“Attention is the beginning of devotion.” –Mary Oliver
I’ve been in Slovenia a little over a month now. It feels strange. Time has passed by so quickly, and yet also very slowly. So much has happened.
This place also has mountains, lakes, forests. But it seems a bit gentler somehow, than Norway. The sun is warmer, even up here in the Alps, and the rocks are white, not dark, the rivers are pale and see through, not wild and almost black.
Sometimes I miss the wild, stormy nature of home, but this place is gentling me, and it’s so so beautiful. Like a place out of a fairytale, a hidden gem that you don’t know existed until suddenly you’re here.
There is a dusting of snow on the mountains now. Winter is coming.
At the beginning of October, I felt a deep need to write, like the nature around me was asking me to. Like I could wait no longer. There was so much beauty to breathe in. And it seems most of my creative energy is going to the novel I’m working on. My first novel.
And I’ve been drawn to Mary Oliver for some time now, and yesterday I finally bought a book of hers and fell in love. She makes me want to go outside and touch trees, speak to them, see them, just notice life around me. God is out there, somehow. And also right here, with me, around me.
Some things I wrote yesterday evening, this morning.
I went into the forest today, again when it was already getting dark. And I remember it now, lying in bed. How my heart wanted to break open. How I wanted to cry, though I never did. The trees were all dark around me, though there was a light above them, in the sky. The last bit of light before nightfall.
White mist is hugging my windows, so I can see nothing but odd faint shapes in the distance, shapes of trees perhaps, of mountains. But mostly the world is white and silent, leaving me space to dream, to be soft and silent within myself also. The outside world is forgotten. It’s only me and my words now, and a steaming cup of hot tea. Let me dream please, let me have the whole sky to write in, endless horizons, great wide fields of time for dreaming.
A few Instagram pictures.
And something I wrote for a scene in my novel, maybe, inspired by a moment in the forest after a long, morning walk with a friend. Speaking about and sharing my writing makes me feel afraid, and strong and frail all at the same time. Do you feel the same?
She saw light fall to her feet, like white strands of water, swimming along the forest ground. She drew a breath, feeling the cold October air run through her, raising her hands towards the sky, to the sun between the leaves, letting it play over her fingers. The wind whispered gentle music and the moss covered rock felt warm beneath her, supporting her. She sighed. I’m tired whispered her bones, her heart. Let me rest. Please.
God is here, right here. Now.
Her eyes went to the deep blue sky, the gold and ruby leaves lacing its edges, and she remembered the first frost on the ground that very morning. The world was going to sleep in the most beautiful way possible, fire and ice blossoming together side by side, and she wished to be in it, to follow it, melt into it, disappear.
Sometimes the beauty around her hurt, made her want to cry, made he want to worship the trees, the earth, the moss, all the light around her.
One time she had seen a small birch tree without its leaves, all covered in silver, while around it maples and oak burned with fire and gold, and she could not walk further until she had heard what it had to tell her.
If only she could walk in peace, forever, along the silver grass with trees burning all around her, the air sharp and cold, and new. If only she could keep away that flicker of worry, the fear that made her remember her dreams, the man, the frosty ground, the blackened sky. He would be coming soon, with the beginning of winter. If he was coming at all. She couldn’t decide if she wanted him to.
Also wanted to say that I’ve read this book for the third time now. Would recommend it to anyone, everyone 🙂 Deep in the far away. And all of her writing.
There are golden flowers, and golden leaves outside my window, shining in a world of green. When I woke up this morning, the sun was coming over the mountain, through a mist-filled forest. All the sounds around me were that of water, tinkling like fairy bells. I’m dreaming of a new place now, a new home. I feel a little anxious too, about our move to Slovenia, and trying to get everything packed and cleaned in time.
I listen to calming music. I broke my own rule of not listening to Christmas carols before December, but I love this song. There is something were soothing and beautiful about Mary singing to her child.
Artist – Zula Kenyon
It is the dream language. As you watch nature, as you watch your dreams, and as you listen, you will learn to interpret it. Your heart always knows, but it takes time, trust and courage, to learn to follow it. – (from my novel)
I’m writing now, as the day begins, the sun filling the world outside, filling the birch trees with green light. There is that touch of autumn in the air, just a chill of something, a few golden leaves. It is still warm, but it’s as though I can feel it coming, autumn, coming over the mountains in the distance, inching across the ground, whispering in the wind. Somehow, this time of year feels like a new beginning, more than the end of something. Normal life is starting up again, after a beautiful summer.
I saw the moon yesterday, it was bright and glowing against a deep blue sky. The stars were back too. All signs of a darker season.
I’ve been picking mushrooms and blueberries in the forest. Crouching down among moss and heather, the ground swimming with light and shadows.
Yesterday was the commemoration of the ascension of the Virgin Mary. A friend shared it with me. It’s not something I have celebrated in the past. Mary was pretty much absent from the church that I went to growing up, but I always feel drawn to her when I see pictures of her, statues, painted windows.
Some of us met, prayed and sang together. I felt there was a rose inside of me, and I asked silent questions, looking for guidance, and I felt them being answered.
I always carry this small, fragile question inside of me, that I ask the sky, my heart, that I whisper to the night. Am I loved?
I’m not sure why I still struggle with this, but I do. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to Mary, to her love, forgiveness. To me, she is the Divine Mother, the Goddess.
Sharing a beautiful interview with a woman who can see and speak with angels
And this, about the queen of angels
And my book is available in paperback.
I’ve been roaming the woods again, picking blueberries, raspberries, gathering mushrooms. Forest gold.
I want to listen, and be quiet, fall into myself and hear forest voices, tree voices, sink into a white, silent space inside of me. Deep as my bones. I want to be where the trees are, the birds are, even the moss that I stop to brush my hand against. I’m not sure if I’m making sense. But there is a peace out there that I long for, that I want. That all the things of the forest, of nature, holds inside of themselves. A deep quiet that I can’t quite grasp, but that makes me return to the woods to see if I can get a little closer, hear it a bit better, feel it inside of me.
Yesterday I went for a swim. Waded past yellow water lilies, and dove in, smelling fish as I did. One jumped up as I swam, creating ripples, making me laugh out loud in surprise. The water was black velvet, the sky the palest blue.
I’m leaving the cold north soon, to go to Slovenia. Leaving the darkness that seems to be in everything here, in the black mountains, the earth, even the lakes. It will be a nice change, I think. A different kind of beauty.
Wanted to mention that my book is now available in paperback.
Alexa Wilding (1879)
I feel as though I’ve stepped out of time, into a white and silent space. Perhaps it’s because of summer, all the long days that has pushed away the night, leaving only a shadow of darkness. Perhaps it’s because so many people are on vacation, and everything is a little more quiet than usual.
I wander the forest, looking around me at all the things I will be leaving very soon. That will soon be a mere memory. I was surprised to find mushrooms and blueberries and felt it was a gift from the earth, from the Goddess.
I feel I’m wrapping up my life here, in more ways than just packing things into boxes (we’re moving to Slovenia). I’m reflecting on all the things that have happened in this small, hidden away place. How its silence has healed something in me. After years in the city, it was amazing to hear birds and the wind, and the gentle lapping of waves, the rustle of leaves. Nature sounds and nothing else. Of course, there are cars driving by, but more often than not there are just long gaps of silence. I wanted this. I needed a place to be quiet and to listen, to hear what was whispering deep down inside of me.
This is where I first started writing. Really writing. Really looking at the grief that had been a part of me for so long.
It feels like a gift, everything that has happened. A beautiful, magical gift. I want to whisper “thank you” as I make tea, as I greet or say goodbye to the day, as I stare up at the green, pine forest outside my window.
I’m sitting at the computer now, next a vase of fading pink roses, and watching the evening light play over my hands as I type. The sun is just about to set over the mountains behind me, and the birch trees sway gently in the wind.
What gifts have you been given lately?
I’m wishing you a beautiful weekend. Blessings.
Also sharing the song of an owl, that I’ve been listening to so often as I fall asleep. Isn’t lovely? Somehow I feel it’s a song that opens doors, night doors to other dimensions.
Sometimes I look at someone and think “please create something. I know it will be beautiful because you’re beautiful.”
I walked by the ocean yesterday, along the beach, right at the edge of the world. In the distance, there was nothing but sky and the vast, glittering ocean, the sound of waves. The clouds kept changing, drifting, letting through the sun before swallowing it up again. I could see the rain coming towards me from far away.
And I walked among the wild roses, that held raindrops in their petals. I thought about the Goddess and felt a flicker of peace inside of me. Everywhere I stepped the grass was dotted with wildflowers.
I’m drinking in summer, holding as much of it inside of me as I can. Light and color and soft, friendly winds.
Wishing everyone a beautiful start on their week, and new beginnings for this new moon.
Sometimes I just long for beautiful places. For beauty in and of itself. At times I glimpse it, – when I open and my eyes and look around me. When I sit in silence and listen to the trees.
Yesterday I stood outside my apartment, with my cup of rose tea and gazed into the lake, seeing two white water lilies floating on its surface. I drank them in, along with my tea, and the dazzling light spreading across the lake and forest as the sun inched closer to the mountains.
Sometimes life feels a little painful. It’s hard to be myself and nothing more. It’s hard to not run away from what I am and to walk with the Goddess, as I’ve asked her to help me do.
I guess I want to be in life and not hide from it any longer. The more I’m in it the more things I also notice, and appreciate. I hope that makes sense.
And I think that when I gather beauty during the day, I also bring it into my dreams. Today, in the early morning I found myself next to snow-touched mountains and a grey ocean. It felt wild, ice cold, though there was no real sense of temperature. It was a dream, and I felt free.
I’ve been reading this lately, longing even more for my Mother. The Goddess. Today I listened to this talk and felt drawn to what he says about beauty growing inside of you.
The nights have become pale, ghost-like. I lay awake listening to the rustle of leaves, to tiny bells traveling from the other side of the lake, to the hoots of an owl. I know a low mist fills the mountains and forest outside, and nothing really sleeps anymore. There is always a light in the sky.
I wanted to write about the summer solstice when it was happening. But I felt too tired to. I felt a bit like this poem.
But I did watch the sunrise with my husband, and then listened to the rain coming down in the late morning and the rest of the day. My husband took some time off work and we spent a few slow days together. On my birthday (June 23) we went to the city to eat at a restaurant, and pick up some things from the health food shop. We wanted to go for a walk, but it was raining then too, and we could hear it drumming on the roof inside of the shop. The lady behind the counter smiled and wished us a happy St. John’s evening, which is traditionally celebrated here with bonfires.
Yesterday we went for a short hike in the mountains, and I thought of trolls and other mystical creatures as we walked down a wet grassy slope, back to our car. There was mist rising from the mountains, and the sky hung dark and low above them.
In a way, I’m saying goodbye to this place because we’re moving. We’re going to Slovenia, to the Alps, and the romantic, green beauty there. We’re leaving at the end of August…
And my book is still free, for a little while longer. You can get it here.
Artist – Zula Kenyon
This morning I felt like a cat licking sunlight. I sat in a sliver of light that stretches to the top of the stairs outside my apartment. I can sit there, feeling nice and warm until the sun rises higher and disappears above my rooftop.
I felt I held a prayer inside of me as I walked in the mountains yesterday. A wish I hoped would come true. Sometimes I feel I’m still waiting for myself, for some lost part of myself to come back to me. I want to feel whole, complete and safe. I think I’m still healing and learning to receive, and I often forget that, trying to push something that can’t be pushed and be forced. All the” shoulds” and “have-toes”in my mind actually slows down the process.
Perhaps the mountain remained me of all this. On Sundays, I ask my husband if he wants to drive up up, to the mountain, because it seems it’s the only place I really long for right now. I’m not sure I ever felt like this before. We had a cabin we would visit frequently during my childhood, among rocks and heather, next to a cold, dark lake, but perhaps I took it for granted, the beauty and silence up there.
The mountain feels untouched, closer to the sky. I always think starlight when I go there, even though we walk in the brightness of day. And yesterday was supposed to be a short trip because I said I was feeling tired. But then that beauty of wind and trees, and little streams took hold of me and we walked for three hours.
There were tiny white flowers among the heather. And fields filled with cottongrass (I hope that’s the right name for it). I touched them and remember moments from my childhood when my sister and I would gather those white wool like buds, and put them in a vase in our cabin. My mom said people used to fill their pillows with them.
I stopped sometimes, turned to see the sun through birch trees, to see it glittering in a lake as our path curled around it. We stopped there, stepped out onto a flat rock and filled our water bottles. I sat down, cross-legged, gazing at the mountains where the sun was about to set, very slowly. He takes his time crossing the sky these days.
The light had turned a golden orange when we found our way back to the main road. The fields were drenched in gold. At night I remembered what I had seen and reflected on it a bit, tucking it all away like pearls inside of me.
I told my husband on our walk, as I smiled into the sun, that I felt I had to drink in summer now now, because you never know when winter will return. This might be a very Norwegian mentality ingrained in me. In California, it was the opposite, where I enjoyed winter and spring, which were green and alive, instead of summer where the heat scorched the hills, and everything felt yellow and worn out.
I hope you had a beautiful weekend, and that a beautiful week is ahead of you.
Shared a few pictures on Instagram.
Only a week now until the summer (or winter) solstice.
Albert Lynch (1861)
I’ve observed simple things today. The eagle going round and round above the treetops, crying out. The light and shadows dancing over my keyboard as I write this. An overgrown forest path and a tiny pond among white birch trees almost dried up in the summer sun. During the winter and fall months, when it’s larger, deeper, it makes me think of stories I’ve heard, dark stories of things living in the water, and something glittering like gold.
But right now everything is bright and shining. I still blink my eyes sometimes in wonder at the transformation outside my window. It seems almost like a dream.
Mr owl has been singing outside my window when I go to bed. I fall asleep listening to his hoots. He reminds me that it is truly night time, even though the sky is pale and white, and there is almost no darkness to speak of. The summer solstice is drawing close. Will you celebrate it?
I wanted to share a video that I fell in love with. It has subtitles.
Also, I’m working to put my book From Darkness to Light into paperback. Hope to have that happen soon.