Careening into December

Where has the autumn gone? While the election season felt interminable, everything else zipped by. Between houseguests and travel, I found myself on Thanksgiving thinking, “Hey, too fast!” This is what happens with a full life, though, isn’t it?

But now life around here is going to slow down a little. And I have pictures to share from my last bit of travel which was to England for my friend Oonah’s book launch in Newcastle.

If you haven’t been to the north of England, go. On this last trip, I had the opportunity to see the landscape in November light, which is the perfect painterly light. The days are short, a full two hours shorter than here in Minnesota right now, and the air is damp. The wind can be raw. I stood on the shore of the North Sea and watched the waves make whitecaps like galloping horses, tasted the salt in the air, and thought about Oonah’s poems that offer up these very images. Oonah, her husband Noel, and I visited gardens that, in November, still held roses on the branch and leaves in red, gold, brown, and yellow. We went to bookstores and cheese shops and pubs, drank local ales and heard local musicians. Oonah and I shared our poetry on a stage with several other wonderful poets, and a few talented musicians, and were rewarded with a warm, attentive audience. My 10 days in Northumberland ended just two days before Thanksgiving here. I came home to a refrigerator already stocked by Mick with turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and other dinner fixings.

And we were grateful. Very, very grateful.

North Sea at Newbiggin

The North Sea at Newbiggin

Barter Books in Alnwick – one of the largest used bookstores in Europe

That painterly light in the gardens at Wallington and Belsay

Oonah and I reading our work at the STANZA for Oonah’s November 17 book launch in Newcastle

Oonah and Noel

And now, onward to December.

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