Saturday, October 8, 2011

Digital Ash In A Digital Urn


In spite evidence to the contrary (in blogland) I am alive. My computer, however, is not. If you're a A☠✄✄✖-user, you may have heard of "the white screen of death", a very metaphysical state, which forces you to consider the fundamental questions of modern life.

It manifests as a foggy, never-ending white start-up screen, accompanied by an unmusical clicking sound, and what it means is that your hard drive has shook its mortal coil, shedding all of your files in its wake and perhaps, you hope, reached Nirvana.

You wish you had done some back up copying between this moment and two weeks in the past, but you haven't.

The well-meaning people at A♠✝✷☠ Corp. help-line will point out to you that your recently deceased computer is four years old and the money spent on fixing it would be better used in buying a new product from them. You will want to make some sort of a cutting remark, but remember that they are currently in a corporate state of mourning themselves and that they didn't actually twist your arm until you bought into the planned obsolescence economy of their uberhip designs, or tell you to pour so many songs, memories and stories into the little white plastic cask now functioning as a convenient doorstop.

So you go out and harvest seaweed and watch the birds as the fog lifts off your shore.
If you happen to live on a seashore, you'll be pleased to know that seaweed makes for a wonderful mulch, or compost element. Or so I'm told. For the past few months we've been trying to get a bucket a day when the low tide brings it in.

Fall days have been foggy in the morning, and more often than not, warm in the afternoon.


There is something primordially satisfying about fog. Staring into it is like staring into the past, or perhaps The Great Void, a nothingness full of, well, everything...
When the fog gets particularly thick, I like to sit on the shore and imagine this island as it once was, a hundred, two hundred years ago.
Lately, thanks to the fall and the succumbing of my main writing tool and distraction to a white, foggy fugue state of its own, I've had even more time to sit still and watch things drift by; otters, weather, interesting pieces of wood.


I feel like fall to me is about noticing, seeing, interspersed with frantic activity, the squirreling away of food, the gathering of warmth.
Fall cleaning is to me much more essential than spring cleaning. Nesting, building, making, spinning and weaving.
Maybe its because of the ingrained calendar of school years in all of us, or some other, more ephemeral reason, but a fall seems like a new beginning. There is death and renewal. No wonder this season marked the beginning of a new year for many ancient people.
With all this introspection and new suggestion in the air, I feel hopeful and excited and full of ideas, and in spite my recent digital disaster, I hope to translate some of them into blogs-posts in the coming days. I'm setting myself up for a little challenge of polishing off and publishing some of the posts I've been hoarding. So stay tuned if you will.

And how is your fall going? What feelings, expectations, ideas does the season bring out in you?
Happy harvest, one and all,


  1. Very pretty fog pictures -- fall has brought us some fog in the mornings, as well. I enjoy watching dawn come in, the sun still strong enough to warm us during the daytime and yet it gets cool enough for the gatherings around a bonfire on Friday nights.

    Happy Harvest to you, too, Milla!

  2. Love the fog! We live in a little valley (or "holler" as we call it out here in NC) and how the fog settles is just lovely. Studying the Native American thirteen moons with my children and their homeschool co-op (along with other sacred knowledge). The change in colors always amazes me. It's like a big patchwork quilt to warm you during the cool nights. Peace, love and light to you.

  3. Hey sweetness. Glad to see you. We're in opposites mode. I can hear my husband cutting the grass...and we're going to a BBQ this afternoon..while the weather is still good. I like the beach in Fall (Autumn). The beach is everlasting is it not.

  4. oh woowwww these photos are just beautiful and you look stunning!

  5. happy to see you posting again, milla! fall brings about a cozy, nostalgic feeling in me and i start listening to certain sad and sweet records that enhance the feeling. records like cat power, the covers record; billy bragg and wilco's mermaid ave pt 1 (and "remember the mountain bed" from pt 2); gillian welch; zombies, odyssey and oracle; everly bros, etc, but esp sun kil moon's ghosts of the great highway. being here in sf, the fog settles in regardless of the season and watching it pour over the cliff sides and through our golden gate is one of my favorite sights. fall is my favorite season and it's been shaping up well. <3

  6. p.s. your pics are incredible! i so love where you live. it's a dream.

  7. yay! you are back!
    i love to sit and imagine where i was 200 years ago, too. it's one of my favorite passtimes. our fall is going nicely. look forward to your posts!

  8. Ihana sumu ja korppi,vai lieneekö tuo sellainen mustavaris-ylväs olento jokatapauksessa. Syksy on ehdottomasti oma suosikkini. Saa sytytellä kynttilöitä,suitsukkeita ja polttaa uunissakin tulta,nautin.

  9. Sorry about your computer! Glad you managed to blog, though :) It's so great.

  10. I had a computer die after 4 years. I was ready to use it for decades, like my clunky, leaden bike, but the computer-world folks seemed to think 4 years was a reasonable existence for a computer.
    Viva la seaweed!
    You make fog sexy.

  11. oh love, what a dreamworld up there in the fall fogginess. and all the nesting preparations sound all the cozier. i feel more invigorated than ever by fall this year...well maybe that's not's just you forget how the change of seasons really deeply FEELS until it happens again. i hope you got the computer situation sorted out? sounds scary. such a weird conundrum in the modern world, that these boxes hold things so precious to us...photographs, words, memories, ideas. and even connection. much love to you sweet friend, i will let my spirit come swirl a while with you on the shore there.

  12. What a breathtaking collection of images, Milla; thank you for sharing :)

    Autumn is my favourite season, when I can finally enjoy Nature in a way I can't in summer due to the horrible heat of South Spain; and then, after a beautiful walk watching vultures, go home and craft with a warm mug of tea or chocolate. I've also started my seasonal altar and I'm very motivated :D

  13. It seems like avalon, your foggy island, or like something Tove Jansen would love to have visited.I adore the picture with the spider though its hard to choose just one that I could like the most, they all send us a liitle of the magic that is there with you both.
    Here is Ireland there is great tradition of seaweed fertilizing, and has been used to bring stony fields into green and rich earth. These daily rhythms like collecting seaweed are great for the soul, I so miss having a fire in my house, I miss taking out the ashes and cleaning the grate, laying a new fire, its the winter sun for me. This is will be my second winter without one, and Cant imagine doing another.

    I am excited about your new writings and also glad you are finding some peace in your loss of tech tools. Its good to water the good seeds in any situation. I depend far too much I imagine, on my pretty, shiny, silver box of buttons and connections. In fact I shall close her now for some quite moments with my crochet, its all balance right?

    Thanks always for your inspirations xxx E

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  15. what a delightful story of the death of your plastic companion! i actually read it out loud to E because i enjoyed it so (probably due to he and K recently venturing into a super bright and strangely empty A*&%# store tucked into a local--ugh--shopping mall when K had an issue with one of their little bits. they returned with all sorts of strange tales.).

    i love your autumn photos and think i can smell that seaweed from here. we had a taste of winter here last week, and i had the chance to wear my wellies....that is among my favorite part of fall/winter, the chance to wear my rain boots. in my rubber boots, i can stomp around in the muddy garden or run through puddles, and my feet stay dry. i am invincible! you know, the little things and all that :)


  16. man, I missed your sentiments here on blogland. Who else could almost bring us to tears with a poetic recount of a debunked computer - my deepest condolences, by the way.

    Love those moody shots on the beach, with that amazing little boat. And thanks for reminding me to back up my computer. She is 3 1/2 years old, so we're knocking on heaven's door I'm afraid :/

    Happy Fall to you, Milla.

  17. I really like fog. It's like being swaddled in a dense, misty blanket.

    Sorry to hear about your computer breaking, I hope mine never dies, at least, not not for a looong time.

    I wish I could say my fall is going well, but as of Friday, I am now Single. After years of a long distance relationship that never had the chance to properly start. And I have no car anymore. So I'm rather trapped by myself in my apartment, kinda lame to say the least.

    Fall usually makes me feel like I should be doing something, preparing... mostly I want to run away somewhere warm. My instincts say: migrate!

  18. Seriously, I've never understood the concept of Spring cleaning. As soon as the days warm up and the flowers start blooming, I just want to go out and play. Fall has always been when I get the urge to clean and nest and organize and yes, create! It's all about getting cozy and hunkering down with my family.

    Lately we've been enjoying a nice mix of rainy days interspersed with days of pleasant warm sunshine. Loving it and our Fall garden is stoked on this too. After the flurry of activity that we're coming out of I've been fully enjoying the sound of rain, harvesting figs and baking fresh fig newtons, READING, cleaning, just having quiet moments.

    That is a super huge bummer about your computer! Man, that sucks, but seaweed harvesting never looked so idyllic! Glad to hear you've been savoring your down time and it's sooo good to see you again!!! Love to you my fog engulfed vision of Autumn lovliness <3

  19. Your musings on the change of seasons and most particularly Fall resonated strongly with me. I stumbled upon your blog accidently while looking up images of Gunne Sax dresses. I do believe I've found a kindred spririt. Nice to meet you!