Last night I was working late in my studio finishing a birthday gift for a friend. I guess that got me to thinking about my mother and her sisters and how they always reunited, no matter where they were in the world, to celebrate their various birthdays. It would have been my Aunt Hazel Jane's 117th birthday, and they used to love to celebrate it up here when they were all alive. They said it reminded them of their family vacation home in the mountains of North Carolina where they'd go when they were young to escape the murderous heat of a Georgia summer.
Pulling on my sweater, I opened the door to the chilly autumn night, intending to go down to the house. I stopped, listening. Was there someone in my little patch of forest? It sounded like there were people laughing and talking down by the picnic table next to the creek. It was nearly midnight! In the dim light of the waning October moon, I cautiously descended the stone steps that wind down through the forest, uncertain of who I would find.
As I rounded the corner by the old cedar tree, I caught the scent of magnolias and saw five women gathered around the table by the creek. There in the soft golden glow of candles, I saw my mother and her sisters. Not quite believing what I was seeing, I sank down on the cold stone step, my legs suddenly unwilling to carry me further.
I listened and watched, dimly aware that the air was now too warm for a sweater, as their images and soft, southern voices grew clearer. "Now, MayBelle Grace, I see what you're fixin' to do with that card!" My mother replied, "Oh, hush, Hazel Jane, you know I always let you win on your birthday. Lilly Lee, pass that pitcher of tea to me, please? Martha Louise, could you use some more, too?" My Aunt Lucille Marie said, "Hey, y'all, let's have more cake! After all, it's birthday cake, all calories removed by magic!" Aunt Hazel Jane smiled as she looked around the table. Then she looked right at me, winked, and said, "Oh, look, y'all! Look who came to my party!" Smiling, they all turned to look at me. Mama said, "Oh, honey! You're here! Come on and..." The rest of her words were lost as a gust of wind swirled fallen leaves through the clearing. I blinked...and they were gone, taking with them the candlelight, warm air and scent of magnolias.
Shivering in the dark, I pulled my sweater around me and whispered, "I love you all...I miss you...." But the only answer was the sighing of the cold October wind.
I took this on October 16, when it was just starting to rain lightly. You can see the dust on the surface of the water in the birdbath. I refill the birdbath twice a day! It's even dustier here than I thought. Of course, in the house the furniture looks like it needs to be dusted fifteen minutes after I just dusted, so I don't know why I thought it would be any less dusty outside...
The true nature of the world is veiled, and if
you shine a bright light on it, you can't expose that truth; it melts away with
the shadows in which it was cloaked.The
truth is too awesome for us to stare directly at it, and we are meant to
glimpse it only at the periphery of our vision.If the landscape of your mind is too dark with fear or doubt or anger,
you are blind to all truth.But if your
mental landscape is too bright with certitude and arrogance, you are snow-blind
and likewise unable to see what lies before you.Only the moonlit mind allows wonder, and it
is in the thrall of wonder that you can see the intricate weave of the world of
which you are but one thread, one fantastic and essential thread.Dean Koontz, The Moonlit Mind
Welcome, glad you could come! Thanks to Vanessa of A Fanciful Twist for hosting the parties. To see the other witches party posts, click on the badge on the right. (And a big thank you to my husband, who did all the heavy lifting for this party).
Now, come in where it's warm!
A few witches are already here.
Some can tell your fortune! There's Miss Tabitha Twinkle...
And Miss Patience Crocker.
Miss Crocker and Miss Twinkle use crystal balls
...lots of them!
And for tea, there's...wait a minute. Where's the cake? I think someone is playing a little trick...
There, that's better. Spice cake with cream cheese frosting. There are cookies and candies, too.
Or perhaps some wine?
In the back garden there are caramel apples, chocolate cake and hot cocoa. It's lovely and warm in the garden, thanks to an enchantment.
Oh, I see the Blue Fae are here, they're fascinated with the crystal balls. I hope they don't get stuck inside one, it's so hard to get them out.
When the Blue Fae arrive it's a sure sign the time is right for flying!
Just let me collect my things...
There's my hat ~
And my boots ~
And my cloak and broom...and Max! I guess he feels like flying tonight, too.
There, all set. Let's FLY, sisters, and visit all the other parties!
Thank you for coming to my Witches Tea Party. I hope everyone has a magically happy Halloween!
Beautiful Pacific Dogwood leaves. Fall is being "picky" again this year, choosing a tree here, a branch there. I'm grateful the trees are turning at all, though, what with the drought and such a hot summer. I actually kind of like a fall like this, the color lasts longer!
"It was the season of ghosts. They had gathered themselves, building up their strength to wander the fields and roads of October and speak to those who would listen." From "Boy's Life" by Robert R. McCammon
I took this on September 9 at Lake Arrowhead. Just one or two boats on the water, the children all in school, summer people gone, I stood looking out at the blue, blue water and listening to the breeze passing through the oaks and pines. A gift, followed by another one of this leaf highlighted by the sun. Little gifts...they're given all the time, if we just slow down enough to be aware...
I can't stop photographing them and collecting them, thinking that next autumn the foliage might not be so pretty. And, really, every autumn is different, no guarantees of great color each time.
I feel such a sense of urgency in the autumn, common to a lot of species I suppose. The urge to make everything ready for the coming winter has never been one I could ignore. Winters up here aren't what they used to be, but still I make sure the woodpile has plenty of dried, split and stacked wood, the pantry has plenty of everything (even though the supermarket is twenty minutes away, unless we get such a huge snowfall that the roads are blocked - we should be so lucky) and the garden, such as it was this year, is put to bed. Nothing compared to what my ancestors used to have to do to prepare for winter, but enormously satisfying all the same.
I found this photo on Pinterest ~ it's attributed to Shadow Brooke Studios, by artist Brooke Gillette. When I searched for the website however, it came up as "moved" but gave no new address. I always wonder what happened to the person when this happens, or when I find a great new-to-me blog and then realize the person hasn't posted in several years and has given no explanation on their blog. Did they die? Get bored? Have a catastrophic accident? I always send a little wish to the Universe for their well-being and then move on...
I could only find two houses with Halloween decorations!
One was in Lake Arrowhead, the other in Running Springs. So many homes up here are only summer homes, but usually the year-rounders have up more decorations by now...I plan to keep looking!
We got more rain :) last night, but the thunder and lightening were terrible. I have the news on right now, and out in Palmdale (in the desert to the north of us) they had flash floods and hail just a few minutes ago! Lots of cars stuck in mud but, so far, no one hurt, thank Goodness. I guess crazy weather is the new normal...
When I first glanced up at this tree I thought it was covered with a swarm of butterflies.
I took a closer look and saw that it was a few of the tree's leaves changing color.
Autumn is persevering in spite of the unseasonably hot temperatures. The highs should be in the fifties for this time of year, with lows in the mid-thirties. We had a few days like that, but today the high was in the mid-seventies! The weather people are saying that the storm that was here last week, now over Texas, will back up and give us rain next week! The rain would be most welcome, but I can't ever remember a storm backing up. These are strange times indeed...
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
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Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul ~ Jean Cocteau (That's Malcolm O'Mewy on the chair)
Feed the Hungry
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
What I'm Reading Now:
Give a Child a Book
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Care for a cuppa?
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee), and one-quarter Northern Italian. I live in a little cottage with my furry "children" in a beautiful mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, clear lakes, rain, snow, tea, the moon, and creating all kinds of art.