Day Unto Day

 West of the Pass
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean —
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
                                                                               ~  Mary Oliver

Idle and blessed I am, having decamped to A Far Place.

Absent internet connections, football, Black Friday, and reliable phone service, there’s nothing left but to roam the countryside and search out curiosities, grateful for that silence which is no silence at all, but the murmuring and trilling of a hospitable land.

In this world, gratitude is neither a day nor a dinner. The river burbles its gratitude over the rocks. The trees wave their arms, rejoicing. Where eyes meet eyes, they bespeak gratitude as surely as our words. “Fine day,” says one. “Pleased to have met you,” says another. “Happy Thanksgiving,” say all.

And so say I. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. I hope your days are filled with blessings, and with gratitude.  While there’s always a chance I’ll find a signal down by the cemetery gate that allows responding to posts or comments, there’s an equal chance I’ll find only a red tail, gliding the edge of the falling dark.  In that case, I’ll watch the hawk, and see you when I get back.

~ Linda

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107 thoughts on “Day Unto Day

  1. Thank you for the Thanksgiving greeting. Same back to you.

    We often remark to each other to listen to the silence. In the winter and in hot weather, the furnace or AC blowing makes noise. It is good to not hear it.

    On hikes, we see people wearing their earbuds. What are they listening to? Surely not the sounds of nature around them.

    Enjoy your time away.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jim. I trust your Thanksgiving was a good one. There was silence aplenty out in the country — at least until we ran into the biggest flocks of snow geese I’ve ever seen. It was pure delight.

      1. It was a good one. We had our son, his fiance, and met at the home of one of our daughters with her two kids. The meal was excellent.

        We often have nice quiet times here in the house. Today, a flock of geese passed over us as they often do. It got pleasantly noisy with them. Then, it faded back to silence.

        I am certain the snow geese were a delight. Peace to you.

    1. I saw plenty of gates and plenty of fancy ironwork, Georgette. I thought about you when I saw them, too. I meant to go back and get some photos of an especially fine gate, but it was late afternoon, when I would have had to shoot directly into the sun.But alas, when morning came, there were new places to go and new things to see. Next time!

    1. Thanks, Deborah. I hope your holiday was a good one, too. It’s hard to believe time is passing so quickly, but here we are at the threshold of December. Enjoy the festivities to come!

    1. I hope your holiday was as lovely as mine, Martha. Not only was the weather beautiful, it was cold enough to put some real frost on the pumpkin, the car, and even some of the still-greenery. It didn’t seem to frost anyone’s celebrations, though — I hope yours were equally warm and comfortable.

  2. Thank you for the reminder and the heartfelt Thanksgiving blessing, Linda. You seem to make the most of what life gives you, no matter where you are. Woe, that we all could be so present and alive! I need not wish you blessings, because they are abundantly available if we only may let go, as you do.

    1. I hope you had a good portion of your folks around you for the holiday, BW. I’m back home, and far better educated than when I left. For example: vanilla’s not just for apple cake any more. There are bow hunters out there spraying themselves with the stuff to keep the deer from scenting them. Who knew? None of the deer I came across seemed to much care one way or the other. It was a little strange — I’ve never seen so many white-tails, and so few sets of antlers in pickups on the way back to Houston!

  3. “….nothing left but to roam the countryside and search out curiosities…” that just stirred something in me. Wishing you have a relaxing enjoyable Thanksgiving yourself. Enjoyed all of your thoughtful comments last night on my posts. I did read that link to the article you shared. Shared a portion with my wife this morning over coffee. she totally resonated with it.. DM

    1. One of the curiosities I found were white prickly pear cactus pads. I’m sure the problem is related to pests or fungus, but I haven’t figured it out yet. On the other hand, I figured out in a flash that pie meringue made with marshmallow creme is a trick worth remembering — a new recipe always is a worthy souvenir from a vacation!

    1. I did enjoy, very much! I didn’t come across Spoon River, but I found some lovely little rivers, and will have some photos for you as soon as I can get myself back into the swing of things. I found a native cactus I’ve never encountered, too — so much to share!

    1. The best part of silence is that it’s portable — at least to a degree. Strange that I should find myself reluctant to search out a newsfeed or turn on the radio, now that I’m home? I think not. On days like this, I’m especially glad I don’t have to transition into Houston traffic immediately, or the clamor of a mall. I do have to get my car inspected, though. Ah, life!

    1. I didn’t do much soaring, Curt, but I did do a bit more rock climbing than I’d expected. In the process, I discovered an old pair of hiking boots I’d stopped wearing were perfectly comfortable. I must have judged them uncomfortable at some point, but they were perfectly fine, and we had a good time together.

      1. Having backpacked thousands of miles in my life, I totally agree, Linda. Few things are more important than a good fitting pair of boots. My feet have been known to blister at the mere sight of a bad fitting pair. :) –Curt

  4. Linda, thank you for a beautiful post. I love imagining you out on your interlude, paying attention to whatever shows up. Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. I should have paid more attention to my camera’s settings! I got home with some photos that probably could have been much better than they are. I suspect I’m the cause.Live and learn, as they say. The good news is that the skies were cloudless and blue, and the sun was brilliant all day, every day. Now I need to learn how to take photos in those conditions!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving, Linda, no matter how you choose to spend it. A good part of me thinks you’ve chosen most wisely, too — the rest of us will be clamoring over who gets the wishbone, why somebody’s quarterback is an arrogant idiot, and where all the grabby shoppers came from when our town isn’t nearly as full?!!!

    1. I hope you got the wishbone, and that your quarterback(s) performed. Now I’m wondering if Domer got home for the holiday. I’ll be by for a report, I hope you had a good one, however, it worked out.

    1. Thanks, Kayti. It was a wonderful respite, with all the things necessary for a good Thanksgiving: friends, great weather, the greater outdoors, and pecan pie (not necessarily in that order).
      I trust your holiday was fine, too. It’s hard to imagine that today is December 1, but so it is. We’re nearly at the solstice — one of my favorite times of year.

  6. I am so glad to read you are finally heading away from the coast. Wishing you days of blue warmth, something new and interesting around every corner, hawks that soar and a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. You would have been overcome with pleasure at the blue skies and warmth, Sandi. It was the most perfect week possible, weather-wise, right up until the last day, when some fog and clouds appeared. I didn’t mind that at all. I’d had quite enough of driving west into the sun, through “mountainous” territory with plenty of switchbacks. It’s always an astonishment to remember that Texas is more than coastal plain – and a delight.

    1. I got as close to real mountains as I could, Terry! I did spend plenty of time on deer trails, and thought about how glad I am that you’re able to get back on your trails, too.

    1. Isn’t that just the truth? A week without “signals” and here I am, still breathing. (Well, ok. There was that one phone call to check with the kitty sitter, but we all have our limits!)

  7. Safe journey. Soak up the wild and quiet. Return renewed. We’ll leave the light on for ya. When you get back, we’ll cluster round the kitchen table while you turn out your pockets and show us the miracles you found.

    1. I thought about you when I came across what looks to have been a terrific cotton harvest. Everything’s all baled up, so surely yours is over, too, and it’s time for processing. You do remember what Eli Whitney said to his houseguests, right? “Keep your cotton-pickin’ hands off my gin!”

  8. Happy Thanksgiving, Linda. Amid the hectic fretting of my life, I love that there are those who may enjoy the quiet. I need to make that time as well. Be well, my friend :).

    1. It was wonderful, Damyanti. Now, the question is, how to reshape day-to-day life to incorporate some of the best of the time away. I think you’ve pointed to one sure truth: we need to “make” quiet times, rather than assuming we can just “take” them.

    1. Thank you, nia. I had a lovely holiday, and my kitty, Dixie Rose, seems to have forgiven me for being gone. It did take her twelve hours to come out from under the bed, but she seems none the worse for wear!

    1. I hope your weather was as great as it was out toward Uvalde, Ellen. The color was just beginning for the oaks and such, but the cypress along the rivers and creeks were as vibrant as I’ve ever seen them. It was a fine time.

    1. Nope — you’ll not find me heading north at this time of year. It was time to head west, and south, and it couldn’t have been nicer. I suspect you’re in full frenzy mode at work — I’ll be by soon to check things out.

  9. Linda, these are beautiful sentiments for the Thanksgiving observance. We have much to be thankful for this year.

    Enjoy the freedom of being not connected, and take pictures for sharing of that Red tailed hawk. I am certain he will be there. Here’s to a lovely Thanksgiving week of sharing smiles and enjoying nature. ~L

    1. This has been quite a year, hasn’t it? There was the usual talk around the tables about what’s been experienced since the last Thanksgiving gathering, and the usual semi-humorous suggestions that it’s an amazement we all survived. But we did — you, too! Now, it’s on into the rest of the holidays and a new year. I suspect you’ll have a much better one, and I’m grateful for that.

  10. Linda, enjoy a peaceful and blessed thanksgiving. Drink deeply of nature’s solitude, listen to the wind and birdsong, gaze at the trees, framed like lace, against the sky as you fill your heart with what really matters.

    1. The only thing missing was the birdsong, Mary. November can be a quiet month for them, too. An occasional chickadee and a flash or two of cardinals was about it. There were plenty of vultures sitting around, but they tend to look more than they talk.

      On the other hand, the trees were glorious — even those not yet sporting any sort of usual autumn color. I’d say this one is positively lacey.

  11. This is so lovely, and the poem is perfect. I love it, embrace it! this afternoon I visited a raptor rescue center way high in the mountains (via taxi) and after two hours at the center, I meandered my way along the spine of a high ridge, loitered here and there, inhaled clean pure cool air and absorbed the sights and isolation. Blue lupine-like ‘chocos’ with spikes of raspberry-colored quinoa heads.. sheep grazing here and there.. lots of sweet dogs, all curious and zero snarling. I could have stayed there until dark, but I slowly walked for another hour, passing only three people walking in the opposite direction.. there’s such peace in remote areas, and I am sure that you’re embracing your time as much as I am mine.

    my face is cooked, btw. That high thin equatorian sun bit me!

    1. No lupines or raspberry-colored quinoa for me, but cypress? Oh, my! I’ve never seen such a show. I never thought to ask whether the cypress always turn before oaks and such, but it was enough that they had turned. It was beautiful.

      I don’t know why I’m surprised that you have a raptor center. I suppose it’s pure lack of knowledge — I tend to think of tropical birds as brightly colored gems, with not a red in tooth and claw among them. Perchance there’s a blog entry coming? If there is, I’ll be delighted to learn even more about your world.

      It was sunny and beautiful the whole time I was gone. Now? Rain, and more rain. That’s fine. I can use a day to decompress and begin ticking things off the to-do list!

      1. the raptor center was very interesting, though i was there on a ‘closed’ day. the little guy who tends the grounds let me in, and i enjoyed the time with the birds w/o any other humans around! the photos are still in the camera – the power’s been off at the house since i returned. i need to go to the electric company now and get them to check on it! z

        z

    1. It was colorful, indeed, despite the fact that oak, sycamore, and even sumac were a bit behind what you’ve had. But the cypress were gorgeous, and there’s not a thing wrong with pure blue skies and multiple shades of green.

      I did bring back a walking stick for you. I laughed when I saw this view. I wanted a photo of a piece of old stem, but in the process I ended up with a very Steve Schwartzman-like view — at least in terms of composition. It was right where I remembered it, along a fenceline on Spicer Loop Road, off Texas 16 toward Medina.

      1. I figured that’s where you went, and I’m glad you got clear skies to bring out the colors you saw, especially the bald cypress.

        Seems we could say you found the cholla a joy, ah.

        I was briefly in that part of Texas two weeks before you but without a great blue backdrop for fall color; still, a few pictures from my visit are about to appear, the first one tomorrow.

    1. Desperate times call for desperate measures, nikkipolani. I did wander into a general store on Friday — historic building, re-purposed for modern commerce — and it was a little crazy there, but I took only photos and left not a single penny. I have no idea what it’s going to cost me to make it up to Dixie Rose for my absence.

      I know your holiday was filled with family and extended family, and I’m sure it was as wonderful as mine. One of my friends will be roaming your blog, looking for recipes. When I told her how many uses you’ve found for cauliflower, she was astounded. I expect to find some on her table soon.

  12. It is very of you to give your readers a message of gratitude, thanks givings and hope.

    I wish the same to you and your loved ones. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to meet you over the mysterious waves of wireless communication. I have learned so much reading your blog posts.

    As the stream gurgles in the background where you are, Happy Thanksgiving Day.

    Blessings,

    Omar.-

    1. Haven’t we had a great time reading back and forth, Omar? I’ve learned just as much from you — about Panama, of course, but also about photography. You’re good about sharing those wonderful tips and tricks you come across.

      Speaking of that, and speaking of a stream gurgling in the background, I brought back a little piece of the Frio River that you may enjoy. I hadn’t set out to make any videos this trip, but I discovered that, if you hit that little red button, you can bring home a snippet of one of the best rivers in Texas. (As a link, it seems to need some time to buffer — one of these days I’ll learn how to post to YouTube and eliminate that.)

      The Rio Frio

      Enjoy!

      Linda

        1. It is cold, Omar. It’s one of the rivers that kids love to “float” in the summer, in inner tubes or rafts. It’s refreshing as can be on a hot day. It’s a beautiful river, too. I have some photos I’ll be sharing in a later post.

  13. I will also spend at least a part of my Thanksgiving not hearing the sounds of civilization but finding as much silence/gurgling as possible in the woods somewhere before returning home to roast the bird and take in some football.
    Among the things for which I am grateful is the opportunity to read your words and expand my thoughts through the ones you share.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Linda.

    1. I’ve certainly enjoyed your blog, and getting to know you, Steve. It pleases me that the feeling’s mutual, and it’s kind of you to say so.

      The trip was great. The weather was perfect, the celebrations were low-key, and no one threw a drumstick across the table. Of course, there weren’t any drumbsticks, so there’s that. But you get my point. A more congenial crew couldn’t have been found. Now that I’ve come home and figured out what I did wrong, I wish I could go back and re-shoot some pics, but there will be another time. Tomorrow, it’s back to work, in every sense of the word. There’s varnishing to be done and posts to be written!

      Linda

      1. I am glad also that you enjoy my blog, Linda. Thanks!

        I am confused by the apparent common unhappy experience so many have at family gatherings. But it is great that you didn’t have that sort of holiday. I have to admit that when my father in law was alive he did get under my skin, but he always did that so it made no difference and I didn’t let it bother me.
        No drumsticks gives me the idea that possibly you are a vegetarian?

        1. No vegetarianism here – but I am a great fan of simplifying holidays. Instead of turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving dinner, we had a favorite casserole that involves chicken breasts with dressing on top (thank you, Pepperidge Farm). After preparing and freezing the chicken here at home, all that was needed was to thaw and assemble. Perfect for a cabin that had a stove and refrigerator, but nothing approaching a fully-furnished kitchen. Doing the cooking at home meant spending the day hiking, and still getting all the traditional goodies for dinner — including pumpkin and pecan pie!

  14. And that bonny hawk will look down, I’m sure, and though that glint in its eye might indicate a sighting of its next meal, perhaps it could also be a gleam of recognition of an artist as graceful and nimble as its own glorious flight.

    My Thanksgiving will be spent in the kitchen – where I always wanted it to be!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. There’s nothing cozier or more comfortable than a communal kitchen on a holiday, Aubrey. Not everyone enjoys it, but you obviously do, so I’m glad you had the chance to cook to your heart’s content. I hope your day was filled with delights, culinary and otherwise.

      The hawks were graceful, though the turkey vultures were more abundant. They were casting a few glances themselves, but I kept moving. No need to tempt them into thinking I might be dinner!

    1. Thanks, Andrew. It was good to get away, good to be with friends, and good to be without any kind of agenda for a few days. And now, as so often happens, it’s good to be home, too. For me, that’s always the sign of a perfect time away. Thanks for the good wishes!

  15. When giving thanks, really — isn’t what you are doing the best way? To give thanks for all that beauty and wildlife and yes, peace… if it was me, I’d steer clear of the Internet and catch up with us when you can. Happiest of Thanksgivings, Linda. I’m grateful each and every day that my world in the blogland brought me a friend like you. Supportive, smart and yes — you always make me think (and smile).

    1. Even if I’d been tempted toward the internet, it would have been fruitless, Jeanie. There’s a big hole in Texas where there’s no Verizon coverage at all — none! — and the area seemed even bigger this year. Eventually I gave in and used a friend’s ATT phone to call the kitty sitter and check on Dixie, but otherwise, I was content to let the cyberworld spin without me.

      I’m sure you and Rick had a fine holiday. I thought of you when our Australian Malbec was opened — I need to check your blog and see if your group has featured it at a tasting. It was quite good — good enough that it made me wish I could drink reds!

    1. I ran away, and now I’m back. I’ve even got the laundry done, the bills paid and the necessary errands run. I guess it’s time to go beat the bushes for a blog post.

      I hope your holiday was fine, wherever you were. I do see you have snow.

  16. HappyThanksgiving to you Linda wherever you are!! Don’t search for any electronic signals, cyberspace will wait while you stroll through fields and recharge your spiritual batteries!!

    1. I was in some of the prettiest country you’ll ever see, Judy, out in West Texas. I do love the coast and the coastal prairie, but there’s nothing like steep grades and hairpin turns to bring out the “oooohs” and “aaaaahs.” The roads out there are favorites of the motorcycle and Miata clubs, but this time, we had them to ourselves.

      And look at this surprise from the trip home. You just would not have believed the size of the flocks of geese — I felt like I’d stumbled into a NatGeographic special.

      1. I greatly look forward to the stories your adventure will generate! The flock of geese is amazing and photographically interesting!! Glad you are safely back in the nest!

    1. One thing I did was visit with a lady your grandmother would have adored. You probably would have adored her, too. She’s not only sweet, she’s as talented as they come. She showed us a couple of quilt tops she’s made.One has her grandmother’s lace doilies inside squares — each one different, and each on a differently-colored background. It was just fabulous.

      I’m anxious to see what’s happened at your place while I’ve been gone. Just one more month to enjoy the diary. I found myself wondering if she would be getting excited about Christmas — I do hope so, but I’ll just have to wait and see.

      1. I love the idea of incorporating the doilies into a quilt. I have a number of doilies that my mother made that are very special to me–yet they are stored away in a chest because they are out of style. I’ve considered framing them, but never actually got around to it.

        You’ll just have to wait and see to find out how the diary ends. :)

    1. It was sheer delight, Otto. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind words. I see that Cuba has taken center stage again on your site.. Obviously, I’m a bit behind, but I’m anxious to see what new delights you have for us.

    1. It was delightful, Bella. Two of my best friends were along for the ride. They hadn’t met one another, but we all got along famously. We ate as well as anyone could have, thanks to cooking at home and freezing things prior to the trip, and none of us fell into a river, broke a bone, or dropped a log on our toe. It was an excellent adventure.

      I do hope there are photos at your place. I’ll have some, but I have to cull the truly terrible first, and figure out which are worth sharing.

  17. Linda,

    As the celebration of Christmas doesn’t fall just on one single day, as you always say, so we should not limit thanksgiving to just one day, or just one weekend. But here it is, that important weekend has come and so say I too: Happy Thanksgiving to you, my Southern Neighbour! While I try to absorb and learn the lesson of giving thanks in the midst of -20C temp. and yes, lots of snow to shovel. :)

    1. Arti! I know where some of your friends are — right here! Oh, how I wish you had been with us to see the thousands and thousands of birds. I wish I’d learned how to take better videos, too. It never crossed my mind that I’d find something worth recording. But I do have a very short one I’ll get to you later, so you can hear the cacophony.

      Now — what’s this about -20C and snow? Clearly, I need to come see your Saturday snapshots!

    1. It was a fine time-out, Bill. It was cold enough to really enjoy a fire at night, yet pretty and warm during the day. The cotton crop is in, and the winter veggies are thriving.

      On Thanksgiving day, down in Zavala County, there were the biggest fields of cabbage you could imagine. I went looking for a little information, and found this. The second paragraph was especially interesting, in light of what I’ve learned on your blog about industrial farming. It would be worth more exploration on another trip.

      I hope your holiday was a good one — it’s time for me to catch up with the farm!

  18. Mary Oliver always seems to nail it :-) May you have had a wonderful time away from it all, and return refreshed and delighted.

    1. I am refreshed, eremophila, and I certainly was delighted by my time away. Settling back in always takes some time, but I’m on my way, and looking forward to getting back to work. I’m looking forward to visiting you, too, as you’re always refreshing and delightful!

    1. Oh, Gallivanta, it was a wonderful time. And it seems I got so far “away” that it took me far longer than it should to get back on track. But little by little, I’m getting back into the swing of things. For once, I came home pleased with some of my photos, too. That’s a new thing — though I had to spend considerable hours decluttering my camera’s cards!

  19. Ah, isn’t it a gift to get away and marvel at our beautiful world? I thought of you often and knew you were soaking in every nuance during your travels.

    the ‘skipping rocks’ image on your next post is my favorite.. i think it’s ’10-a’

    1. Hi, Lisa! A quick note while you’re still around. I’m so glad you enjoyed that post about the Frio, and I also love that “skipping rocks” photo. I thought of you when I found those shadowed cypress. I’ve got a set of four, all different. The question was which to use! Gosh, it was fun to see such things.

      Glad to see you back. It’s taken me the full two weeks since T’giving to get a post up. I was so completely unplugged, I hardly could find the wall socket when I got back!

      Oh! I did find something at Camp Wood that’s an amazement. I’ll post the photo on your blog, once I find it. It was like Ecuador (or CR, or Guatamala) meets Texas!

      hugs, Linda

      1. hey again! yes, i’m still here – cramming as if prepping for an exam! am about to go find a bite to eat then return to write a post.

        my month was wild; first with a tour group then w/a heart-broken friend who came for a few weeks to try to get past the grief stage… he’s better, gracias a-dios! i did stop for thanksgiving w/my friends in mindo and then home sweet home to ‘surprise- no power!’ and still no power.. i’ve enjoyed being home and off the grid so much that i kept putting off coming to town and ‘complaining…’

        will do that tomorrow, on day 8 of blissful no power/internet!

        i DO miss your posts when i am not online!
        z

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