O earth that hast no voice, confide to me a voice,
O harvest of my lands -- O boundless summer growths,
O lavish brown parturient earth -- O infinite teeming womb,
A song to narrate thee.
- Walt Whitman
How to sing the praises to a landscape so vibrant and alive that you feel it infusing energy and abundance into your very soul? I cannot correctly tell the tale, and yet this is what nature gives us, every time we venture forth, without question, without words. Walt Whitman addresses this dilemma well:
"Air, soil, water, fire -- those are words." There is a love beyond love, there is a story underneath all the stories. The land, the bones of the dead, the heart of the earth, the endless heartbeat narrative of life.
"I swear I begin to see little or nothing in audible words,
All merges toward the presentation of the unspoken meanings of the earth,
Toward him who makes dictionaries of words that print cannot touch."
Last Friday, the girls and I went with my dad on a drive up into the mountains to enjoy the fall color. We had heard that the previous week's winds had knocked down a lot of the bright yellow leaves from the aspens, but the drive was absolutely gorgeous anyway, the weather perfect and the girls cheerful. It was a sweet little getaway and we were kindly companions, an aging man almost 70, his daughter in a yellow skirt that matched the trees, and two rambunctious joyful babies ready to explore it all.
As always, the trip requires a stop for pie at quaint and inviting little Sorenson's cafe.
My dad takes joy in simple outings. My mom too, come to think of it (she'll meet me at the grocery store and when we leave, she'll hug me in the parking lot and say, well thanks for calling me honey, this was fun!) I am so grateful to generally have inherited their zest for life. All it takes to get me out of grumpy danger-zone is to leave the house, take a little spin, do something different, or even the same. The thrift store, park, and library storytimes are sure to cheer me and the babes immensely. So a day in the mountains, a day of wild crisp blue sky, red and yellow leaves, wind in our hair, pine cones and bridges and haunted trees, well I end up feeling pretty rosy indeed.
Wind in our hair....
and spooks in the trees!
The campground was closed but we walked down to the river.
Then we drove on to the tiny town of Markleeville, a town I've stopped through many times, but this time in particular it felt like heaven on earth. Maybe because we met and talked to a few residents, we walked around a bit, people waved as I carried my baby, and I fell in love with this dreamy little homestead across the bridge from the library, with two hammocks hanging in the trees and a few outbuildings that looked promising: studio, guest house, retreat?
The library is flanked by the most perfect little playground.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention this adorable vintage dress. It started with Mycie, who passed it to Clover, who in turn passed it to Lucinda. It holds lots of laughter,flowers, sunny romps.
The bear cub takes a little hibernating nap in the cave. She's so good at pretending these days!
They never wanted to leave the library!
We stopped by the general store for snacks, met the friendly neighborhood dog, met up with friends we'd made at the library, Lucy took a ride on a little girl's bike, and I nursed Polly on the front porch amidst Halloweeny spiderwebs and strings of lights. It was cozy.
The sun was low in the western sky on our way home and shining golden light on the trees. Both girls fell asleep promptly in the car and pops and I stopped to take a couple more pictures. He liked how my skirt matched the landscape and took a picture. Then I drove home under hawks and vultures, over Carson Pass, past the giant rocks and the place where the vista opens up: the Sierra Nevadas, I took back roads all the way home.
"The best of the earth cannot be told anyhow, all or any is best,
It is not what you anticipated, it is cheaper, easier, nearer,
Things are not dismiss'd from the places they held before.
The earth is just as positive and direct as it was before."