Smash/slam! I jump. A gunshot? Crash – Thump – the two sounds occurred almost simultaneously. Some bird hit my window; the truth strikes like lightening.
Oh, no. It’s raining. I race out the door – yellow talons shudder – but the bird is dead when I reach it. My/our(?) Messenger, the hawk.
(To Indigenous peoples the hawk is experienced as a messenger from the spirit world).
My mind is racing, a comet streaking through the sky, out of control.
I play back the scene – the afternoon’s light rain – reading last year’s All Hallows ritual a few minutes before – republished on MAGO – always surprised at the depth of my authenticity – how real I am.
Watching for cardinals in the gray November day… “November came early this year,” I told Mark earlier when he dropped off the roofing. He nods… We know winter is almost upon us. Even our bones are singing blue. There is a five – foot hole on the southern wall.
Something about the reading “All Soul’s Day” on Helen’s site sparks a recent memory. I had seen the chandelier pieces in the attic. Now I go up to get them. A bit early, I think before I remember I live through “Indian Time” and follow an invisible thread that nudges me on.
( there’s an “ah ha” here too when I finally get it that’s why these ritual period are so fluid – I live through Indian time – duh)
These rectangular pieces of crystal were leftovers from my childhood. I had stripped them from fancy chandeliers disposing of the former. Davey and I loved those rectangular crystals clanking them together to hear the music when no one was paying attention…. Every year I put them on my tree to honor the dead, and now the living family that abandoned me – children and grandchildren. Too many boys lost for one woman to bear. Thanks be to Marcus.
After cleaning the crystals I begin hanging them on the little Norfolk Island Pine. They shimmer like rain. It’s never enough to have trees outdoors; I need them indoors too. They are my teachers; my dearest friends… the wisdom keepers.
Watching for cardinals in the heavy autumn dusk… thinking about how the women in my family took the stage behind the stage of men – the strong women – my grandmother and her sisters who polished silver, knit our scarves and mittens, sewed our clothes, gardened, painted, sculpted, kept immaculate houses, and cooked family dinners together, especially on holidays…. My mother, their darling, joined them on these celebrations out of duty and with unconcealed resentment. These Victorian women who never cried. They were relentlessly cheerful – just once I wished one of them could tell me a story without a happy ending, a story that would let me into their world… or attach my grief to theirs. I never knew them….
Am I carrying that grief?
Davey and I ate stolen chocolates hidden under the living room couch…
These were remarkable women and I never noticed…Did he?
I hung the last crystal on my little tree. I am adorning my tree early I thought. Most years I don’t hang crystals until after the Feast of the Dead, the three – day festival that ends on Nov 2 with All Soul’s Day and the end of the year. The new year is as yet unborn. We have entered ‘the space in between’.
I walk in those footsteps, not because I chose them but because they chose me. The Indigenous Wheel of the Year is also my own…
This is the time of year that I honor all trees, but especially those that are evergreen… But today when I hang the crystals I am honoring the dead – my dead.
My current ritual has been written and now I live the story….
The smashed windowpane, the sight of the dead hawk. I gather his warm body in my hands and bring him in the house placing him under the tree in a trance. I spread out his wings.
More thoughts flashing… the hawks that hovered over Davey’s grave for a week, the hawk that I found dead the day my mother died. Hawks are always bringing news, and I am no less frightened by the presence of this one than I have been by others…
I will leave him here tonight and then decide.
Some part of me believes this bird heard the call and came to keep me tethered to truth: that I know things I don’t want to know. Ever.
For the last week a caul hangs over me – a smothering shroud, a dread I cannot shake. My body has been stolen – the pressure in my head is wringing my neck – my body is sizzling with raw electricity – and the full moon is still ahead. This year it falls on All Hallows – I endure.
One more gunshot punctures this last thought. It’s after dark – illegal – but who will stop them now? Those hunters of deer and bear; those hunters of those like me? Oh how I fear the Violence ahead…
And what of the hawk who came to let me know?
I gaze at his beautiful body, his outspread wings, mole brown and cream feathers – the patterns. My god he is beautiful, and he lies there so peacefully. I thank him – not knowing if this message is just for me or attached to something more…
(10/24) I was pulled into the field of cranes…. I watched them ‘dance’, and finally when the group decided to visit another field they rose into the air like prehistoric angelic presences haunting the sky with their cries. IT WAS ENOUGH…..
Dream: #222 10/25…Hawk as Messenger/ an estranged friend
There is tremendous grieving going on. My estranged friend is in a bed and we all do what we can – she has just lost a beloved BIG dog and she is inconsolable. We move around witnessing, do what we can. There is a large bare tree hanging over her bed and then I/we see a hawk sitting in the branches – this is when I realize that everything is going to be all right. She has help. The hawk is with her – dream fades as I wake up…
More context taken from unpublished material from All Hallows ritual written 10/28 2020:
“Some of us have stayed awake through this holocaust, but I am one who must force herself to climb into each day with a resolve that is slowly eroding, collapsing a floor that once held me secure. I am sinking into mold, fog bound, marshy oblivion… So I cry out for the comfort of trees who bend love over bare branches, listening for the Messenger who clasps his heart around my dreams.”