Ode to Fall
A bit of back-log:
I started this series in early September.
An ode for fall and the autumnal color of Montana's best season.
Much has happened since then.
And the sentiment here,
that of seasonal shift and growth,
has become not just paramount to this series,
it's the essence.
In middle September, my 93 year old grandmother passed away.
I washed up all my work commitments immediately, benched this series for later, and hopped on a plane.
4 planes, actually.
I drove 1200 miles over 8 days,
jogging between Montana, my homestate, and where my grandma lived.
It was utterly exhausting.
The grief and the grinding travel schedule.
The family endeavors.
The extended family meet ups.
The babies. The cousins. The community.
Holding space for personal pain.
Holding space for family pain.
Just, holding space.
It was at times ugly. At times beautiful.
And devastatingly sad.
It was powerful, to say the least.
I have struggled with the words here, for this work,
as it's tangled up in a mess of joy and sorrow,
and crack-me-open-wide-ness that's hard to articulate.
It's steeped in life-cycles, death-cycles, and
A wave of wide-arms in unexpected places.
My mind drifts a lot lately.
I tear up quickly in odd places.
Grocery store lines, yoga classes, the bookstore.
Greif sneaks up on me.
And I figure, it might for awhile.
To be honest and fair, I have struggled with the construction of this series, too.
Once left to collect dust as I mitigated family funeral arrangements,
it seemed this project couldn't be prodded into fruition.
In fact, it was hell getting it to completion.
I struggled with concept and composition.
I remade things.
I nearly melted much of it all to hell.
I struggled with simple solder skills.
With the weight and layers of silver.
I second-guessed myself.
I doubted the endings.
I hated much of it at times.
But I ground out the ending.
And I am proud of the outcome.
In the midwest, where we lay my grandma to rest,
where I hear that front gate swing to her house in my sleep,
where she raised EVERYONE and their children too,
I can't help but swell with pride.
There's a touch of her in everything.
There's a touch of her in ME.
And for that, I am forever grateful.
And maybe, when I barely knew I needed it,
she gave me a fall gathering of all the things that really matter in this life.
A collection of words for you on this work:
Ode TO FALL
Confetti party colors tumble from tree-tops
to coat my bed in flames of dying flesh,
the dirt of after-life only a shovel away
re-birth in a worm
The squirrel chides us, hurried, jumping across aspen
nearly missing the branch, mark, moment
waiting for secret stashes
to reveal themselves
I went to my garden this evening
as the sun washed me and the raspberries in the longest light
Cold October shadows kicking their way past the horizon.
I buried my hand in the last warmth of a well-tended bed of strawberries
Fingers sunk into the redness of autumn
and I felt for your nod of approval
as though my hand could soak up softness
and my thrumming heart could make the bees find their way home.
I hoped you'd be there,
in a way,
For Nellie. With love.