Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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Autumn Writing Music Monday: All the Trees

“You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”  Isiah 55:12

With the last few days of official summer drifting closer to the autumnal equinox, I think of fall and all its “mellow fruitfulness”*  I’m not religious, nor am I a bible reader. Yet, I do believe there are written passages in the ‘Good Book’ that reflect a lovely soulful connection to the earth and all its godly goodness.

(Writing Prompt: What does Autumn mean to you in your part of the world? Write about it!)

After the barefoot freedom and long days of summer, when green leaves so hard earned after a cold brutal winter begin their cycle of goodbyes in a glory of golds and color, soft lights, smokey rotten aromas and crisp chilly air….we drift into soulful introspection following the season of fun in the sun.

Trees are life. They are compelling. Not only am I taken by them being a metaphor for family and various generations and cycles of life, I’m mainly fascinated by their growth, their size, their variety and their majesty.

I feel safe under their branches, yet frightened by their towering height. In their bare state in winter, their trunks, branches and twigs look like human arteries, veins and vessels clustered like an x-ray of the human cardiovascular system. They are the living, breathing nervous system of this planet, allowing oxygen and soil to work cohesively to sustain life and to filter out impurities.

I love trees so much, I often wonder why I never studied Dendrology.

The trees of Autumn invite us outside for a celebration of color before bidding farewell for the winter.  The colors bring about new wardrobe, holiday preparations kicked off by the first sign of pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns before we see turkeys, pilgrims and Santa Claus.

It’s the parade of trees. This beautiful fall foliage reminds me of the woods behind the condo where my parents used to live. Forty years before they lived there, that backyard area of woodland used to be a small house-less street,  disused and left to the overgrowth of nature.

The wide path, once road, was no longer concrete, but packed with years of fallen leaves mulched into wide and winding beaten path. Various old telephone poles that had old rusted metal badges marked ‘Bell Telephone’ were still hanging on the dark, rotten wood, old electric cables were still strung from pole to pole leading to the active street beyond the stretch of woods.  A small forgotten fire hydrant sat there, ready in case of danger.

Far off, you could hear the babbling brook that turned rainwater from the hills into a splashing falls near the edges of the land that bordered the parking lot of the condos nearby. There was an old rusted plow with wagon wheels disintegrating into the dead, dry branches. A relic of another time.

Photos like the one above take me back to this memory. Back to when I walked our hound Baldrick under a canopy of yellow and red trees in November. The chill hitting my nose, the smell of hickory smoke from chimney bringing in a feeling of warmth and peace.  We’d walk down that old forgotten wide beaten path and jump over fallen trees – both thin and thick, while Baldrick sniffed and shuffled to bring up scent on an animal that danced by earlier

I’m aiming to return for good. If not this season, then in time to be back and settled by next Fall with my hound Baxter. We will take the train up north, back to those woods, where he can waddle and sniff in the footpath of his predecessor – his late brother Baldrick. Back to that part of the east coast where I felt nature, with cool earth, wet leaves and mellow fruitfulness.

“All the Trees in the Field Will Clap Their Hands”

If I am alive this time next year,
Will I have arrived in time to share?
Mine is about as good this far.
I’m still applied to what you are.
And I am joining all my thoughts to you.
And I’m preparing every part for you.
I heard from the trees a great parade.
And I heard from the hills a band was made.
Will I be invited to the sound?
Will I be a part of what you’ve made?
And I am throwing all my thoughts away.
And I’m destroying every bet I’ve made.
And I am joining all my thoughts to you.
And I’m preparing every part for you.
Words and Lyrics: Sufjan Stevens

 

 

*From ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ by PG Wodehouse

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Fall in Los Angeles

Screenshot 2014-10-17 10.13.49

You can find Autumn in Los Angeles. You just have to look for it. Amid the green trees and freshly layered sod, you can turn a corner and find an entire street lined with deciduous trees, turning brown and yellow, shedding leaves until winter hits and the entire avenue looks like something out of your east coast/mid-west suburban winter memory.  Then you can turn another corner to find palm trees and ficus trees growing like it’s summer time where barbeques are smoking and canon balls are splashing down in a pool.

Fall is my favorite time of year. The chill in the air, the early nights of deep, long shadows that create a lovely feeling in the brain. Nesting, holidays, baking – suddenly we’re seeing jack-o-lanterns and fake web on bushes, and Halloween candy in stores, and the excitement of the onset on Pumpkin Spice season – as touted in the latest Trader Joe’s “Fearless Flyer”.

This is the time of year when I miss New York the most. I envy my east coast friends who are relishing in the “mist and mellow fruitfulness” of the season back home. Yes, they are looking ahead to a tough, cold, snowy winter – but after two years of scarce rain, lack of clouds and no snow in SoCal – I would kill for one flake of snow. (Okay, maybe a light snowfall.)

I left the east coast for the west four years ago because of those horrible NY winters, and yes – my home state got socked with exceptionally bad storm fronts since I left town. But as one LA sunny day folds into another, as one week turns to month after month of no substantial rain, I find the constant state of nothingness in the climate almost deadening. The sun is blinding. The air dry.  The sky always blue – providing a surreal world of perfection to the point where another gorgeous sunny day is mockery. It’s  becoming scary. The ground and trees on the hiking trails at Griffith Park are bone-dry parched.  The smell of dry cedar and dust particles clog your nose and get down your throat. The heat index can rise up into the hundreds, burning the dry soil, baking what were once moist, water filled streams that used to bubble up from the mountains. Screenshot 2014-10-17 10.14.07The sweet, dry smell of heated wood makes you feel that one strike of a match could cause the whole forest to ignite.

Weather. How I miss you. I need the turmoil of a late day summer thunder drench. The soul needs to be fed with the mixture of season, the drudgery, and the welcoming beauty of all that waiting and freezing and dry sky – to find that warm spring ozone air breaking through on a March afternoon. The happiness caused when noticing a crocus poking out of the dark, barren earth. Turning around and seeing a forsythia bush flourishing yellow blooms within the dead brown branches and bark of winter – which is slowly, slowly turning into spring as the promise of green leaves, warm weather, shedding socks and boots for barefeet and flip flops becomes real. Then it’s wonderful, wondrous summer!  The season you’ve earned after shoveling snow and suffering frostbite from waiting at the train station.  Summer – when Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” makes you weep for joy at the memory of summers past you can relieve in the splash of the pool and the incredible coconut smell of Coppertone.

You don’t get that in LA. It’s always nice – always pleasant. It gets chilly, and you can imagine for just a moment, being back home under the red leaves of an autumn maple tree. You can feel safe in the warm pocket of southern California sunshine when you hear the rest of the nation is buried under ten feet of snow. But one season folds into another – and you wonder if going back into the thick of winter blues may be worth it.

[written in a morning funk kind of stream of conscious kind of way so grammar be damned]