Wild Flower Moon Pyre and Prayer

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I stood out under the thick gray clouds

And listened to the bird song,

the roaring river flood,

watched the swallows

soaring overhead

cutting the invisible link between

earth and sky

with sword like precision

and wished I could stay…

I stopped the thought

pulling back the thread –

Coming here at all

was a gift beyond imagining.

 

Earlier I stood at the window

soaking in

flaming orange and ebony,

sharp avian beaks spearing fruit with skill.

A red headed tanager peered

at me through olive sage.

Redwing black birds hovered.

A banquet for this hungry heart

spread herself all around me.

 

I had forgotten about the moon…

She brought us the gift of two days

of rain that brightened each sage and lime

to vibrant green.

I picked redbud tree pods.

Twice, I

shelled and soaked them,

softening coats that

that gazed at winter through a legume lens.

I want to put down tree roots here –

not just shallow iris runners

(though I love them too)

but a sturdy taproot that grows

towards a fiery center

dives deep and finds life giving water

to succor her

when the desert floor heaves, splits, and

cracks from raw heat.

The star of summer has no mercy

for rabbit, flower or tree.

Only darkness brings cool night air.

 

I have a life here, I say.

Because it’s true,

Friends, a few people

who accept me

as I am – (more or less)

and I do the same.

This is a blessing

I have never known,

until now – except for one woman

who lives too far away.

And under a white wild- flower moon

that lies hidden behind

a sky rimmed in shell pink,

I think I hear the maiden whisper.

Has this possibility always been real?

Did I close the door in fear?

I was woven and spun

distorted by others,

and perhaps most by myself

into a woman that I was not.

But fate, like life, just is –

And even in uncertainly

I can feel the need for

acceptance of what has been.

That I want to

comply is already known

to that grandmother of moons –

the one with a hare at her side.

Hummingbirds sip

sweet nectar.

I give thanks

For what is,

and with some reservation, for what was.

It’s the best I can do.

 

At the rivers edge

I offer a song,

dip and fill my cup

with the moon’s blessing.

And as I climb

the steep mud swallowed slope

buff meets wet red ground,

the luminous stones mark

The path I meander…

Inside my dove and I

enter our room.

He sits on my shoulder.

I bless the dogs, the bird,

and also myself

in Her name.

 

Aphrodite and her Dove.

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Harvest Moon

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At dawn this morning I beheld you in the sky –

a perfect pale round.

Last night your blue light guided me home.

The deep desert silence was

broken only by coyotes

singing just for you.

At midnight the Great Horned owl whoos,

narrating Her story.

The harvest is upon us;

The sun slips low on the horizon and shadows deepen.

(Oh, the gift of changing Light)

A multitude of seeds are scattered by west winds…

Give thanks for this abundance!

Grandmothers, you

bring dreams on your wings,

and hope for hungry hearts.

The dove will sing again.

Gratitude flows through me like the Chama

winding her way to the sea.

I pause this morning to hear Earth’s symphony.

8/17/16

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Reflections:

All month I have been living in the kind of chaos that disturbs the natural cycles that guide me through my life. Only during the last few days have I finally had some relief, and I have had deadlines to meet that have taken precedence over everything including the waxing of the second full harvest moon. But I have been participating in “the gathering in” just the same making trip after trip into the desert to gather sweet sage, pinion nuts, sticky pitch laden pine cones – to feast my eyes on the abundance of wildflowers that spring out of desert sand. I am saying good bye to the hummingbirds, wishing them well on their arduous journey. I watch with deep pleasure the covey of quail that come in for seed. I keep a sharp eye out for the baby rabbits, and each night look forward to that time -in the crack between worlds – when the sky catches fire and the light shifts every nanosecond. I am so much in love with the desert sky. As soon as the sun slips over the horizon Venus has begun her climb and will soon rise over the horizon to join Arcturus already positioned higher in the western sky. This month I give thanks for Lily’s life, for neighbors whose kindness fills me to the brim with thanksgiving and joy, and for being in a desert that has made me feel so at home…

Desire

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Today is the first full moon of the growing season, occurring just after the vernal equinox. The sky is deep blue and blustery winds obliterate the mourning dove’s call while my pentatonic chimes ring on. A solitary turkey vulture soars through the firmament attesting to the accuracy of the astronomical calendar and the pattern of the changing seasons: spring is on the wing. Native peoples think that vultures are a bird of omens; the sight of one is eagerly anticipated because it is believed that s/he ushers in warm winds, rising temperatures, and spring rains. Amazingly, Indigenous myth and story mirrors Nature’s temperament because these birds are harbingers of spring. And spring this year brings my grandsons’ home.

 

I haven’t seen my grandchildren together for about 16 months. Both were whisked away by the armed services. But a year ago last Christmas Drew and Cameron gave me an amaryllis bulb named Desire – the best Christmas present ever! I remember the magical December afternoon I spent at home here with these young men as we talked and laughed and told stories. I experienced such a profound joy in their presence…

 

After they left that evening I reflected on the name Desire. To desire is to need, to long, or to yearn for something or someone. It was such a perfect word to describe what this bulb personified for me with respect to my grandchildren. The bulb symbolized my deep love for these adult grandsons; it also embodied my desire and deep longing to be with them…

 

For the next couple of months I watched Desire’s two sturdy stalks grow tall and strong and when she bloomed I was awestruck by the passion of her bittersweet blush. Oh, how I loved her! The huge bouquet of flaming orange blossoms took my breath away – she was a sunrise on fire…

 

After Desire finished blooming I cared for the bulb and her emerald leaves throughout the summer, then put her in a dark closet to rest until the beginning of December.

 

I retrieved the bulb and buried the bottom of Desire in a new pot after noting that she had a new bulblet growing out of her bulb. Desire was healthy and already reproducing I thought happily. Strangely, after re-potting her she just sat there for a number of weeks with no sign of growth even though I showered my attention on her. At first I was baffled by amaryllis’s behavior but gradually the beautiful fat green bulb helped me understand. Desire apparently knew something I did not. She told me that because neither of my grandchildren would be here for Christmas I needed to put her bulb back to sleep!

 

Many years ago I learned to listen to plants. They spoke to me because I loved them. Plants don’t normally use words, they work through my body using all my senses to communicate with me, or they speak through dream images.

 

Acknowledging my keen disappointment with regard to my grandsons’ coming absence, I dutifully made peace with myself, and returned the bulb to her dark closet. As Desire predicted neither grandson returned home for Christmas.

 

Throughout the winter I routinely checked the bulb but she lay dormant. In late February I spoke with Cameron. He told me that he would be home on leave sometime in April. Sometime after our conversation I checked Desire and was delighted to see a tiny tip of a bud peeking out of the bulb; she knew. I decided to wait a little longer before planting her; I hoped for another bud.

 

On the Vernal Equinox (3/20/16) I spoke with Cameron for a second time; he gave me the precise dates in April when I could expect him for a visit. Then he told me that he believed that his brother (who was leaving the Marines after five long years and was now only 22 years old) would also be home by then – for good! Just the thought of seeing both of my grandchildren in the flesh started my heart pounding. I had been forcibly separated from these boys during their childhood years, so at seventy these two young men were the stuff out of which my dreams were spun. I loved them – fiercely.

 

After our second conversation I checked on the bulb again. I was astonished! In three weeks Desire had sprouted two stalks with buds, each un-naturally whitened and starving for light. Apologizing profusely to my beautiful bulb, I tenderly re-potted her and staked the stalks, one of which was more than two feet high and just about ready to break under it’s own weight. I shuddered to think what damage one more night in that closet would have wrought.

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In the past three days I have watched the two budded stalks turning green, reaching towards the warming sun, the waxing/full moon and rising waters. I could, of course, simply say the bulb needed a longer night to begin to bud, but I believe there’s more to this story.

 

Cameron

 

I think these buds on stilts represent my grandchildren coming into my life again. I don’t think that it is coincidence that the amaryllis bulb began to shoot up when it did. I think that Desire knew I loved her so much that she chose to align her growth with my grandchildren and me.

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I also think that on some level that I am the bulb, and that my two grandchildren are my buds. I am flesh of their flesh. Desire decided to become a container for one grandmother and her two grandchildren grounding our  connection in relationship through a bulb, binding us together until we could meet again.

 

Nature demonstrates that timing is critical to every growth cycle. If Desire can sprout stalks in even in darkness when the time is right, and then produce buds/flowers in the light, (and repeat the process on a cyclic basis) then my relationship with these beloved children can grow, bud, and flower too, deepening with each turn on the spiral. Unexpectedly, I have a clear image of Desire’s tiny bulb still attached to its source and wonder what mysterious new life the future might bring.

 

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DESIRE IN FIRST BLOOM      4/6

POSTSCRIPT:   During the night of 4/11 the two foot stalk snapped and the flowers fell over. The moment I glimpsed the invisible slaughter I knew that I would not be seeing my grandsons and sure enough a few days later I learned that Cam’s leave had been overshadowed by the military agenda and that my second grandson would not be home until June.