The Season of Light

The season of light

comes with cool nights

shadows etched in charcoal

reveal hidden crevices

dug deep

into reptilian mountain mesas.

 

The season of light

sifts silver through

cottonwood hearts

grown weary of fire and heat,

turns grasses to wheat,

turns leaves to gold.

 

The season of light

stills the cicada hum.

Snakes shed their skins…

Toads bury themselves

in the warmth of red earth

under a sky turned to blue stone.

 

The season of light

balances light and dark,

brings a starry firmament to life,

storied by peoples

who moved with the

tides of the moon

and changing seasons.

 

The season of light

chants the song of creation

in September,

the month of my birth.

I listen in silence and wonder

perched the river’s edge

gazing at serpentine waters

seeking a shimmering sea.

 

In the season of light

gratitude for life

runs parallel with sunrise

rising above misty waters.

And again at dusk when

I envelop myself

in the Owl’s feathery cloak

to darken the sky,

to welcome in the peace

of sweet long nights.

 

Turn, Turn, Turn…

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We are approaching the Fall Equinox, a time of year that is perhaps more poignant than any other, and also my favorite season. As the days shorten and the trees are heavy with golden or rosy apples, with every kind of maple turning a different shade of crimson, rust, gold and olive green, with papery brown beeches rustling in light wind, and white pines dropping needles in abundance as I prune back the juniper that lines my woodland paths for another year, I am thankful simply to “be.”

 

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The Datura plant that has now gone into the ground (with my help – I never thought I would get this plant out of its pot!) surprised me with a shower of ripe seeds falling from bright green prickly pods just two days after I dug it in. I covered the windfall with soil hoping that some new seeds will sprout along with their year old sisters after a long winter’s sleep under a blanket of thick mulch and snow. I am still collecting nasturtium seeds from my seemingly impossible patch of ever blooming flowers, whose peppery blossoms I love to eat, if only I can bear to spare them from becoming a riotous bouquet for my table! The last of the scarlet runner beans have giant pods almost ready for harvesting for next years seed.

 

On quiet nights I sleep with my head under the open window closest to the brook whose waters are barely tr, audible and yet the drought seems less threatening because it is normal to see the brook low this time of year (unfortunately this is only illusion). My vernal pool is finally drying up and I am delighted to see that no wriggling tadpoles are left…all have transformed into amphibians that live in two worlds instead of one (rather like me!) Tree frogs trill throughout the night singing love songs and everywhere tiny gold wood frogs hop through grass that I deliberately leave unattended so that they, and the small slower hopping toads, are not killed by a mindless mowing machine.

 

I revel in the spreading carpet of emerald green moss that is gradually replacing the grass in most places because shade dominates my little patch of woodland around this house. My pearl white hydrangea blooms on and is a joy to behold, she is so full of bumble bees. I could stand under her for hours counting different varieties of this one species. After a summer without bees I am in love with these humming blossoms.

 

The squirrels are caching nuts, during this year of acorn and pine cone abundance and even their chittering seems less annoying. I can smell the fermenting apples outside my window and at night listen for the sound of creatures coming in to feast… Last night, the source of the great thud I heard as some animal hit the ground from the apple tree remains a mystery. Why anyone would bother to climb this tree now is a question that remains unanswered. There are so many apples covering the ground that I need to walk under the drooping boughs with care. I note with pleasure that many small native bees like these sweetest of wild apples as they begin to rot on the ground. This year, instead of raking them up I will leave the fruit to fertilize the Earth for next spring. In time, the deer will return to feast on fermented apples and crabapples that pepper the ground under their various trees.

 

What a season this has been! Never do I remember such abundance but perhaps there have been other years almost as good as this one. It may also be that each year my appreciation deepens. I am still waiting for the first partridge to appear in one of their favorite crabapples, and daily I watch for the flock of cedar waxwings that lay over here for a feast on their southern migration. The flickers have yet to arrive for a stopover but two mornings ago I heard the first flock of geese flying over the house. Some Indigenous tribes call this this month the time of the “ducks flying away” and some are already on the wing.

 

The fox grapes are ripening in great globular clusters just outside my window, although a hard frost will be needed to sweeten them for my taste. The birds aren’t as fussy and neither are the foxes.

 

The time of natural harvest is particularly special to me because I know that I am providing much needed food for my non – human friends – a gift to those who have both witnessed and loved me… Every plant and tree on this property was planted with the idea that someday animals/birds/insects would find an abundance of food here, while in other more manicured places, it might become more scarce. I am glad to have lived long enough to experience this dream coming to pass.

 

As I lean into the coming darkness, I do so with gratitude for this season, and for the few moments of balance that we will experience as the equinox moments pass by, moving us from now pale early morning light into quickening dark nights, and the coming of the winter months…I remind myself that moments of balance are always temporary in Nature and in myself and that both need to be cherished.

 

As fall begins so does the hope for soaking rain – precious water that will nourish the earth, fill brooks streams, rivers and dug wells. Trees caching fire and gold in their leaves are also preparing for winter’s sleep. Hopefully high winds won’t take the flaming canopies too soon.

 

Lily B is usually quiet not singing until mid – morning. I sleep late, the mourning doves and finches don’t appear until after 7 AM, and my dogs are reluctant to leave our warm bed. All of us are turning with the wheel as Nature prepares herself for another winter’s sleep.

The Turning of the Wheel

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Guardians…

I invoke the Wild Goddess who comes to me through the Lady of the Plants.

The Fall Equinox is the time of “the gathering in” and this year I long to gather the pieces of myself back into one as we move into the dark of the year. This coming to the desert has been a time of wonder and wandering but also filled with difficult practical adjustments all having to do with this little stone/adobe brick house that seems to have problems with locks, broken windows and screens with holes, videos, and more serious, a gas leak. Having lived in Guadalupe’s house for six weeks I feel detached from “Her,” no doubt due to the fragmented parts of myself that struggle to regain grounding, and some semblance of balance and perhaps because it isn’t yet “Her Time.” (?) For the past couple of days a strange depressed state is pushing down hard on me. Oh no, someone cries out – not here too. This, with all this beauty around me, the little red or golden hills, the stark reptilian mountains that weave layer after layer of depth into the whole… Tiny whiptail lizards are scurrying about. Yesterday I saw the first male sagebrush lizard I have seen since Shadow’s death with his shimmering cobalt blotches regarding me with interest while sitting on the rock wall. Shadow’s sagebrush (fringed) that I planted did survive; little green sprouts push up new leaves and I feel like this lizard lives on in me! Yesterday new friend took me to a “Lizard house”… a possible future rent. I picked up a piece of chert (stone) and brought it home with the intention of creating a thread to this lovely house. Today I went to El Rito and met an artist I liked ever so much and she too has a little studio in the trees – no view but much less rent.  I brought home chert from the artists house as well.  Someone else may also have a place to rent. I have nothing to lose by looking for another place for the future if not now but my favorite is the Lizard House facing my favorite Sierra Negra mountain range…

I scattered many wild seeds yesterday while picking up more! Many wildflowers are seeding up and I have spent joyous moments encountering exquisite mounds of lavender a bouquet of which was given to me as a gift. Deep purple, magenta, lavender and pale blue wild asters line the washes and back roads. The buttery yellow chimisa, and blazing stars stun me with their beauty; all of the latter are just coming into bloom even though the fall equinox is upon us. The snakeweed is fading like the sun. Best of all last night it rained (and rain continued through the turning with lightning crackling through the inky blue  skies). I think Nature is blessing the desert because the air is unbelievably sweet and fresh, permeated with wild sages. I have seeds everywhere in the house! Pinion nuts and pine cones, and bean shaped beeweed pods, and the prickly pods of Sacred Datura. This little house is also filled with Artemisia frigida, the sweetest sage of all …and I lit a smudge stick that I made to purify and cleanse the air of this baffling dark energy that swirls around me.

I think of the ancient wild goddess Artemis and her precedents who live on through the telling of Her Stories…. Artemis’s love for animals, women, and the wild stag in particular seems like a powerful influence that may guide me now as it has before. I long for the presence of this ancient wild goddess’s healing power… When the fringed sagebrush called to me I heard the call but didn’t know what it meant. I cry out especially to the fringed sagebrush Artemesia frigida because this is the one I first fell in love with…I trust that she will help me sort through the tangle of dream threats and possibilities that are materializing before me.

The quail and rabbits are a joy as are the canyon towhees and the mourning doves. Yesterday the bird – bath was on the wing with astonishing cobalt western mountain bluebirds gathering for a drink. Later a deep blue pinion jay also visited. The hummingbirds have left except for a few stragglers. Less wondrous is the heavily spotted fat ground squirrel who finally found us and devours seeds like a hoover vacuum that can’t stop running! I watch for the stars to rise in the night sky waiting eagerly for the velvet curtain to drop suddenly as a glowing orb slips below the horizon. Venus is a jewel in the western sky.

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Although a southwestern exposure is hard on my eyes I have fallen in love with these sunsets. I have also become attached to Guadalupe’s house in spite of the many problems that she has with her structure. I really don’t want to abandon her now; but my vision is clouded and I must allow the future to guide me. I don’t understand how I could have been so sure about coming here when this house has been such an issue, and boundary violations have been extreme. Perhaps trial by fire is part of some kind of initiation? Perhaps I relied too much on what I wanted and needed? Perhaps all of this has nothing to do with me at all? … Perhaps it’s both. I discovered that no one has ever inhabited this house for long and that may be part of the problem too. However, the desert has been kind and oh so generous with her bounty. One day last month I finally felt I had turned a corner and then Shadow died, smashed in the door by an aggressive woman, followed by the deaths of a hummingbird and a number of finches. Continuous stomach issues remind me that my poor body is still protesting.

Lily B’s attack was bizarre and terrifying; yet Debra took me to a wonderful vet who saved his life and now he is flying free and bathing in the afternoon warmth that spreads through this house… I have made a few friends, and most people seem kind in this small community where there really are things to do. A couple of days ago I had a sharp momentary sense that all the problems would eventually work themselves out and that I can stay here after all… because as upsetting as they might have been most are being resolved – even the gas leak is scheduled to be worked on – but then that feeling faded… I may be stuck in an overreaction? (equinox dream suggests no – the threat is real) I don’t know how to trust myself because I have to live through something to understand it…I will be 71 in a few days. I swing back and forth between the usual extremes without clear vision.

On the night of September 17th a dream told that Lily would sing again, and the next morning he cooed. It felt like a miracle.

I have acted out this seed gathering time in a very satisfying way feeling as if I am participating in the ancient ways of the Grandmothers whose gathering of seeds, whose weavings, whose pottery created the first peaceful culture without weapons or war…If it happened once the pattern is there to be lived through once again. I continue to act out this story, choosing to believe in Her…even as I give thanks for this last day of equal light and dark. The wheel is turning towards the winter night…

I remind myself that balance is an illusion. Even the Earth stays in balance for just a moment before  turning…

May She Bless Us All.

Guardians….