Friday, October 22

smoke and sunbeams

last week the first cold snap of this autumn season came to town, frosting across everything and showering the night with hailstones.

the chill in the air has since then become less snappish. we're used to it now. the mornings demand scarves and layers and a brisker pace when we walk the little pugs.

last weekend there was a camping trip. it was glorious-- we had such a lovely time. I was so refreshed and grateful for all that time in the woods. we didn't go far, just a 40-minute drive up into the mountains. for both nights the moon was so bright, so round and brilliant behind the tallest pine trees, that it felt like someone was shining a floodlight through the southeast wall of our tent.

during our explorations Friday night, Hamilton and I met the most gloriously gnarled, fat, wise and beautiful juniper tree. my googling has led me to believe it's probably an alligator juniper, aka a checkerbark juniper or Juniperus deppeana. someday I will learn more about dendrology and have more to go on than too-cropped google images or what Wikipedia says.

anyway, she was most gorgeous: grey smooth trunks wrapped in thick scabby layers of bark, reaching out with such balance and grace, her whole being angled just so against the rocky ridge, all shrouded in green sprigs of pokey starlike juniper leaves.

{ that's her, my new favourite tree, on the right. }

that evening as the light faded, we ate the most traditional of camping fare, tin-foil dinners. mine was salmon on top of potatoes, carrots, onion, and red pepper. Jeremiah's was fake-chicken with all the same veggies plus plenty of cheese. tin-foil dinners are my family's tradition. it was great fun to introduce them to my husband after all this time.

once we'd set up camp there was nothing to do but sit and enjoy it all. I found myself quite enchanted by a small stone just across from the campfire-- red lavarock pocked with bubbles. where it sank into the pine-needles and dirt, there was a wisp of greenery twining up, little round frilly leaves bobbing lightly against the dark red. those colors and textures-- lava and leaves-- kept drawing my eye. but I didn't take a photograph.

early Saturday, we watched the sun climb and climb over the mountainside and up through the tall pines. its bright beams streamed visibly through all the boughs and needles, glinting around spider webs and clouds like sunbeams do. the angular softness of them mixed in with the swirling campfire smoke. that image enchanted me too. and the phrase for it-- smoke and sunbeams. 

perhaps I'm pretty easily enchanted. 

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