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Handful of thoughts before the Autumnal Equinox
This is Clouds Form Over Land, weekly writing about resilience, imperfectionism, and our relationship to the earth.
Tomorrow is the autumnal equinox.
The earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. Day and night divide the clock. Everyone all over the world has this experience in common. I love the extremes of the solstices, and this year I’m leaning into the balance of equal day and night. Even here, 7 degrees north of the equator we can feel the shift of earlier nights and ever so slightly cooler days.
Here are some fragments from my writing sandbox as the moon wanes and season closes.
Always stop for dolphins
A few months ago I pointed out dolphins to a small group. They shrugged and said, “oh we saw some yesterday”. Perhaps dolfin enthusiasm is a litmus test for burnout?
Proceed to the route
Last month my mother-in-law and I had a delightful day out on the town. We toured an art studio, browsed a few thrift stores, snagged some yarn at SCRAP, ate poke bowls, chatting all along the way. At one of our stops, the parking had a few major streets nearby and the GPS chirpped “proceed to the route” as we went one way and then the other. Isn’t getting on the route sometimes the hardest part?
Fuel for the fire
I spent a lot of time this summer building fires.
Guests of the eco-retreat walked by and inquired why. There’s no big reason, but many that fold into activation energy for lighting the flame. Smoke wards off the small but mighty chitra (sand flies), ash kickstarts compost and processes our food scraps into fuel for the plant nursery, yard waste piles up and can be cleared by burning. Also - it’s fun! And after years in California, it’s been neat to reacquaint myself with this element.
The rainy season is full-on this time of year which means starting fires with wet wood.
Brown coconuts are magic. The husky outside is like nature’s cardboard. The half shells create a little vortex of flame and get SO HOT.
Fallen palm fronds are tempting and often tossed on, but even when brown they continue to hold a lot of moisture in their dense fibrous stems.
Twigs and branches are harder to find but essential to build a bridge to big logs.
Dry leaves are abundant and can save a dying flame.
As the nights spent fueling the flames piled up, my architecture and pacing of new materials improved. I delivered shovel after shovel of dark ashes to the compost in the morning. I seem hell-bent to notice life and creativity mirroring each other. Burning logs represented some big creative work, while the rest of the organic materials were the books, posts, walks, meditations, TV shows, cartoons, and other inspirations that keep the flame alive. All the wood was wet, so the fire needed a very steady flow of easy burnables. I thought, doing something hard? Give it a lot of things it likes, be consistent, and the flame will likely grow.
How are you tending your sparks?
Don’t stir the rice
The other day I made a pot of rice in the morning for a mid-day fried creation. I tend to hover or poke but this time I didn’t and bam! Excellent rice, less work.
Slow down and check with your buddy
This week we are taking SCUBA open water class. The online training that proceeds time in the sea reiterated this lesson whenever overexertion or other stressors were present. The answer on the multi-choice was never hurry up or proceed at all cost, but rather rest and go back the direction you came to equalize.
Manta rays fly and we don’t know why
Almost a year ago we had our first sighting of a manta ray leaping out of the water. Scientists theories range from mating ritual to parasite removal to communication to predator evasion. The act has been described as flying pizza! I suspected hearing slapping rays at nighttime, but on one of our last days in this particular lagoon, we both spotted a ray doing it’s characteristic flop. My guess as to why they do it? Fun!
Can Do List:
Ride these back to school vibes by signing up for a local class.
Look through your closet or drawers for some wornout clothes. Cut them for rags and store them near your messy projects. Inspired by @theboatgalley.
Walk around the neighborhood and take note of how it feels like at this threshold between seasons. Bonus? Spot something of every color.
Go through the pantry and combine any duplicates - spices, grains, the mysterious three bottles of vanilla. Add any missing staples to the shopping list.
Written in the spirit of not letting what we can’t do get in the way of what we can.
Did you try any of these? I’d love to hear about it.