• ragandstone

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,

but honestly,

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.

And healing.

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 stone-setting.

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:




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,

you were.


For Nellie. With love.


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© 2020 All images, photography, and text copyrighted under and property of Erin Hawley and Rag and Stone Studio. Do not copy, cite, or reproduce without written permission of artist. Thank you.