Onward Towards Autumn
Summer is winding down. Around here, that means that we are in for some seriously hot weather. And if there is one thing that gets me down (and keeps me down, in a wilted puddle on the floor) it's the heat. I know I'm a wimp about it, and I know that there are people who withstand much greater temperatures much more regularly - but I know myself. So for the next few days, if you need me, you can find me jumping from shadow to shadow or just hiding in the house. And I'm not going to feel bad about it one bit!
This is going to be my third autumn in California. The seasons here don't present like those I grew up with, so initially I missed a lot of the subtle changes. It felt like the days simply bled into one another, and time seemed like it wasn't even passing. But this is year three. And time is passing. And now I can see the signs.
I think back to two years ago, my first autumn here. I'd been in California for exactly a month and had just started working for another jewelry maker. Every day, I drove over the Golden Gate bridge to get to work, shaking the whole time because I was overwhelmed by the traffic, the uncertainty, the "newness" of the city. And in the evenings, I would shake all the way home to our house in the Sunset district, somehow manage to find space and parallel park our aging manual Audi on the ridiculous hills of our neighborhood, and retreat to our apartment. The learning curve was steeper than the hills, but I survived.
Last year, I spent the early autumn fretting over finances and wondering if I needed to take a second job. Sales had been slow, and I was losing faith in myself. There were a hard couple of months where I had to be really diligent about saving every penny. But as the leaves turned, so did my luck - and once again, I survived.
And now this fall. I am noticing the first flashes of gold, at the very tops of the trees, against the blue sky. I am seeing my little mustang begin to grow his winter coat. Even though it's hot still, I am recognizing that the land is going into rest. And it's beautiful.
It took two years, but this autumn, I'm finally living.
A couple weeks ago, some of my barn friends took me up north to the Wild Horse Sanctuary. It's a trip they make once or twice a year and I've wanted to go for awhile, so I jumped at the chance.
We left before the sun was up, and when it did rise it was a glowing red orb on the horizon, fighting to shine through the wildfire smoke that hung heavy in the air. We drove through a part of the state I've never visited before, so I pretty much sat with my nose pressed up against the window for the entire ride.
One of the horses my friends were most intent on seeing was a bay pinto mare named Harmony - she's got her head down looking for hay in the first picture. She actually spent a handful of years at our barn (before Cirrus and I were there). While she was able to form partnerships with humans, allowing herself to be handled at liberty, she had an intense fear of ropes that meant wearing a halter and progressing in the typical way was never really an option. So, several years ago, she found a new home at the sanctuary.
We were so lucky to get to see Harmony and her new foal this close. She and the big palomino stallion next to her are equine royalty - their band is the highest in the pecking order among the herds here. While the sanctuary feeds the horses, they are still wild with hundreds of acres that they can roam - so seeing them is never a given.
Harmony's foal from last year, a full brother to the little foal at her side, was up for adoption. We spent a good amount of time fawning over him and he rewarded us with a little bravery, letting his curiosity outweigh his suspicions about us humans. And that blue eye - so magnificent!
It ended up being one of those otherworldly days...at least in part because of the hazy, blue-pink light. Seeing horses between the oaks, drifting in and out of focus in the smoky air, was like being in a dream. It's definitely on my list of places to visit again.
And how about that eclipse?
Here, we were only expected to have it reach 80%. It was forecast to be cloudy. I didn't have the glasses. Eric had to go to work. Basically all of the excuses.
And even though, writing this now, the eclipse is sort of old news, going out to experience it has felt really significant and is something that I've been carrying around with me. Normally I would have let myself fall prey to the excuses. I would have stayed home. But instead, I got in the car and just started driving. Even though I didn't have a plan and I knew that by the time I got out from under the clouds I wouldn't know the area.
And I went anyways.
I found a tiny park and pulled over.
Punched a hole in a piece of paper to make a pinhole projection.
Something is shifting in my mind for the better. I think I'll continue to go with this flow.