feast days

August 1 marks Lammas, the first of the three festivals of autumn. Until recently, I lived in central Texas, where the wheel of the year does not fall neatly along seasons, and so time passes strangely, especially to one like me who grew up in a different wilderness entirely. My time there often felt like a blur of heat and color — wildflower season, high summer, or thunderstorms were often the only markers of the turn of the year.

We are settling now into our new home in the Pacific Northwest, where life feels markedly slower, and I can feel that old pull, that seasonal tether.

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the freneticism of creating

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Hummingbirds belong to the bird order Apodiformes, which is Greek for ‘footless’. This is a slight misnomer, because hummingbirds do have feet, but it is accurate in that hummingbirds cannot walk due to the placement of their legs on their bodies. They will land, sometimes, but they are nearly always in flight; their breath, their heartbeats, and their wingbeats rushing at an incredible pace. They are at once determined and frenetic. They dart in and out of view, hiding, then being seen, then hiding again.

Creative work can feel like this. For me, it has meant darting from medium to medium, needing to create work but sabotaging myself by overthinking it, tacking meaning about who I am and what is my worth to everything that I endeavor to create. Letting silence or disinterest or another’s fear of connection be an ultimate judgment on the softest, tenderest parts of me. Taking constant inventory of the but why, the for whom, the to what end, yet being borne along by something that doesn’t exactly reside in the coherent world of the mind. Hiding, then being seen, then hiding again.

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wildlife

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New Orleans was brief, and freezing. The first night we wandered around for hours, clutching paper mugs filled with hot black tea and whiskey; ducking into little cafes and restaurants just to get away from the cold. Not wanting to turn down onto Bourbon Street, which already looked as though it was swaying and sodden with booze, we darted sharply right, climbing up a small set of stairs off a cobblestone street and into a tiny used bookstore with narrow, labyrinthine stacks of books. This New Orleans was beautiful, with the lights of the homes and restaurants glowing warm and gold against the freezing wind, but it was the New Orleans of the next day that has tucked itself somewhere in my bones.

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