Gemma Hart Ingalls
The trim light of November rakes across the landscape, cuts away fat, exposes the season’s bones. A preparation, a turning in.
02 Object (old)
A sage smudge. It's been dormant in the guest bedroom, resting neatly on a brass plate with a box of matches beside it, unlit. Last week I put it in my purse, flew to la, and now hold it up to a flaming match. It catches easily. The strands of black and white embroidery thread binding the dried leaves remind me I created this object: collected, bundled and wrapped it. Another memory: I am 11 years old, in the mountains of new Mexico, at a 3ho summer solstice yoga camp with my family. I walk in the silent desert at the end of the day, harvest the wild mountain sage covering the cracked hillside, rub the green leaves between my hands, the scent rising up. That time is a hazy old photograph, a desert sunset, smoke. Not comprehending the meaning behind the effort. Still, present in that place, as beautiful and mysterious as the tiny cracked turquoise stone on the silver bracelet I journeyed home with.
03 Object (new)
Standing now with old sage in a new house. Empty of objects, quiet, large, filling with smoke. This window, this corner, this slanted open door, this old light falling on new walls. Go, starting from the left, three times around. She said I had the power to clear the space. Open the window. You begin again.
The dark hours between sunset November 8th and sunrise November 9th. Chaotic arc of grief. Because my two-year-old daughter is next to me, I cry inside a damp down pillow. She pulls the pillow away and says ‘what is that’? More tears on the morning drive to school. My five year old boy asks from the backseat:
What bad things did the president do?
Does he live in a scary place?
Who can defeat him?
We can defeat him without any weapons?
The deer in the forest sets its gaze on me. Its eyes are deeply wild, untouched by fear or inhibitions or judgement.
06 Night Out
A cold snap settles in when the sun sets. We see our breath and huddle in circles while the children light candles in their paper lanterns and suspend them on small branches. They lead us in from the edge of the trees. Many lit lanterns line the path. Emerging in a clearing, a fire lights the center of the field, and the moon rises over the ridge. Hot cider in tin cups and a wood bowl of warm cornbread. The children sing around the circle: the sunlight fast is dwindling, my little lamp needs kindling, its beam shines far in darkest night, dear lantern, guide me with your light.
07 Day Out
Outdoor chores while the days are still warm. The old adage is true about wood warming you three times: when you cut it, when you stack it, and when you burn it. Pruning back the unruly wisteria and collecting the pile of winding branches for some other use in the spring. Moving carts of compost onto the garden and putting it to bed, turn the soil over. When the sun goes down, I run the hottest bath and step in, then drink the coldest water from the faucet.
08 Time Alone
Yoga, solitary ritual. Each day is a completely new calibration of self and breath. One teacher asked that I let go of judgement, opinion, mental resistance. A life of work.
09 Time With A Friend
I sit on the small wooden chair in her kitchen and drank some wine. She cuts tiny slivers of ginger, steams rice, removes the smooth brown pit from the avocado. Just sitting and being cooked for by someone I love.
010 Movie / TV / Book
Movie: "a bigger splash"
Book: sally mann, hold still
Music: glenn gould bach goldberg variations — this grounds the huge arc of chaos that has surfaced in me this month. no answers, but some compassion.
In sally mann’s book she talks about the japanese concept of mono no aware, the awareness of transience in life, beauty tinged with sadness. feeling that fully in this time.
011 Creative Act
This house, this garden, this family, this life