Into Dusk, Into Autumn

The sun is with us always

for months and months

there is light when we wake

and we sleep and then

suddenly

the sky fades and the flowers

have lost their petals

when we weren’t looking

Remember to look up

It is easy to be caught by the passage of seasons and important to remember to look.


For more passages, observed and otherwise, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

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Drainage

The mountains empty in the fall, in the spring.

Snow melt and fall rains swell the creeks that feed the rivers that rise the water

Up over the landscape.

You can see the flood marks on the trees,

Carved into the gravel and banks.

When the water recedes,

The sculptures are left in its wake.

Savaged and sculpted branches melded with rocks and uprooted trees-

Contortions never possible while living.

(A dead moose trapped under the bridge, its bones full of hiding fish.)

On higher land,

The scale is smaller,

But the effect is similar.

Those unmaintained marks of humanity and drainage,

Grow over in thick moss and mushrooms,

Soon to be battered once again,

By the passage of indifferent storms.

IMG_0233The only constant is destruction… and regrowth.

Water is a powerful force both in its presence and in its absence.


For more cyclical forces, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

 

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

In summer, we live on what we grow.

Greens for the stomach and blooms for the heart.

Thick soil, ripe with worms and beetles, spread with the spectrum of colours, a riot of blooms and shoots.

So short the time of air thick with bird song, with ever-blowing samaras and cypselas.

Our hand-crafted greenery can feel that pulse, that frantic pace of the living and blooming.

Things grow in a riot of intensity, greedily soaking up every ray, every breath of sun-warmed air.

As they speed, I slow.

I stand in the heavy scent of peonies, of honeyblossoms-

Close my eyes and gather warm memories for colder days.

IMG_2308My cat also has a deep appreciation for tulips and associated greenery

There are few things I love more than the rich, heady scent of a sun-warmed garden.


For more plants of power, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

The Sun at Midnight

The owls are confused this time of year.

You can hear them, dazzled by the unfamiliar light that stretches over the grounds they hunt.

The other birds are more pragmatic, less concerned with the unfamiliar-

-More concerned with gorging-

-Before the shadow cast becomes the reality.

We stand sometimes and watch the frantic motion as the sun lazily traces its path between the mountains-

-Barely touching the horizon before it neatly races to the other side, a feat of the particular magic of summer.

By queer chance, both the winter and the summer solstice have passed on days that I share my thoughts.

They are strong tides, those days of light and darkness.

To stand beneath the sun at midnight, it is hard to remember the weight of the dark.

Even then, even in the lazy haze of warmth and light-

-The shadows of the trees still stretch outwards.

Still reach towards the time that is passing back towards survival and the knife’s edge of moonlight.

IMG_2277So passes the light and the shadows cast beneath it

All light or none, the North is a place beautiful in its extremes.


For more extremes of various kinds, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

The Darling Buds- Crocus

I was always colder in the city.

Theoretically, that center of humanity and commerce never was anywhere near as cold as the winters I remembered.

But there was some quality: of the air, of the wind, of the never-ending damp.

I was always chilled to the bone-

Shivering, even in the pale light that penetrated the clouds.

It was a strange, slow grind on my mind and body.

Sweaters and heaters didn’t help.

The cold seemed to be as much inside as outside.

When I spoke to those from further north, I always laughed as I looked out the window and told them-

Yes, crocuses in February! You couldn’t even imagine it.

It was only after I got off the phone that I would really look at the flowers.

That I would focus on the beauty as a reward-

And not a punishment.

IMG_1770Crocus: Abuse me not

The Darling Buds are brought to you by Victorian flower meanings, a wanton disregard for photographic technique, and the letter N for Nostalgia.


My grandfather always told me that when you realized you were on the wrong path, the best thing to do was to get off the path. Because no matter how far you traveled, you were still traveling in the wrong direction. For more writing on directions, wrong and otherwise, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.

An Easy Spring

It froze last night.

It was a deep frost, lacing the newly budding leaves with a thin web of ice before vanishing under the anemic warmth of the sun.

Just north of here, there are places with no months that are frost-free.

Spring is deceptive.

Other lands, other landscapes, have easy boundaries between the cold and the warmth.

It is possible to measure, scientifically, the sun angle and the number of days from the Equinox and speak knowingly of whether winter has vanished.

Here, it is closer to magic, to the alchemical process of transmuting lead to gold.

Watch the caterpillars, the shadows of the mountains, the movement of air down the river valley-

Transmute these things into a calculus of still-born life, of a reminder of the knife’s edge we walk.

And still we grow.

Plants bursting forth, a hundred birds rising as a single mind, a single body.

The air buzzing with insects, with songs, with the thick smell of things growing and dying.

There is no freedom from the shadow of death.

Still the green things reach upwards.

No less beautiful for their dangerous struggle.

No less determined in their unfolding, in their relentless march towards life.

IMG_1775Green persists, even in the face of its destruction

I have the deepest respect for the ability of northern beings to keep living in the face of the challenges of their environments.


I am a lover of persistence both in life and in writing. If you would like to read more about persistence and the overcoming of impossible odds, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.

 

In All Things, Joy

The air sings still of the weekend’s snow, of colder, darker months, not yet forgotten.

Such a sharp edge for the cresting of the new.

Too soon, and the late frosts will stifle the birthing.

Too late, and the time for frantic growth will be cut short on the other side of the seasons.

It would be easy to see it as a cycle of fear, cold death chasing until it catches and swallows.

I look out now and see the lie in the trail of life before me.

We do not grow away from the cold, from the death that would drown us.

We grow upwards, outwards.

Not fleeing.

Chasing

Light, joy, love.

Those that grow do not cower from what-might-not -be.

Life is not for retraction, for burrowing back into the frozen earth.

Life is reaching, greedily grasping every breath of warmth, every ounce of joy.

For daring the frost, the snow, the unexpected, and shooting upwards-

Buds outstretched, furling into the sun.

 Upright LeafIn all things, joy. In all joy, hope.

The pursuit of joy has always served me better than the flight from fear.


For more of writing on joy and fear, both flight and pursuit, you can read my fantasy novel,The Guests of Honor. It is available here. The sequel, With Honor Intact, will be coming out on April 23, 2015.

Everyday Magic- Seasons

There are stories that stick in a child’s head in strange and unusual ways.

For me, this was the story of a little boy with the magic to bring his paintings to life. As long as he did not complete his paintings, they remained beautiful, but non-living, works of art. When completed, they would remove themselves from the page and come out into the world. There is more to the story, both joy and tragedy, involving a greedy emperor and some subtle meditations on the meaning of art versus life.

All I understood was that with the right paintbrush, the world around me could be created.

This was especially obvious to me as the seasons changed.

In spring, a faint touch would pull along the brown branches, delicately spackling buds that would emerge with a firmer hand and harder line of green.

In summer, the heat would take on a life of its own, faint lines of blurred colour resting oppressively above all of the outside.

In fall, the specks of red, stars of yellow, would start at the outer edge, forced by gravity to spill downwards, swathing the forest in colour.

In winter, the delicate borders of frost would hint at the watercolourist’s nightmare, a world of white.

When I think of seasons, I think of a soft hand and a large paintbrush.

I think of a small child laughing, trailing magic behind him.

IMG_0007A soft hand and a child’s heart

This week is dedicated to everyday magic. I will be sharing some of the real-life inspiration for the strange things that appear in the pages of my stories.


If you would like to see how I deal with artistic magic as an adult, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.

 

 

A Long Dance in Darkness

I hear a rhythm as the seasons pass.

Here, it is a slow waltz transitioning into something wilder, freer.

But always underneath, there is the pulsing heartbeat of growth and death.

They partner together, one step forward, two steps back.

Life may seem to come in an explosion of song and greenery.

But careful dancers, cautious dancers will see the steps laid out ahead of time.

Cues of motion and direction written in the smell of soil, in the slight angle of light

I trace their pathway with my pen, my words a poor marker of the grace, of the subtle shifts in balance that surround me.

A perfect heel change-

One partner springs to life, while the other falls back, fading into the ground below.

I, audience and participant, mark my applause with my words.

 

IMG_0043The new partners emerge, the old recede


If you would like to watch me dance in longer form, I have also written a fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor. It is available here.