the goodbye girl

It’s been mostly a warm winter. Not much snow. My daily walk is an hour tip to tail on our property, with her arms spread out wide (I don’t know what that even means, but I’m going with it). So instead of the usual winter whites, my eyes have been feasting on mossy greens and peat-y browns. Brown on brown on green on gold. The woods have been lush, wet and alive, with lots of activity, growth. I will miss these woods.

We will only be in WV for another month or two and as we prepare to move out west, I realize how much place means to me. I truly yearn for a permanent home. Thanks to health and financial issues, the  last few years have felt very transient and unsettled. And as we head to Utah, we will probably still be in limbo for a time. But I feel so lucky to be living here, now. I love this place. F is already out in Utah and says the mountains and rivers there are so dramatic and gorgeous, WV pales in comparison. But I don’t believe it. Will I be able to walk for miles and not see a human? Will I find a secret wood chime like the one we hung out by a remote creek, one that will be a surprise for a future somebody?

What of these trees, these mushrooms, these paths? My signposts now are the tree-man, the ruffle mushrooms, cedar that runs into the fallen mossy oak, a faerie pine comb branch, and the place the dogs scramble down to the big creek.  The treasures I find are secret stories contained in an old jar of sparkly dirt, a hollow in a tree that the dogs drink water mixed with tree sap from,  and a concrete sign that foretells new beginnings. Maybe these woods mean so much to me  because, now all but forgotten, they were once well-explored, traveled, loved.

I don’t want to forget them, I want to tuck them away in my pocket, or wear them like a jacket. But you can’t really own a place, not like this. It reminds me of how I felt leaving Maine. I lived on an old berry farm there, in the hills, near snowmobile trails where I could leave my house and snowshoe for miles and miles. Where my Ace loved to eat the blackberries the grew along the dirt road. Like then it doesn’t seem possible that I will find a place that speaks to me with the quiet connection that has been right for me at this time in my life. And it quite literally does speak to me, in this house whose walls are made of cordwood, stone, colored glass bottles and the occasional dinosaur and secret message.

As a bohemian-type yankee from Connecticut & NY, then Boston, NH & Maine, the South was as foreign to me as if I had move out of the country. I haven’t always felt like I fit into West Virginia and North Carolina (except in my happy hippy town of Asheville). But there is much about the place that will always tug at my heart. The first day we moved back here, I got a flat tire and the very first person to pass me insisted on helping me fix it. It is a place of simple goodness (mixed with some wily reticence), with characters in every hill and holler. Our (world’s best) neighbors have traveled the world, but built their home on 40 acres right here, where we celebrated Christmas with them with the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Then we came home and soaked in a wood-fired hot tub under the stars. I don’t know what life in Utah will be like, but I hope for natural beauty mixed with a community of good, natural, happy souls.

Azul watches over Salvador often


And speaking  of Southern love, my friend Diane of Dog and Pony Press tipped me off to the incomparable Butch Anthony. Oh my dog! Happy! Love! Donkey! Could not love this man, or this donkey, more.
donkey dance with butch anthony
and with just a tiny bit of stalking digging, I discovered that Butch is the partner (romantic) of another major stalkee of mine, Natalie Chanin of the inspirational Alabama Chanin. What a couple. And check out the place Butch built in Florence Alabama. I mean, who does not love the word laconic. Butch’s Doo-nanny Festival is coming up March 30-April 1, in Seale, Alabama.

In cuteness news, Hali loves to engage Siri, the cool chick who lives in my iphone in conversation. This morning, after a particularly good convo, Hali said to Siri, “I love you, Siri.”
To which Siri responded, “I’ll bet you say that to all your Apple products.”


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