I leave for a residency at beautiful Rivendell Writers Colony (http://rivendellwriterscolony.org/) next week. Fall in the Smokies! After years in the lovely but seasonless tropics, to think of October in the woods!
I wanted a residency in the mountains. My father’s people came from the Blue Ridge, and we grew up camping in the Sierras and the Coast Ranges. For years in Los Angeles, I hiked the chaparral of the Santa Monica mountains. Later I fell in love with the deciduous forests of the Appalachian foothills in western New York. Here’s our little woods in Colden, along Cazenovia Creek:
Recently I have come to know and love the otherworldly landscapes of 14,000-foot Mauna Kea, and the red-gold canyons of the desert southwest.
But to be in a deciduous forest in fall! – the time of falling to earth, falling away, the great wheel falling toward darkness. Of leaf-fall, and its revelation of what lies behind, that has been hidden by soft greenery.
Thinking of leaf colors, I remember the orange and gold canyon walls of Ghost Ranch, once Georgia O’Keefe’s ranch in New Mexico, where AROHO (A Room of Her Own Foundation) held their summer writing retreats:
And I remember looking up at the brilliant sandstone cliffs on a Colorado River rafting adventure with Page Lambert and other women writers.
How similar the colors of rock and leaf! As if intensity announces the dropping away of all disguise. What greenery, fancywork will I shed during this residency?
If you rub your hand across bright sandstone or hold a bright leaf in your hand, they will turn to dust of transformation in your palm. Every day I am aware of how translucent my own body, falling, hung from veins, transforming.