tender and mild


I am placing this image of nine-years-ago Quinn drawing a whole bunch of baby dinosaurs “standing on the floor of the egg” here to signify that there’s a lot of writing going on, gestating behind the scenes. The sun ball lamp might be my egg incubator, and I am waking up early to keep up with the words that bubble to the surface after each long winter’s nap.

I do not want to neglect my blog, and it seems like just the venue to wish happy holidays to all, from here at a safe social distance. I considered using this as my holiday card:

but then I realized I don’t have my stuff together enough to send cards. It was just a snapshot of another “one of those days” that we have all had approximately 365 too many of this year.

It’s the end of 2020 now. I usually choose a song lyric each year, but there isn’t a “bleak and weary” Christmas song, so I chose tender and mild. It’s been mild leading up to Christmas, cold but clear, so we got to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, almost. A few days before, and two days after, above the melted sorbet horizon. The word tender certainly fits how our hearts are feeling – battered, bruised, sore, vulnerable.

The holidays are serving as an anchor point for some in a year that has felt awash in a swirling sea of time: You Are Here. For me, these holidays are so bizarrely different that they do not serve me that way exactly. I have calibrated time for myself according to the signs of seasons even more than usual during 2020. The nesting robins placed me squarely in spring, while the nest is now filled up with curled, brittle leaves, so I know we’re closing in on winter. Mushrooms, even, helped me orient, and I don’t know the first thing about them. Yet, just seeing them popping up all around me secured me into autumn. Thinking of their work beneath the surface of things to make available in the soil what the forest needs to absorb next year is a sustaining thought.

To no one’s surprise, I took myself to the edge of the world to perch on a rock and try to find a migrating whale. I did find one (the white puff in the upper left, above). Moving along at a good clip, but paradoxically, for me it was another anchor, another sign to mark the season. The gray whales are headed south to celebrate fecundity and renewal, to circle around newborns, tender and mild, in warm lagoons.

(Laguna San Ignacio 2001)

I hope these photos from an adventure long ago to said lagoons will make you smile, finding you snug and healthy in your homes for the holidays.

(Laguna San Ignacio 2001)

Merry Christmas friends!


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