Saturday, October 30


Isn't this a spooky Polaroid?

Almost November means, for me,
wool socks, teakettle always a-boil,
electric blanket on the bed,
cat taking over any stray afghans,
cutting the last of the basil,
drying rosemary stalks,
pulling out the pot for soups and stews,
yellow golden leaves a-blowin',
and, my favorite ~ wool hats.

Have a happy Halloween!

{spooky is such a cool word, no?}

Friday, October 29

rainy day hike


On wednesday we went for a rainy day hike, and the forest was filled to shining with hillsides of rainy glowing yellow, crimson, deep oranges, crisp browns, damp and glistening tones of all warm shades of color. I was all eyeballs. (Tim was very patient because when I get all eyeballs I tend to take lots of pictures and I don't hike very fast.)

We hiked along the tops of the cliffs (reminding me of here) and gazed out over hillsides hazy with rain and muted colors. It would be less worrisome to hike without the dogs (clifftop!) ...but then things wouldn't be nearly as fun, either.

Slipping and sliding our way mountainside-down, we hiked along the Tohickon Creek and decided to come back sometime so Tim could go fishing ~ and listening to the river rush among the black rocks slick as turtles would be a perfect background for reading a book (my activity of choice.)

I think this is my favorite season.

xo brooke

*all photos taken at Ralph Stover state park

Thursday, October 28

we play hour scrabble

...which means after an hour, we stop.

So much nicer than dragging on and on ~ a crisp short game can be invigorating on a sunny afternoon.

Wednesday, October 27

Tuesday, October 26

Monday, October 25

10 recent things I love

1. thrift shops (that mini camera!)

2. chocolate Reisens

3. packages in the mail

4. sunshine and tea

5. riding Tim's bike which is way nicer than mine

6. evening strolls through fields

7. full moons

8. my new used Spectra camera

9. curling up in the bath with a book

10. record players in the morning

Sunday, October 24

tadpole sparks

Last night's full moon eye wavered behind a filigreed shimmer of bonfire heat. Tadpole sparks flew upwards against an indigo night sky; strings of orange drew a quick sketch upwards from antlers of fire-white. River sounds of crackle and stream sounded from the piles of white cracked logs and branches, and I quietly kicked off my moccasins and stretched out my bare feet to warm them, seated on a wooden chair ~ the crowds had dispersed for home and I had the fire all to myself.

I sat there for ages, hearing the voices of friends and family far away across the lawn, watching the sparks toss into the sky above the treeline, watching the moon swell and then disappear behind clouds. Hearing the mellow sounds of crickets lulled into sleepiness by the colder air.

It had turned out to be a perfect night.

Friday, October 22

My alter ego

She is strong, she is whimsical, she wears knee socks and cowboy boots and daisies in her hair. She wears glasses, white dresses and yellow tights; she wears nothing as she slips into the river. She walks on dewy grass barefoot, she stargazes in tank tops and sweaters; she wears wool and silk, braids and toenail polish. She wears red lipstick and stripes.

We meet by the river, by the flowers, by the poems; we meet on the roof, in my journal, on tree limbs. My dog knows her. She likes to hold my husband's hand. We meet while camping, at the thrift shop, strolling on rainy-leafed sidewalks, in large hidden gardens, over new recipes. We meet in books and in binoculars and in our long-stemmed dreams.

My alter ego (how I love her).

Wednesday, October 20

Tuesday, October 19


Hot mulled cider and a warm dog on the couch at the end of the day. Dreaming about morning and wishing for sunshine. Reading chewy books slowly.

I copy out mountains, rivers, clouds.
I take my pen from my pocket. I note down
a bird in its rising
or a spider in its little silkworks.
Nothing else crosses my mind.

~ pablo neruda

I believe I shall take my book to the bath.

Monday, October 18

this is a slug story

{seattle's washington arboretum}

When I sat down next to this little guy, he bravely put out his eyestalks and looked around, kind of slow and thoughtful like a cow. There he was, slimy and squishy, and slow as bejeebers, just doing his delicate thing on the forest floor, liable at any moment to get stepped on or eaten by a bird. He trustingly (or nearsightedly, I have no idea how far they can see) continued on his way heedless of any danger, scooting along and looking circumspectly all around him as he picked his way gingerly across the gravel path, a magical marvel of muscle and detail.

It kind of all tore at my heart. I wished I could understand what he thought about. Where he was going; what was next for him. If he was happy and if he needed anything.

But the gulf between us was wide. There was really nothing I could offer.

Life is a curious thing sometimes.

Sunday, October 17

a little bit of sunday

I spent the afternoon in the garden, elbow-deep in rainbow chard and fennel, tying back the rain-flattened plants and clipping armfuls of basil to make pesto. A few jars of this got popped into the freezer for mid-winter reminders ~ and I enjoyed a dollop mixed with warm brown rice.

This morning I hauled my computer to my favorite cafe, settled down with a cup of tea and a very large slice of sour cream coffee cake, and then discovered they didn't have wi-fi. Fortunately I had both Daybook: Journal of an Artist* and A Book of Silence** to pore over. I always seem to be in a mood to study at a cafe, and wished I had brought a book in italian (Lo Hobbit) to practice and brush up. Did I mention that my birthday gift from Tim was a set of French lessons on cds? I pounced on them ~ I've been wanting to learn french ever since I found out my great-aunt Mary could speak it like a native...and I've always wondered if I can too...

Now, at home, I'm delving into Journal of a Solitude*** (yes, it's time again) and The Bridges of Madison County (a new-to-me read) with Mimi on the floor batting around those silly little foam sherbert-colored balls which drive her batty, with Donovan being driven batty watching her. The house is relatively clean (it is never fully clean and tidy unless it's an hour before we're due to host a dinner party) and I have a warm pot of milky English Breakfast tea. The light is slowly fading, and I see a film in my future...

* Anne Truitt
** Sara Maitland
*** May Sarton

Saturday, October 16

the beauty of the koi

the beauty of the koi
in the water
was such that
I put down my camera
and suddenly

I could see
their scales
like dragon pinecones
their mouths
like bellows gulping

their fins
like procrastinating satin
their flesh
like singing from India

{poem by me; seattle japanese garden}

Friday, October 15

fall has fallen

Crisp autumn air is flowing in the open door, invigorating and understated. Sunshine hides and then bursts into the room, reminding me of the last morning's drive to the airport last week, a lemon-green sunrise and a pale blue sky over a starred city. Ever since I've been home, the house has been filled with daisies, and littered with cups of tea.

The cat searches for new places to burrow into my collection of knitted afghans and wool blankets; just yesterday I whipped the cover off the bed to make it, and there she was, blinking at me from deep inside. She's feeling the autumn chill.

The leaves are turning and falling in gusts of wind, mirrored by flocks of excited birds in silhouette by the hundreds across the sky. I consider my new canary yellow tights, and bring my bin of warm clothes out to see what treasures I hid away last year. Tim and I explored new woods on a tandem bike, and I've been reading and reading. Did you know there's a cookbook of Georgia O'Keefe's recipes?

Fall has arrived.

*{polaroid of madelyn mulvaney}

Thursday, October 14

birthday thanks

{a sliver of the events of my birthday afternoon}

Thank you for your birthday wishes!
Each one was appreciated :)

xo brooke

Wednesday, October 13

portland was

I often process a trip for ages and ages when I'm far beyond it ~ when I'm actually home again, possibly even years later.

Portland, Oregon really stole my heart. I stayed each night at the HI Hostel Northwest in the Pearl district, and in the mornings I'd stroll over to the Byways Cafe and order a cup of green tea and their famous blue corn pancakes. Then I'd wander off and pop into a tea shop for another cup of tea and, thus fortified, explore what took my fancy.

I got sucked into Cargo. I could have, literally, furnished my whole house happily from it. The owners travel the world, occasionally sending back large sturdy crates packed with whatever unique surprises they find. I actually was in there for quite a long time, then left, got a cup of tea, and decided to return. It's that good.

(I'm noticing that I drank a lot of tea on my trip.)

The Portland Art Museum's native american art ~ stunning:

basket, 1900-20
willow, sedge root, clam shell beads,
magnetite beads, abalone shell,
meadowlark and quail feathers


dance headdress
Tlingit, late 19th century
wood, paint, abalone shell,
swan down, flicker feathers,
sea lion whiskers, cloth, copper

sigh. perfection.

...and the Japanese Garden. Go there. As many times as you can. Just look:

Cobwebs. In the sky.

This place was magic.

Tuesday, October 12

my hands, the dark peacocks

my hands, the dark peacocks
of the populations of my dreams.
my abundant populations, perching,
the lighter dark-bordered dreams.

my happiness is the forest overwintering,
the widely wings, the thorn forest,
the lake cell, the disappeared tales,
the shown rest together,
the circumpolar second.

my happiness is the eastern undescribed,
being inside fills me
with removable delight.

I go to to where
the bulb is under the soil like steam,
and the moon shines like a piano circus.
it is there

my mind says

that I will gather
cobalt blue invocations
and answer the circular rivers
of all my clean think questions

is the glowing blue a swimming eye mirror?

the question may be echoed
as a heart hitch-hiker.

~ poem by me, written at the retreat (which was awesome) in the workshop by susan wooldridge *polaroid taken during the lovely madelyn mulvaney's workshop

Monday, October 11

(cough) i'm turning 33 today

{green tea at byways cafe, portland, oregon}

Today is my birthday and I have No Plans.

I plan to do Nothing.

Lots and lots of wonderful Nothing, possibly interspersed with a stroll at the arboretum, lunch with myself and a book, maybe a movie (at my place, in the afternoon).

Or maybe I'll take the train downtown and gather things for dinner at Reading Terminal Market.

Or I'll go on a photo hunt with my SX-70.

Perhaps I'll simply drive away from the house having no idea where I'm going.

I may even end my wonderful day of Nothing with a hot lavender bath and a chocolate bar. Chocolate crumbs in the bath don't bother me at all.

I haven't yet decided these things.

I'll let you know how it goes.

xo brooke

Sunday, October 10

seattle was

seattle was lake water, my pebble collection, long sleeps in crisp dorm rooms, journal sewings, leaf collages, pond lilies, two pots of white tea, woodsy meanderings, long-legged streets, iron & wine on my mix cd and little dash of the sight of that naked man peeing in the turning lane on broadway that afternoon.

{breakfasting at the hostel}

Saturday, October 9

warp and weft

{washington park arboretum, seattle}

When I travel alone, I like to find where I find myself.

I take care of basics so I'm warm, fed, have a place to sleep, etc... and then the rest is all up in the air. I float around, and pick up things and sew them into my journal. I listen to my gut and try to find my balance. I pay attention to my sense of intuition and curiosity. This often feels different than how I am at home.

Which is why I like to travel. As I've gotten older, I struggle less with the feeling that I have to do it all. I gravitate towards what really calls to me, which on this trip was a bouquet of arboretums, japanese gardens, used bookstores and especially the Portland Art Museum solely for their Native American collection (I looked at nothing else), with a sprinkling of unexpected shopping and a few hours each day at a cafe to gather my thoughts and mellow out.

I love going away from home ~ gathering, gleaning ~ and just feeling like life is exciting and juicy. It's a time for collecting and observing, and then when I get home it's time for rediscoveries and reconfiguring.

I always bring a passel of books when I travel (thin paperbacks if possible) ~ ones that are a little more thought-provoking and nourishing than usual. This time, among others, I brought Daybook: Journal of an Artist, by Anne Truitt. I ended up turning down almost each page's corner with a feeling of astonishment.

[artists]... are like riders who gallop into the night, eagerly leaning on their horse's neck, peering into a blinding rain.


...for me, this process is mysterious. It's like not knowing where you're going but knowing how to get there.

So now as I sit here with a dog on my foot and a bursting journal, I get to enjoy the details of my life at home (electric kettle, I missed you) and also weave some of my gleanings from my trip into my home life.

{sand and stone garden, japanese garden, portland}

{japanese garden, portland}

{HI hostel, seattle}