I honestly do not know how a month can go by with such stealthy speed. Honestly. Time feels faster than it used to.
Maybe it speeds up according to the intensity of experience. I feel that I have lived several months within the one that just passed because of the amount of conversations had, ideas encountered, and people known. I’ve done a lot of thinking and am eager to write, but for now, as an open to October, and a return to the blogging world, here are a few notes from the journey I wanted to share.
To finish up the narrative of my Scotland trip, I must say that my friend Wendy made a day and a night at her lovely home feel like a week of friendship. She also gave me the best whirlwind tour of Edinburgh possible. Not only did she whisk me to lunch at famous old restaurant called “The Witchery,” (roses on creamy table cloths, silver, candlelight, flowers in the window), she patiently humored my determination to find this one specific souvenir for my mom. I loved my time with her and her family and wished I truly did have that whole week when they put me on a midnight train from Glasgow to London. Apart from a sleepless night and a good long delay, I did land safely back in my lovely mountains just as dusk was falling.
You all know I’ve written for the Rabbit Room now and then in the past couple of years. Well, every year they have this grand conference called “the Hutchmoot.” (To explain – “moot” is basically an Old English term for a meeting, and the Rabbit Room is named after the room in the Eagle & Child pub where the Inklings used to meet, and since readers of the RR are “rabbits” – Hutchmoot is a meeting of Rabbit houses. You can smile now. Oh, and my dad thought that name up.) I have to say that this yearly gathering of people who love what is beautiful, who know the truest things of the world in story, song, art, and friendship, and craft them again in that way for others, is a nourishment to my heart like few things I have ever encountered. It’s a feast of a time, of soul and friendship, and also literally, as the meals at that place are famous. While I was in Nashville this time, I also got to hear the concert premier of Andrew Peterson’s new album Light for the Lost Boy. I will be reviewing it soon because it is shaping the story I tell myself about the world – can you say better for any creative work? Also, the Rabbit Room just released their first literary journal – The Molehill.It’s a journey through so many different imaginations, a taste of such different beauties. I am savoring each piece, and am still aglow at the thought that I got to contribute an essay on Oxford as part of it.
:: Oxford Videos
My brilliant friend and fellow Oxford student Ben Bailey has recently finished his series of videos chronicling his time in Oxford. They traverse the semester in which we all studied together, but also give a taste of some of his exploration of other parts of England. With a Tolkien-themed atmosphere, they are such a vivid taste of England. You can find all of them here. And here, for a taste, is one of my favorites… about the English countryside and Tolkien’s love of it.
And now, I am settled again where the pines guard my front porch, and the aspens shimmer their song as I listen in the afternoons. I am home to my candlelight dinners and bowls of soup with whoever of my family happens to be in, home to early morning walks, to quiet times, to writing, oh my, to writing. I am working full time on my children’s novel and giving myself more fully to the work, even the vocation, of writing,than I ever have before. There are worlds of thought in my head and I’ll send dispatches from a few of them soon.
Autumn has come. And the joy of it in my heart is like the gold of a late afternoon when the light pools and thickens like honey and glints with the bonfires of the turning trees. I leave you with a poem and a picture:
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood —
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
-Bliss Carman, “Vagabond Song”