright, shone on, and on, and on.

And it wasn't really so very hot, any more. And I could clearly hear something walking around the tent. Thank you for that breakfast, it mumbled.

Something came, in the night and ate ten of our dozen eggs. But, left the organic spring greens, and had none of the cheddar cheese.

And you'd think I would wash my hands of camping and tents, and campfire cooking, but I will return! I love our plans to return!

I cannot seem to stop these romantic, wistfully dreamy, improbable notions, this aching desire for intangible ideals.

Because, who knows?
Next time, there may be water in the creek, and really cold weather and we'll make hot chocolate. And yes, next time we'll stow all of the food, even the cooler, in the car. We'll bring The Hobbit, again, to read aloud. We may find an owl pellet. There could be frost on the leaves.

We may go further afield, next time.

What if... we brought the cats, and it snowed? What if we stayed a week, and followed all of the trails, and found the other pond? Benjamin and Chango would curl around our feet, and we would listen to Max reading aloud. We would eat potatoes, roasted and good.

A small clearing, beyond the trail, oaks and pines all around. We'd build a modest cabin, with a stone fire place, a loft, a goat shed. There'd be well water to drink, a tree house to construct. The chicas would learn to walk in snow drifts, and nest safely sheltered in the coop built around a live oak. The cats would sleep in the crook of a branch of our tree house tree, and leaping tree to tree follow us as we rode the zip line into the canyon. Friends and family would come, for potlucks and campfires, and we'd canoe around the pond, singing silly songs, and beautiful songs, and forgotten songs.


I wander.

I go places, real, and familiar, and wished for, dreamed of, too. Sometimes, I cannot resist the impulse to vividly imagine romantic, dreamy, improbable occasions. They may be intangible, now. Farfetched. Just beyond reason... but to disconnect from all I dream of, to suppress the wanderlust? I cannot.

"I am a part of all that I have met.
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!"

--Ulysses, by Alfred Tennyson


dewatobay said...

oh my I have missed your soulful view of the world. I (co-)wanderlusted and pined for fall with you. I could smell the dry dust & hear the crickets. I would have followed the trail of the egg thief to who knows where.
Fall has always made me, well, maudlin for warm, sunny days and cool nights. I'm so thankful that we are experiencing a 'classic' fall this year.

Yarny Days said...

These pictures are beautiful! I love the first one for sure.

judy in ky said...

What a lovely post. It appeals to the daydreamer in me. I pine and wanderlust all the time. May you have cool, crisp weather soon.

ArtyZen said...

You make me smile out loud. I love these words, these photos and the feelings you conjure up. Axxx

Jenny said...

I loved this post Natalie. Your photos and you prose are delicious. Your night camping made me laugh.

You're such a gifted writer.


Janece said...

Magic! So glad you take photos and write! The world wouldn't be as beautiful without you! And, for the record... we'd would so love to share in a camping adventure with you sometime!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Oh my, you have brought back childhood ramblings on the California country back roads with my father, all seven of us piled into the old car, hiking among the boulders, finding snakes, identifying birds, kinds of trees....

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Friends... someday, let's all meet in these woods and share an adventure. Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts, and your own memories.