000_1798The autumnal equinox rains her power down on me today, as I sit musing about all the things that I have and have not been this past summer season. Autumn is a time of celebrating our successes as well as our failures, and being a depressed person, it is alway easier for me to look at where I am lacking, so start with some confessions here.

I have not been keeping up with regular ceremony in my life at all. Tonight will be the first time I’ve had my pipe out in months. I have never even completed a thoughtful house-blessing and cleansing ceremony in and for our new home. I have not sought out any new friends, nor any new connections in my new home town. I have not written much, and that hurts. I have struggled with low moods and they have overtaken me too often, I am ashamed to admit. Sometimes, even though I believe that letting go and accepting what life brings to you is the only sane way to live in this world, I have cursed God (she can take it…) about the constant calamity my life seems to have become this past year. I have wanted to—as I’ve written here before—run away. Just run away from all of it, as far and as fast as I can go…

These are the things I grieve as fall steps in to my life quietly, leaving her perfumed footprints on colored leaves. These are the summer dreams that did not grow, but withered on the vine. These things I will put into my pipe tonight, and watch as they turn from sad memories into sweet, sky-reaching smoke.

Now, I turn to the spring dreams that blossomed in the heat of summer. The little dreams that I was able to nurture well, and that grew strong. Or at least strong enough. Somehow, through hell and beyond, we are settled into our little gray hill house and it is a sweet and welcoming place. Somehow, I took the time to unpack things in a very thoughtful manner so that—for the first time in a long time—I know where things are, and can put my hands on what I need quickly. Not a big deal, but boy, does life run more smoothly when stuff is in its place.

000_1821This summer I fulfilled my spring dreams of having a honeybee hive in our yard and the bees are thriving. With any new venture, there comes the excitement of learning something new. I began this springtime knowing virtually nothing about the life of a honeybee. Now, I can sit at the entrance to the hive and in many cases, know if the bees are content and prospering. As with any venture involving critters, keeping and caring for them becomes more a way of life than just a project. Horse people know this, especially.

My heart’s desire is to make this little hill house a sanctuary for all who visit—both the two-leggeds, and those with fur and feathers and scales and many legs. To that end, I’ve put in two modest little ponds, set up feeding stations for birds and other creatures, and planted flowers to feed body and soul.

I’ve also made myself take time daily to sit and just appreciate some small aspect of Nature, whether it is a jeweled hummingbird at the feeder, or the way morning sunlight falls on blades of bent grass. These little interludes ignite within me the precious healing power of awe, and as far as I’m concerned, if your capacity for awe is dead, so are you. So I put a priority on those little pathways to daily awe. I say thank you to the hummingbirds, and thank you to the grass. If I treasure words of appreciation, I figure that Nature does, too.

I made headway in looking into the process of e-publishing, or self publishing my book of Indiana stories. I plan to tackle that task this winter. I am also dreaming of clearing out our screened in patio so that I can perhaps hold small classes there come spring.

Summer has gone, dancing her way out of my days, twirling away in her blue-sky radiance, leaving me one last, long look at her deep green glory. Autumn is here in her coat of many colors, and I welcome her fully. She seems to stay the shortest of any season, no matter what the calendar says.

May your coming weeks be full of color, steeped in the autumn gifts of bounty and introspection. May you dance hard and happy amongst the falling leaves, and sing your own, unique song of harvest.

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  1. aletheia mystea says:

    Susan so glad you wrote and since I am currently in a second round immersion of Susan books..I’m reading again 7-8 yrs. later with SOOO much more life lived with the most recent deeper than deep loss of Desi…I am filled with Your sustenance again…life lines again…thank you so very much all ways!! A

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Aletheia, I, too, am rereading books this year that I have not read in a long time, and learning new things at every page. Each time we come back to old books, we come back as a different person having lived longer and learned more. It changes our perspective on everything, even if only in little ways.

  2. Dear Susan, – Having just finished reading Animals as Teachers and Healers and Why Buffalo Dance in this past month, let me assure you that even when you may be feeling, from time to time, unproductive, or bogged in a state of depression, your books have a life of their own, and with every new reader, your gifts, like countless seedlings, are being sown into the receptive hearts of those of us fortunate to have discovered your works. I plan to read Why Buffalo Dance at the change of every season – rare is the book that draws my interest so, as to be worthy or reading again and again. Yours are rare jewels and I so look forward to reading your other books. Be gentle with yourself. You make all the difference in the world! Thank you and many blessings, Susan Alcantara

  3. kathey says:

    Susan, this is a wonderful posting. So glad to know that you have your necessary household items put into their rightful places and that your gardens have started being built and coming into their own. Setting up a new life somewhere as you have done is extremely taxing and requiring great output of strength and belief in the future. Yet we have to create that future just as you have been doing all summer long. Welcome to autumn! its beauty and its joys and its journey into winter. I wish you the very very best in these final months of this year.

  4. Carter says:

    When we found our new home, we made the decision to buy it before we saw the inside. The yard was covered with all kinds of of flowers. There were a garage, shop, screen room, a screened patio all on a small town lot and a half. The brick and stone work forming garden walls, terraces and an amazing, outdoor, brick fireplace made it all the more magical. The inside was a mess that took two months for the contractors to make livable.

    The work required a lot of walking back and forth between the garage, screen room and house. Needless to say the small amount of grass in the yard was trampled into near-dirt. Can you imagine a summer of no rain-in the Northwest? Well we got it and what was left of the grass turned brown. Almost on cue, the first day of fall brought the first rain in months. Voila green grass.

    I am awed by Nature’s restorative power. All She needs is a little time. Of course she needs mankind to back off a little to give Her a chance to work her magic. Naturally, an awesome, caring woman to give Her a little assistance helps too.

  5. Nancy Kelly says:

    I would so love to read your book of Indiana stories!! You write so very beautifully, and I am very interested in the wildlife rehab you did, and your ponds! I share your fascination with ponds and the creatures they attract. Also, I am interested in the midwest and gardening and nature there. I have only lived in the west. Another book would be a gift.


    • Susan McElroy says:

      Nancy, I’m working on getting my Indiana stories out. The midwest was an enchanted place—furthest east I’ve ever lived, and so different from the west as to be another country.

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