Where The Worlds Meet
I have a new plush throw, 50” x 70”, with whimsical kitties frolicking all over it, pattern-wise. It’s brightness caught my eye at a rare “pay-full-price” retail experience after work last week, and I wasn’t surprised at all that it came home with me. It’s washed and currently spread out like fluffy royalty on the bed. The living cats who own us have been schooled: not one black hair is to be found on this one. We’ll see how long that lasts (sigh…).
In the wake of Valentine’s Day, I am still trying to make good on the self-promise to send little dried lavender-filled heart-shaped sachets to people we know and love. Years back, I bought a red tin full of die-cut fabric hearts, all pink or magenta or faded rose, with the intention of making a pretty large applique quilt for our bed. With that quilt still a dream on my pillow (sheesh, I didn’t even sketch out the design like I usually do, on 1/4” graph paper that Patrick often borrows for his woodworking projects), I dug into this colorful stash, matched the random pattern samples, and stitched pairs of hearts together, leaving a small opening so I could spoon in the lavender flowers. That’s what I did most of the day yesterday. A day sewing, sitting on the couch, getting up once in a while for water and snacks. As rare as my paying full retail for anything. It was delicious and slovenly all in one moment.
But when I woke up today, the voice that calls me to the walking paths was clear, loud, and urgent. And the sunrise, with its pink and gray stripes against a glowing blue horizon, beckoned gently as I quietly hurried to put on my boots and layer up against a chilly wind. After a few distractions (fixing the fence on the north side of the chicken run, where clearly they had stood on each other’s shoulders and pushed against it until it gave way, squawking gleefully at their effort and newfound freedom; then, refilling the birdfeeders while the blue jays told me to work faster), I kept to my normal route, starting from behind the house down the path past the sweat lodge to the corner Where The Worlds Meet, then taking a left toward the western edge of the property fence and a sharp right up the Hill. By this time, my nose was running, and I knew I’d be washing my thick fleece gloves when I returned to the mudroom/laundry room. I didn’t mind. It felt as if I’d been gone from this path for a lifetime. Work and after-work tiredness, plus some below-zero wind chill days kept us both inside the past couple of weeks, save for the essential outdoor tasks of feeding and watering animals. Things change every day here, but I’m not out in all of it every day, so I miss things, and then have to rely on my memory to bridge the gap between what I saw on the last walk and what the fields and woods are showing me today. A great anti-Alzheimer’s plan if ever there was one. So far, it seems to be working.
I want to pause for a moment here and go on a bit about that spot Where The Worlds Meet. That’s what we call it here, but it could refer to any place in the wild where an open field meets a tree line. I’ve been told, and have tested it enough to feel comfortable saying it’s true, that these places see the most animal activity. If you’re patient and willing, you can sit there and watch how the birds congregate in the trees whose branches reach out across the spot where the woods end and the field begins. You’ll find deer tracks, evidence of raccoons and foxes and the elusive coyote. There must be something about what these spaces offer to our wild relatives—food, shelter and protection, hiding places, and whatever a fox might dream of as she travels the land. When we cut the first path through the field and around the edge of the meadow woods, we paid close attention to how we carved something so human in the midst of what had been theirs since the beginning of time, and we gave thanks for their tolerance. It immediately became a favorite place, this particular corner on the land, where we’d stop in our tracks and just look about in wonder and amazement at all that it represented. We wondered how many souls had traversed it’s grass-covered loam. One year, Patrick surprised me on our “the day we first met” anniversary (August 11, 1992, at precisely 8:38p.m.), with an al fresco dinner served on a folding table placed carefully at that corner. Tablecloth, napkins, and a resplendent feast from Bob Evans—Wildfire Chicken salad, rolls, mashed potatoes, and strawberry pie, while we talked into the sunset, remembering first impressions and the sacredness of that life-changing moment for each of us. “Where The Worlds Meet” indeed…
So back to my runny nose and this chilly walk, where I look hard and close for changes in the landscape, eventually giving into what every good land walk does—pulls me into its here-and-now magic, shows me just how hard the wind was blowing two nights ago (tree limbs everywhere, some less sturdy black walnuts snapped in two and cradled in the stronger arms of the buckeyes that caught them as they fell), and where they deer had been. I love finding this stuff, this evidence that we’re not alone here. And, as usually happens on a cold day, I begin to feel sleepy and imagine myself just curling up on the ground, nestled in a thick patch of fallen sycamore leaves, drifting into a dreamless slumber and waking up somewhere else. I’ve not tried this yet, but…it sure is tempting this morning. I think I’m dressed warmly enough, but not brave enough to test it. So I keep walking.
Waiting for me back at the house is a sink full of last night’s dishes, what’s left of the rustic loaf of bread I baked last night, and blueberries in the freezer that will find their way on top of my morning oatmeal. While that colorful kitties plush throw is still keeping Patrick warm as he sleeps, I’m grateful that I subscribe to the philosophy that no one in my home during winter should be more than two feet away from a quilt or blanket. I’ll take off enough layers to be comfortable indoors now, gather my breakfast things and settle onto the couch for vitamins and reflection. The walk stays with me, lingering on the edges of a busy mind and a full heart. I hold on as long as I possibly can.