Oh, oddlings. Where do I start?
I’ll start in April, when Bubo and I decided to hike up the mountain and see what exactly this mud season Vermonters talk of is all about. Chilly and damp, the day was perfect for an explore. I packed my satchel with essentials (journal, vole jerky for Bubo, ginger candies for myself, the hammock sack, and Great Uncle O. Underhill’s book of poetry), strapped on my exploring gear (a hand-crafted combination of spelunking and mid-century lumberjack gear), and off we went.
After nearly half a day, I decided it was time for a rest. The forests positively bloom here in the Green Mountains and I was overwhelmed by the growth coming through after such a magical winter. Having spent so many springs in New York, one gets a bit underwhelmed by the majesty of the season. But out here in the wilderness, it’s breathtaking. We found a delightful tree – strong limbs and boughs for my hammock sack and for Bubo to nestle into – and up we went. My hammock sack is an invention of mine – imagine a combination hammock, tent, and cocoon. Perfect for resting in a tree, above a swamp, or on board an old sloop winding its way down an ancient river. Nestled quite comfortably with new green buds sprouting and a chill air whispering, I began to read Great Uncle O. Underhill’s poems aloud.
This, it seems, is where I made my mistake.
I had no idea that Underhill had been dabbling in natural magic, and that his poems were part art and part incantation. Clearly I could have prepared myself better had I known. I could have prepared all of us.
Instead, I read some delightful poems about trees and mountain energy and I remember nothing else until a few days ago when I awoke completely refreshed in a forest I did not recognize. Partly because the forest has grown and blossomed so transformatively that it seems like a different forest all together. And partly because the tree in which I was so delightfully ensconced seems to have moved to the other side of the mountain. Bubo and I spent about a day getting our bearings and shaking off the moss that covered us. (There is one leaf that seems to be growing from just below my elbow and I’m keeping it to study.)
It took us a good three days to make it back over the mountain and back to the house. Which is in a shambles.
Oh, my dears. What a strange few months it’s been. The house was left open (I am guessing from my relatives appearing for the usual Summer Solstice celebration and not bothering to clean up or close the doors) and mud, rain, and wind have pummeled the building. Not to mention what I can only assume was a band of drunken fisher cats, judging from the damage to the drawing room and the decimation of the laboratory and herborium. I have much work to do. I also have a wealth of questions for my Cousin Cate, our family witchcraft expert, and just as soon as she returns from her trip to the Southeastern United States, I will be able to ask her about the poems Underhill wrote. I am wary to even crack the book again.
So that is my explanation for my absence. I apologize for my prolonged silence, though, clearly, who could have foreseen this? (Aside from Underhill, who is still missing.)
And I shall be busy rebuilding this house, repairing these rooms, and re-filling them with marvelous finds.
Thank you for your notes (there is nothing like a pile of mail from friends upon one’s return, no matter how odd the trip) and rest assured, I shall not be reading any more of Underhill’s journals aloud.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there appears to be a black bear in my garden and Bubo insists I repair her turret first so that she can refurbish her nest to her liking. You’d think she’d lend me a bit of slack – I don’t see a family of hummingbirds using her beard as a nest.