Photos n' Notes

Friday, September 5, 2008

So... today was 63 degrees and grey. After Noah's second nap, I threw on a sweater and grabbed a blanket for him and we went out to sit on our "front porch" and watch the cars go by. It was unplanned, unmomentous, and unmemorable, yet it was the best part of my entire day. Watching Noah scoot after ants, smelling the promise of Fall in the chilly air, letting the hum of constant traffic lull me, feeling at peace in my hasty sweater and red flip flops...

And a part of me began that old autumn nostalgia/yearning/natsukashii* that so many of us feel at this time of year. The ache for memories already past, the thinking ahead to new memories I might want to create...The sense that something will always be missing, but not in an entirely terrible way.

I'm doing an awful job describing it. But the overall feeling was a kind of ache. Like every perfect Fall moment was over and done with, already in the past... And perhaps with the lack of money or flexibility this year, I wouldn't get to HAVE those things this year. A mind-boil of thoughts and memories and wishes.

And then I let my mind relax a bit and shift to a little epiphany: This "Fall Feeling"doesn't have to be bittersweet every time. I don't have to let it feel like something's missing. If I really try, I can sit in this very moment and be so deeply grateful that I can begin to realize that this very moment is all I need. And all the memories, the amazing moments from my past, the "perfect Fall days", the trips and the photos and the festivals and the pumpkins and all the things I had begun to ache for and worry about missing-- well, I can let them be just that: experiences I have already been so blessed to have. I HAVE those memories. If I don't get to recreate a few of them this fall, well, okay... But I can sit and breathe deeply and REMEMBER... and it can be enough.

So I sat there, on my wide stone steps, and held Noah in his fleecy blanket, letting him play with a few foxtails as I sat and breathed in the smell of his hair and the crispness on the air... Feeling his warm, heavy, living, growing body blend into mine as I held him...And I let the poignancy flow over me and let myself be content.

Today's been a good day. In fact, if I let go of expectations, worry, and fear, most of my days are pretty amazing. I'm deeply blessed.

Natsukashii: "Natsukashii is one of those Japanese words that is quite difficult to render into English; poignant might be a close approximation. It signifies the tinge of sadness that comes with the reminder of/remembering familiar things. Maybe a place that was once significant and not longer is, but nevertheless, still holds emotional appeal." Wanderings and Wonderings


  1. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Those stuffed bell peppers look delicious :D Yum! And somehow the red casserole dish sets them off perfectly (but you probably knew that!).

    I know what you mean about autumn, this time of year is bittersweet for me because it doesn't get cold in FL. There's no brisk wind, very few colorful leaves & no reason to bundle up in warm clothes and sit by the fire as I did in my youth. It's great for bring home a newborn but stinks the rest of the time :(. I can never wait until we go to OH!

  2. natsukashii must be like the portugeuse word "saudade". Wiki says: "The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness."

    I liked how they put it, "an indolent dreaming of wistfulness." I totally get the same way as you! And much like you, it causes me to start nesting.

    I think your approach of letting go is a good thing. Enjoy it!

  3. Sing it, sistah! All I want is to go to Hartsburg and pick out several dozen pumpkins and gourds to take home...but I guess looking skyward at the gorgeous leaves will have to do. (Noah knows.)

    I get to see SarahKMiller tomorrow!!

  4. The (of course); the food...looks divine; the peaches...give them to him fresh (he'll love you forever); your writing...beautiful/honest; expectation, worry, worst enemies.

  5. Hi! It's Amy Garb (Riley) from your childhood! I found your link on my friend Erin Duggin's blog. Your family is adorable and you look like you're having a ball. Just wanted to say hi!

  6. Beautifully expressed and a feeling I am very familiar with. Fall is my favorite time of year and I have so many expectations for it. But you know what? Now that you have a gorgeous little boy in tote, seasons and holidays and changes take on a whole new meaning. Those memories that you cherish of your past will become yearnings to create them for your son and children to come. And best of all, you create new memories by sharing the magic with your children and seeing it through their eyes. Parenthood, though difficult and exhausting, makes it easy to recapture our own youth alongside our children.

  7. Anonymous8:52 AM

    Emily, wow! I have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. I've been reflecting over the past year... how my life has changed with the joyous addition of a second son to our family, to the sudden, unexpected loss of one of our dogs. I am blessed, yes. But fall is one of those seasons that just doesn't sit too well with me. I love it, but only until that last leaf manages to stay on the tree. After that, it's just too gray. No foliage equals a dull landscape here in the NE! I'm already longing for spring. Ugh, this is gonna be a long winter. I just know it.

    - Judie

  8. "The sense that something will always be missing but not in an entirely terrible way. . ."

    So wonderfully put. I love fall in a way that is different from Spring and Summer. The beginning of inward reflection physically and emotionally. In the past 2 days I've felt the air change and they bring special memories.

  9. PS. I love the apron too!

  10. Hi Em! I'm an Aldi shopper too. Glad to see you like to save a buck also.
    I loved your post. They are so real and open. You put yourself out there with such ease. I'm jealous.
    I was thinking about what you could put above your "office" area, and I think you should get those fancy peel and stick letters. There was a really cute phrase at Kohls about holding an angel in their arms (some people wish to hold an angel, but I hold one in my arms... or somethign like that). I beleive they were only $15 or so. That is what I would put there. Or maybe one that says Love Grows or something. I don't know, it't just an idea.
    Anyway, just popping by to say hi! I love this nice cool weather we are hiving right now. It's perfect... just like your pictures!

  11. You are too cute. How do you "write" on your photos? That's a nifty trick. I, too, miss DI. You are definitely a fab SAHM.

  12. You are deeply blessed! I look forward to fall. I love the cooler (yet not cold) weather, the change of leaves, pumpkins, crafts, festivals. And now this year, I am excited to watch Rylan see the change and enjoy the cool crisp air.

  13. Hello there:) I enjoyed reading your post today and have an idea for your wall.

    I'm currently doing a photo wall, with very similar space. Get 9, 12x12 frames (either actual frames or the clip kind) and put in them, 9 photos that speak to you. Whether they are themed, or of your's a great way to display your work and relatively easy/inexpensive way to decorate since you're a photographer.


  14. I love how you are sharing your culinary adventures with us!! Actually I wish I were closer because I am learning to cook all sorts of things, and I can make then all TASTE wonderful but you have aknack for making things pretty as well. I could use pointers. lol I can make an amazing carrot cake now, but you only come to that conclusion once you bite into it. :)

    And I think it's a beautiful thing, all these emotions you are feeling through. Times are changing in your life, and in general. The fact that your conciousness is sensitive enough to recognize that is a gift.

    I hope all of your new memories are wonderful ones. J

  15. Hey Em.

    I could feel your expressions through your photos. Amazing!

    I loved it. Those stuffed peppers looked so yum, as did your banana bread!

  16. I always feel the way you describe when I sit up at the Castle after it rains. . . I have no idea how to describe it. The smell of the wet leaves on the stone. . . that place IS fall to me. And being up there this year has been sort of melancholy because I don't get to experience it the way I usually do.

    The wee ones definitely add great things to our lives, but they also create the need to sacrifice others. . .

    Think about how darling Noah will be at Halloween. I KNOW that holiday will be so much more fun this year. :) Gotta hang on to something as we're being chased inside. . .

  17. You described it perfect. I found your blog through Jodie's.

    You're a great writer.

  18. I've always been a big fan of spring -- the earth coming back to life and everything turning green after being so brown and dead. But lately, Fall has been calling to me more and more. It reminds me of cozier times -- stuck indoors because you CAN'T go outside, snuggled up on the couch under a blanket, a warm mug of cocoa or tea, warm sweaters, family. Now I don't know which season I prefer most. They both have certain positive attributes. So, I guess I am just thankful that I DO get to experience both -- and thankful that I don't live in a place where I don't get to witness and appreciate the change of seasons.

  19. the photos are brilliant, but your sentiments are absolutely heart warming.
    thank you for this.

  20. i love the pictures you took of the Erickson family. I just love the color the pictures have to them. I always love reading your blog, because it makes me feel a little better about things. You just have a way of putting things. I am so excited for the fall. This is my favorite time of the year.

  21. Em, I have to say that you hit fall days perfectly on the mark. I always wake up to them feeling immensely happy and nothing can bring me down, but at the same time I feel so busy. Like I dont have the time to really enjoy them. This season doesn't last long enough. Cant wait to see you tomorrow!

  22. Hey Emily! I am sure you are busy- I just wanted to ask ya a favor.

    I have been searching for your email for a while now, and cant find it! I am a fellow 07' mama and have been lurking and following forever!

    If you would send me an email when you get the time that would be so great! I just have something I want to send you that I think you would love!

    Thanks so much!


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