November 1, 2021

It was a beautiful Halloween. We were in Sandpoint and Spokane for the week-end, where Don did a cyclocross race each day at different pumpkin farms and apple orchards in the area. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was cold and crisp and the farms were full of families carrying pumpkins, with children horsing around in the little wagons meant to cart the bounty to their cars. Lots of “Go Daddy!” cheers on the bike course between somersaults and cartwheels. On our drive there, we had the Montana Public Radio signal most of the way and listened to the Pea Green Boat as Bill Harley read scary Halloween stories. Just as the swamp monster stole the kids’ new sneakers stuck in the mud–calling out “Boogada Boogada Boogada”–we lost the transmission– but the gorgeous Pend Orielle Lake came into view and it was stunningly blue and sparkly. On the late afternoon drive home Sunday, shafts of remaining sunlight shot through the Idaho canyons and illuminated the golden tamaracks on the mountain hillsides, as we sped home to beat the first bright planets to appear in the clear violet sky. We reminisced about all the Halloweens we had spent with our family in Billings over the years when the kids were little–their elaborate costumes, the pumpkin carving, the mayhem of kids running around in the dark, maybe lost to their parents. Joy’s adult party, which mercifully came to an end when the entire neighborhood came and never left. Don’s favorite part was when the kids dumped their bags on the living room floor at the end of the night and he paid them money for all of the Almond Joys they’d collected.

We had such a lovely month of October and most of the leaves have now fallen to the ground. There was a good soaking rain towards the end and we are 150% of normal for the water year–which started October 1st. Now it it November and it is DARK DARK DARK in the mornings. If you awaken close to 5 am, like our household, it’s close to 8 am before you feel you can go outside and avoid the lions, tigers and bears. The time change comes this week end and we will be relieved to have a little more light in the morning, as the fire is already started in our living room now by 5 pm for the long dark night about to descend. It’s time to remember how we make it cozy to keep winter’s wolf from the door, and to somehow engage in that eternal human struggle of letting go of what has been, and to create a pause for the new. At the pantry window in this morning’s dark, I could see the bright waning moon over the trees in the east. In just five days, if the skies are clear, I’ll see the new fingernail moon appear over the mountains to our west. On cue for this new month, this new turn of the calendar,my sister emailed Rachel Hackenberg’s poem… I thought it was just right for the day.

The Eve before the New

Oct 31, 2021 | By Rachel Hackenberg

Do not ask us to turn back, O Mother,
or to return to what has been;
although there is beauty in the past,
we cannot remain there
nor do we wish to relive
the milestones of pain and grief that
brought us from the past to this day.

Do not ask us to go back, O Mother,
where the only hope to be found
is in the dirt of fallow fields
where discarded seeds
must be coaxed with tears
to bear a new harvest;
we cannot return to death in search of life.

Here in the thin place between past and future,
ask us only to go forward with you, O Mother:
to seek honey in the wilderness,
to startle upon love that is new,
to pull fresh milk from every day,
to be strangers upheld by mercy and mystery
and never again prisoners of rationed charity.

And if we ask you, O Mother, to let us go back,
tell us then the story of how far we have come

and how much we might yet come to know.
Tell us the story of the deep breath
that awaits us with every dawn,
and of the promise that tomorrow
will not find us alone. Then wait with us for the new.

on Ruth 1:1-18;

1 thought on “November

  1. Christine Tinker

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts each month. My first church was in Idaho – many long years ago, and this brought back wonderful memories of travelling to Seatle for meetings, and Montana on my way East
    You described it so vividly I relived it.

    I hope your health is good you sound like you are getting around well. Thank your sister for the poem, it was just right. Blessings, Christine


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