The spring equinox marks the change in seasons – “unhinging one from another” in unpredictable ways. A door might open, or perhaps a frog decrees yet another steep descent into the well… the latter has been the case with me.
Spring is historically a time of rising waters. Plentiful and soothing rainfall raises fog from the lowlands to melt the last of the tired snow – a turning I used to long for.
This year I feel dread. High winds, thin dry air, deep blue skies and summer-like temperatures replace the precious rain that does not fall. Brooks are low; ditches are dry. The trees can’t take another year of drought. Too many are already diseased.
On the morning of the spring equinox I was unable to dip my pitcher into the brook for the water I wanted to acknowledge this spring turning because the remaining ice/snow, a result of winter of freeze –thaw, has made it impossible to get down there; and the brook is pitifully low. Both, for the first time ever. Crows were screeching in the trees. Squirrel chatter was drowning out the songs of nesting birds.
Deciding that I must have water that came directly from the mountain I climbed into my car to visit our local spring.
To my shock I missed the turnoff. Confused and dis-oriented by the loss of trees I had used as markers for 40 years I drove by the spring in a blur and had to turn around. Distracted by the masses of traffic and severed limbs that lay in bunches on the ground on either side of me I almost missed the spring for a second time after reversing directions. Stopping to fill my container in a daze, I left without being able to comprehend what I had actually seen.
I had a crystal bowl waiting for the water at home. After filling the container to the brim I gently lay my hand on its surface, remembering that touching the water with gratitude, love, and appreciation allowed beautiful patterns to appear on a molecular level. I sprinkled water around the house, blessing my animals, my bird, and myself. My longing for rain was palpable.
Later that day two of us honored the vernal equinox by gathering here to express our gratitude for this precious element, water, acknowledging that Water is Life while offering our intentions and releasing what we no longer needed – a simple fluid ceremony that allowed us to honor and participate with nature in the turning of the wheel towards rain, late spring blooming, leaf out (we hoped), and summer’s light.
The next morning I awakened knowing that I had to go back to the spring to witness what had occurred there. When I opened the door to leave the cardinal was waiting for me. I offered my usual morning greeting for the second time that day wondering why he was still here (every morning I take in his birdfeeder after he eats because of squirrels). As I stepped out the door the cardinal began to make a rapid series of sharp discordant chip –like sounds, sounds I have never heard a cardinal make before. As I walked up the hill he followed me flying from tree to tree. The loud chips sounded frantic; he was warning me, but I had no sense that he was telling me not to go.
Cardinal was my witness, just as I would be for what happened at the spring… Nature always reciprocates.
With a heavy heart I left him by the garage door and drove by the little town of Bryant Pond. The old trees in front yards had been slaughtered and lay in huge piles on the ground. I gasped. Driving further on I slowed to see pile after pile of big trees and slender young saplings that had been cut by the Great Machines strewn everywhere. Nothing had been spared in this massacre. Once again I drove by the spring, missing it for the same reason I had the day before. I pulled onto the narrow shoulder of the road to snap pictures of the devastation that stretched ahead as far as I could see. I learned later that the road crew would continue its work as far as North Pond, still miles away down the road. I reversed directions again to finish documenting the damage and came home. Although I posted the images publically they went unnoticed.
The day before I had asked to release my anger around the slaughtering of our trees. I kept returning to the image of the slain saplings… My anger had vanished, but in its place I had been given a terrible vision – What I had just witnessed I would witness again and again until “the end” whatever that meant. Man’s treatment of the trees old and young could not be stopped.Numbed, I walked out into the blue day wondering how I could accept what I had just learned. I had fallen deep into the well and it was dry.