Sunday 13 November 2011

In the time of re-remembering.

The air is incensed now with woodsmoke and dying leaves.
A time when everything changes.  Is not what it was.  What it seemed.  

First the spectacular dying of the year;  the trees and shrubs show their shape-shifting nature.  In the trickster hedges and copses, I sometimes see figures on the very edge of sight: a shape, a movement. Nature has her Carnival time.  She plays, wears costumes and masks, she flirts, and dances until dawn. 

Then drops, exhausted, under a covering sky.   


And sheltering mists.

Now, the introspective time of the year.  Time for retreating.  For hearth and home.  Kettle and comfort.  
Ladybugs seek a bed for the winter.   

I find I read more poetry at this time of year than any other.  I write more poetry too in this pleasantly melancholy time of re-remembering.  

My old journal is just about full.  Time to get out the bookbinding tools and make another one.

Work on a poem jotted down in a sketchbook inspired by the sketch of a dying apple.   

Every time we remember, we minutely alter the memory by what has passed and who we have become between remembrances.  It's a slippery eel of a thing, memory.  A shape-shifter when cornered.  Proteus in a bear-hug.  

In her website's October column, Jeanette Winterson wrote something which struck a chord:  
“I come here [Paris] to live another life, connected to but not identical to my own. I read different books. I speak (not well) a different language. I eat different food and change my usual habits. Consequently I think about things differently, and when that happens, I remember things differently too. This is striking and surprising, as though the layers and layers of time and mind and experience and capacity will re-order themselves if given the opportunity to do so.
I felt relief this morning walking over the Pont Neuf with the dog. The relief was not just the happiness of a short break, though it was that too, but it was also a tectonic shift in my social relations with myself and my life. We are in relation to our ourselves, and that can change, stretch, recolour, recode.”

For me, this is the season for reevaluating my relations without and within.  This is only in part due to its being my birth month - birthdays always give an opportunity to contemplate, to remember, to reevaluate.  But it's mainly because of the season.  The strong changes both without and within.  A mirroring.  A magical symmetry.  A slow, slow dance.  
Think I'll end with a poem by one of my favourite poets, Gwendolyn MacEwen, whom I posted about (herea few months back.  

Dark Pines Under Water

This land like a mirror turns you inward 
And you become a forest in a furtive lake; 
The dark pines of your mind reach downward, 
You dream in the green of your time, 
Your memory is a row of sinking pines.

Explorer, you tell yourself this is not what you came for
Although it is good here, and green.
You had meant to move with a kind of largeness,
You had planned a heavy grace, an anguished dream.

But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper
And you are sinking, sinking, sleeper
In an elementary world;
There is something down there and you want it told.  

* Gwendolyn MacEwen's works copyright to the Estate of Gwendolyn MacEwen.  


  1. hello, thank you for stopping by my blog post and wishing me a good trip to Japan.. I had a wonderful time... and your quote from Jeanette Winterson touched a chord in me because of my trip.. and your autumn images are so colorful and beautiful.

  2. Autumn is glorious and perfect for poetry! There's something magical about the liminal time between fall and winter as well, I think. The comfort of hearth and kettle, indeed :~)

    I am entirely smitten with your apple sketch and your photos are beautiful!

    Winterson is brilliant, isn't she? I love her work!

  3. Lynn, when is your b-day exactly? I am November born myself (25th.)

    Love this blog posting of yours ... deep in all the resonate and righteous ways. And I especially love your journal art. Things has been tumbling around in my head, but I am hoping to clear some of that out before the year ends.

    Vamos a ver?!

  4. I love that poem - thankyou! And thanks for the beautiful images too.

  5. I am spellbound by your first image here. Your entire post is mesmerizing. Thank you.

  6. Glad your Japan trip went well, Donna. Travel does take us out of ourselves and context and allow us to see things anew.

    It is a special time, Donna, between fall and winter. I've always loved the cusp of things. I agree - Winterson is amazing. With her incredible intellect and wit she manages to highlight things in brilliant ways. I had fun with the apple, thanks!

    Hi Jan, another November child. I'm the 19th. Glad the post resonated with you! Here's to getting those tumbling thoughts harnessed.

    I'm glad you liked the poem, Katherine. I'm sure I'll be posting more of her work from time to time - she's been haunting me for years.

    Thank you, Sharon. I should mention that it's an "arrow loop" (had to look that name up - the hole through which arrows could be shot out of a castle) from an old castle in Grunwald, at the south end of Munich here. I loved the ambiguity of the image - it surprised me at first by looking almost like a bottle of sunlight.

  7. Lovely post, Lynn. I adore your autumnal bavarian photos - these colours & textures are just overwhelming. Make me remember my Munich time...
    And the poem is very beautiful and nostalgic, as is Jeanette Winterson's prose.
    Good job you know how to make your own journals... that's a very useful talent (a friend of mine is a bookbinder).

  8. What a beautiful post, thank you.

    'this pleasantly melancholy time of re-remembering': that describes this time of year so perfectly.

    I hope you had a lovely birthday.

  9. Thanks, Sue. It is lovely here in the Autumn. And yes, making my own journals is very handy, as I have a bad habit of starting to write in one, but not complete it, and want to start writing in a new, pristine one. Potentially expensive habit!

    Thank you, Claire. It's such a poignant time of the year.
    I did have a wonderful, low-key birthday at home. My (requested) gift was a new tea pot - which has been getting a lot of use!

  10. lynn, your post is astonishingly beautiful and absolutely so right. you say it's your birthmonth? mine to. sag or scorpio?

  11. Thanks, Velma.
    Scorpio. What about you?

  12. Beautiful post Lynn! I like what you say about memory being a slippery eel,how true.
    Thanks for sharing this lovely poem.
    Best wishes,

  13. sag. the 28th. my sweetie is a scorpio!

  14. Dear Lynn, just awarded your blog a Liebster Award...

  15. Thank you, Ruth!

    That's today, Velma - very happy birthday!

    Thank you so much, Katherine!

  16. This was a really beautiful post, the photographs and your words and thoughts. Love your journal too.
    Just had my birthday. I guess these things are even more special when it is your birthday month. Thank you.

  17. Thanks, Milly - and Happy Birthday!