For Love of Trees

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Yesterday I dreamed that I discovered a bird’s nest that was hidden in the center of an evergreen tree. This little dream moved me deeply because this is the time of year I celebrate my love and gratitude for all trees, but especially evergreens, and the dream felt like an important message. For me, the “Tree of Life” is also an evergreen at least during the winter months.

 

Outdoors, I recently placed a glass star in the center of my newly adopted Juniper here in New Mexico, repeating a pattern that began in Maine years ago with my Guardian Juniper in whose center I also placed a star…Inside the house an open circle made from a completely decayed tree trunk sits at the center of my Norfolk Pine. Indoors both boughs and tree are festooned with tiny lights. The point of these making these gestures was/is to remind me that tree bodies are sacred in their wholeness and each tree explicates the immanence of divinity. Another way of saying this is to say that Natural Power lives in trees.

 

I do not believe in god.

 

But the reality of “Natural Power” is an ongoing force in my life. When I am deeply troubled I turn to trees or birds or animals for help, and they always respond, although often it takes me a long time to understand their messages, mostly because my intellect and cultural conditioning gets in the way of intuition, sensing, and feeling.

 

Sometimes dreams help me to bridge the gap, and when I dreamed that the tree held a nest I felt a great comfort moving through me…

 

It seemed to me that the dream was showing me that the “little bird woman self” (most vulnerable personality) has a safe place to rest within the protected boughs of the evergreen, also her Tree of Life.

 

Because I am living in two worlds and must find a way to move between both, I am by necessity a “snow bird” migrating with the seasons. Thus, it means a great deal to me that I have a place to feel contained and nurtured among fragrant boughs anywhere I go.

 

The tree and her nest may be hidden, but it is there, and I found it.

 

Perhaps I have found home, after all.

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I Remember Who I Am

 

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20180122_Lily_Hope_20100424.jpg  the road less traveled is one I walk…

 

Twice in the last week I have climbed a mountain road and walked around through healthy Ponderosa pine,  gray -green spruces, junipers, aspen, and cottonwoods recently shorn of their crowns, soaking in the oxygen rich ragged cliffs studded with thousands of healthy trees, delighting in deep green needles etched against deep blue sky… A few mountain peaks wear  white.

 

When I breathe this moist sweet air I feel the Source of Life moving through an aching body. She thrums a song through my heart, strums a song through my lungs. This precious Life. Tiny evergreens are sprouting, cacti abound. Bushy emerald sprouts on mature trees speak to adequate rain – for now. New growth tips are Nature’s promise. Black Bears slip through the trees on padded feet unseen, gentle denizens of the forest, they ponder the abundance of choices for dry winter rock dens. I slip on loose rubble gathering sweet boughs. Give thanks. The opaque stones speak.

 

Today is All Soul’s Day. And I remember who I am.

 

A Daughter of the Earth.

 

I have reclaimed my animal powers on the tree rich mountain where ‘woman changes.’ I wear antlers that touch the sky with tongues of flame. I am a woman who belongs to Bears, to Forest, and to Stone. I am the Soul of the River that calls my name.

 

I am a woman I respect, who speaks her truth, even as she stands alone.

 

I Remember Who I Am.

Words from Barbara Mor

…& who is jesus what else

does he do    can he sing

can he plant corn    i saw

a picture of him once on

the dome of the sky looking

down dark & fierce at the

green earth   & who is jesus

what else can he do   can

he scrub floors can he make

the bread      they say  he

suffered 9 hours of pain

for the world   tell that

to any mother    what man

son of what father   king of

what desert    saver of what

flesh   can he mold pots

can he make the rain come

can he find  his way home

naked after being raped

can he wail like janus can

he burn in fire   after

2000 years of dying can he

laugh & hand Death a beer

can he smash the last

mirror  can he know me  who

is this jesus   what is

he: next to any woman’s

blood-red truth   no wound

in a man  is big enough

to birth a world   to

return an earth

so now here is our old mama   in the junkyard…

(from “A Song A Song For Tralala,” 1975-1997)

 

Comment:

I didn’t read Barbara Mor’s “The Great Cosmic Mother” until graduate school at mid life, and this book along with Griffin’s “Woman and Nature” validated every intuition I had ever had, made sense of my dreams, and helped me believe in my own ideas. Barbara’s life was difficult and she was and remains a visionary… a beacon for those of us who are attempting to survive the destructive chains of 4000 years of domination by patriarchy and a woman hating culture.

Desert Fire

 

 

When days

seem endless

and a glaring white sun

stings my eyes…

when a harsh west wind blows

and searing heat strikes

this mud house

shriveling bittersweet wild flowers

lizards fly –

The walls are too hot to touch.

This intolerable fire

raises a question –

to stay or go?

Desert heat is a form

of body torture.

 

Yet, this morning

the owl hooted

from the cottonwood…

I walked to the river

under a waning moon

blessed this body

under seige,

felt intolerable anguish

how much more can she stand?

I gave thanks for water

felt the cool air

and breathed so deep,

shivering

in pre-dawn air.

I watched a

dark god soar

under a luminous white pearl

reflecting,

querying,

to stay or go?

 

The question can

only be answered by

this body

who knows

what I do not.

Will this brief daily respite

from ongoing suffering

be enough?

 

Desert heat is a form

of body torture,

unlike any

I have ever known.

Datura Magic

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Datura blossoms

open in late spring evenings

their pearl white trumpets

buzzing with pollinating bees…

How I long to

have my very own

leafy round bush

bursting with lavender laced flowers…

Germinating Datura seed has been

one of this year’s greatest challenges.

First I fried some

in the noon day sun

not once but twice,

Drowned others

in too damp soil.

Rabbits feasted on tender leaves

of last year’s seedling – thrice!

When I dug young plants

I severed sturdy root connections

to life giving minerals and water.

Burying broken souls in

high desert soil,

I watched them weep –

bend shriveled leaves,

felt their deep distress

and anguish

– knowing

I was the cause.

Forgive me,

I implored them.

Will my steadfast love suffice?

(It was not enough for

one blossoming passionflower…

a beloved sister for 17 years,

whose demise preceded dying in me…)

I water Datura each clear blue morning.

Compassion and love

flow through pure feeling…

Plants taught me that this

direct form of communication

honors not just plants

but all life forms.

I imagine a startling green bouquet

coming to life outside my door.

I can almost see pointed leaves

emerging out of summer mist

rising from the river

a gift from nourishing rain.

One day last week

for no apparent reason

a few Datura seeds sprouted

from the soil of one twig pot

where I had cast them

carelessly – discouraged

by this year’s seed failures.

A few days later

two green winged leaves

appeared like magic

with seed heads still attached like hats!

Now I think Datura was reminding me

of how important

it is to start from humble

Beginnings – to persist with Patience.

“Do not give up,” She informs me without words.

To cease feeling hope is human,

but I must not close the door

on what I cannot know.

Sacred Datura is a mystery plant –

Medicine from the beyond

for those who are initiated

as I was last summer

through night song,

when a single potted plant

sang through a soaking rain.

Flooded with disbelief,

awed – astonished – bewildered

I stood rooted

to her nocturnal symphony…

Later, returning to my senses,

I reflected.

The old woman in me

is as much in love with plants

as the child once was –

our bond remains unbroken.

Intimate relationship lives on

through unlikely conversations.

Some plants speak more urgently than others…

Datura and Passionflower vines

have called me into prayer

on more than one occasion.

Our roots, stems, leaves overlap –

linked in space

through intimate relationship

time flows

in both directions at once

and present is all there is.

I have spent an authentic life

creeping close to the ground

as a green and purple vine

– my belly close to home.

When entering the field of plants

four hundred fifty million years old,

I too am capable

of birthing

just as seeds

do, sprouting from

dry cracked earth.

It is by this act

of seeding new plants that

I recover my own

lost plant soul.

 

Working notes:

Spring brings on the white heat of the sun and the potential to germinate last year’s seeds. This year I have spent a lot of time trying to germinate seeds, rooting passionflower cuttings, and seeding in pots so that they can be moved and I live with the hope that some will find home in desert ground…

I am walking on air, still perched like a bird on a wire,  – too much air, fire from the sun, and not enough earth and water…

The drought drones on.

This prose arose out out my need to ground myself to the powers of place through the act of seeding in the earth, a process I began a couple of weeks ago on the land around the house in which I hope I will soon be living.

This year I am experiencing seeding and planting as an act of defiance, I think – a response to feeling so uprooted in my life. Participating in this process is also a response that ties me to the seasonal round. With the summer solstice fast approaching the days are too long, too hot, the sky too bleached, the rain doesn’t come… Seeding, rooting, transplanting, allow me to put my hope into the thirsty ground through my love for plants acknowledging my intimate relationship with them. Each day when I water my seedlings and watch as others sprout, I feel a sense of being a part of a greater whole that is always changing…

Seeds sprouting, Passionflowers climbing towards the light, and Datura struggling to adapt to new surroundings are a metaphor for my present life and also embody the miracle of new life unfolding within and without.

The common element for survival is that all, including me, must have thriving roots, adequate water, and access to Natural Light.

 

Morning Prayer

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In the magical pre –dawn space in between the worlds I am compelled to visit Red Willow River to begin each day. As I open the creaking gate quietly I gaze down at the island scanning for the silhouettes of roosting waterfowl as I listen to the hypnotic sound of rippling water carving stones into smooth round flat shapes. A crescent moon glows overhead – a sliver of pearl perched in deep midnight blue sky. I look for the crack between the bare deciduous trees checking to see if the Sangre de Christo mountain range is shifting from deep undulating shadow to sharp peaks that are etched in black ink. I breathe into the still air, feeling an ancient sense of wonder permeating my body. Gratitude flows like the water beneath the sandstone cliff on which I stand… I am viscerally attached to the all the peoples, animals, and plants who lift their eyes to the east where a rosy pink, pale yellow, bittersweet orange, or scarlet morning sun will soon break over the horizon. In these precious moments I am the Earth becoming her Morning Prayer.

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