Equinox Reflection

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I gaze out my bedroom window and hear yet another golden apple hit the ground. The vines that hug the cabin and climb up the screens are heavy with unripe grapes and the light that is filtered through the trees in front of the brook is luminous – lime green tipped in gold. My too sensitive eyes are blessedly well protected by this canopy of late summer leaves.

 

The maples on the hill are losing chlorophyll and are painting the hollow with splashes of bittersweet orange and red. The dead spruces by the brook will probably collapse this winter providing Black bears with even more precious ants and larvae to eat in early spring. I only hope that some bears will survive the fall slaughter to return to this black bear sanctuary; in particular two beloved young ones… Mushrooms abound, amanitas, boletes morels, puff balls, the latter two finding their way into my salads. The forest around my house is in an active state of becoming with downed limbs and sprouting fungi becoming next year’s soil. The forest floor smells so sweet that all I can imagine is laying myself down on a bed of green mosses to sleep and dream.

 

The garden looks as tired as I am; lily fronds droop, yellowing leaves betraying the season at hand. Bright green pods provide a startling contrast to fading scarlet bee balm. Wild asters are abundant and goldenrod covers the fields with a bright yellow garment. Every wild bush has sprays of berries. My crab – apple trees are bowed, each twig heavy with winter fruit.

 

Most of the birds have absconded to the fields that are ripe with the seeds of wild grasses. The mourning doves are an exception – they gather together each dawn waiting patiently for me to fill the feeder. In the evening I am serenaded by soft cooing. One chicken hawk hides in the pine, lying in wait for the unwary…Just a few hummingbirds remain…whirring wings and twittering alert me to continued presence as they settle into the cherry tree to sleep, slipping into a light torpor with these cool September nights…

 

Spiders are spinning their egg cases, even as they prepare to die. I can still find toads hopping around the house during the warmest hours of the day. Although the grass is long I will not mow it for fear of killing these most precious and threatened of species. I am heavily invested in seeing these toads burrow in to see another spring. My little frogs sit on their lily pads seeking the warmth of a dimming afternoon sun. Soon they too will slumber below fallen leaves or mud.

 

I am surrounded by such beauty, and so much harvest bounty that even though I am exhausted I take deep pleasure out of each passing day of this glorious month of September, the month of my birth. Unlike many folks, for me, moving into the dark of the year feels like a blessing.

 

Another leave -taking is almost upon me, and I am having trouble letting go of this small oasis that I have tended with such care for more than thirty years…

 

I don’t know what this winter will bring to my modest cabin whose foundation is crumbling under too much moisture and too many years of heavy snow. In the spring extensive excavation will begin. A new foundation must be poured and this work will destroy the gardens I have loved, the mossy grounds around the south end of the house that I have nurtured for so long.

 

In this season of letting go I must find a way to lay down my fears, and release that which I am powerless to change. Somehow… I have no idea what I will return to except that I have made it clear that none of my beloved trees be harmed.

 

I am grateful that Nature is mirroring back to me so poignantly that letting go is the way through: That this dying can provide a bedrock foundation for another spring birth. As a Daughter of the Earth I lean into ancient wisdom, praying that this exhausted mind and body will be able to follow suit.

Letting Go

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For a moment

a blazing star

astonished a mountain

warming

a heart from within.

But stars are made

of rings of fire.

Flaming Light

torches

Evening sky,

as fierce

and deadly sparks

tumble through

thin air,

burn to cinder,

black ash –

Night Sky Bear

implodes –

strikes frozen ground.

November Reflection

White frost covered grasses and the warmth of a rising sun streams in through the windows at dawn as I kindle smoldering coals in my wood stove. The bare trunks of the cottonwoods bend charcoal against the horizon as golden light flows onto the floor heating cool tiles. A passionflower blossom is a feast for hungry eyes. Tonight, artificial time ends as we reclaim lost mornings, Nature’s original intention. Early nightfall births a sky full of cracked stars revealing ancient patterns for all to ponder.

 

What is it about darkness that modern westerners find so frightening? Is it the anxiety that comes from never taking the time to reflect upon one’s life? The fear of letting go? Or is more about dread? Encountering one’s own shadow is surely western culture’s greatest challenge. For me, it’s the reality of the opening of the Great Void of empty space that may be pregnant with potential but is also full of black holes…

 

Yet, this time of stillness, uncertainty, emptiness, and darkness allows me to tap into ancient Earth rhythms as I make the transition from “the going out” “to the return.”

 

Two days ago I earthed some bulbs in my half moon garden. Planting bulbs that will spend the winter gestating in darkness is a promise of life to come. Perhaps this is why I find this process so rewarding – even joyful.

 

Yesterday I cleared away the last of the frost withered flowers replacing them with natural mulch. My baby house lizard emerged from his rock lair to peer curiously at me as I gathered the last nasturtium seeds and dug deep into the soil preparing it for spring planting, laying down heart shaped leaves as Nature’s blanket. The compost lizard with his newly shed skin has just joined him… How do these young lizards know where to find the very best place to spend the winter? My half moon garden against the south side of the house is surely the most inviting habitat around!

 

A great horned owl soars low in the field with outstretched wings searching for food, and later, the haunting cry of the Sand –hill cranes allows me to witness their brief descent onto bare ground to feed before they take to the air, flying over the house towards the river that will, perhaps, help guide them south. The great mystery of bird migration characterizes this month of rapid changes and here in New Mexico the arrival and departure of the Sand hill cranes reminds anyone who pays attention that winter is on the horizon.

 

I moved my bird feeders from the trees (that until recently provided good leaf cover) to the covered porch. The birds are reluctant to make this shift from tree to human space, but I am patient; this change will take time but I hope that by the end of November the birds will eagerly flock to this protected space to feed.

 

This morning was brisk and windy and so I was surprised to see baby lizard still clinging to the wall as I began the herculean task of pulling apart a temporary pond that I had dug into the ground and ringed with sandstone last June as an experiment. I dearly wanted to attract toads and frogs to this small oasis. After watching lizards basking on warm pink rocks, bees, butterflies, a garter snake, not to mention birds flocking to this location I was impressed but it wasn’t until the giant toad appeared at the end of August that I was convinced a permanent pool was a necessity. As I dug through the waterlogged mud and slung it into my wheelbarrow, placed the round container in the large hole, began to back fill and replace the ring of stones I called out to the toads and frogs! Please come by next spring, I implored them, knowing of course that so much depends on rain… Then I seeded the area with poppies and blue flax, early blooming flowers, and covered the whole area with golden cottonwood leaves… Completing this job was the last project on my short list and I felt absurdly happy!

 

These days I am content to create two small gardening spaces, plant a tree or two and create one little pond because less has become more.

 

After the morning’s stiff breeze ceased I opened the doors to let the fresh air in…

 

November is the month when natural changes seem most dramatic. Just a week ago the leaves were on the trees and the air was still, and now I feel winter’s chill soaring towards me on wintery winds. We had intolerable temperatures from May to October. Unable to get away, and too sensitive to heat and the smoke from forest fires, I spent months trapped inside my house. For a woman whose life is predicted on her direct relationship with Nature, I lived through hell but learned too that neither body or soul can endure living here year round – an important thing to know…

 

Some think of this month as “the space in between” worlds. Once, most cultures acknowledged this time that is predominated by the emptying out and by sudden changes and reversals; Indigenous peoples and those with pre-christian leanings still do. Last night I dreamed that a hole opened up in the earth on the west side of the house. This dream reinforces the reality the void that opens in November for those of us who are sensitive enough to feel it – an uncomfortable time.

 

Completing outdoor chores like gathering seeds and wood and preparing gardens for spring planting helps me prepare for turning inward… Some still gather round the fire for reflection and storytelling, thinking about those who have journeyed this way before. I review my dreaming journal and gather greens to celebrate the first night of winter darkness by arranging them in my giant Mexican frog. Draping miniature white lights around the boughs and then lighting them bathes the room in such a friendly glow that I can barely wait for dark! The first greens for my wreaths are waiting to be woven into a Circle of Becoming. I watch the Great Bear circumnavigating the sky wishing the hunt was over.

 

Temperate days, frost covered ground, brief gales, and snow on the mountains speak volumes to any who witness this time of stark changes.

 

I listen to Nature’s voice on the wings of migrating birds, acknowledge and honor the space in between, accepting this cycle of letting go – even as I refuse to accept the continued rape and desecration of the Earth by those who remain indifferent to a Fate that is their own.

Autumn Equinox Reflection

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After a torturous summer and fall with temperatures still in the 90’s until three days ago we finally had rain and then it was a bracing 56 degrees the next morning with a light northeast wind!

 

Oh, the joy of finally being in synch with the season of fall.

 

I was flooded with gratitude although all around me the ravages of drought drone on.

 

Yesterday was a “doing” day. I took my first real hike into a canyon nearby, but was disappointed to see little green on the cottonwoods, shriveled sage, and dead snakeweed. What did I expect?

 

Coming home I gathered seeds, and trimmed my juniper tree, the one that has been watered all summer. I can’t save them all but that tree has grown a foot, much to my delight.

 

Yesterday was also a “play” day and I went around gathering seeds and pods that I saw and created a collage for the equinox, one that reminds me to give thanks for Nature’s bounty.

 

I watched birds and lingered at the river listening to water singing to stone.

 

And almost all day I periodically visited with my house lizards all of which were perched under Mexican hats (large sunflower heads) on my garden wall, basking on the ledge near my compost, and on the warm sandstone rock ledge… The best part was when baby lizard appeared on the railing. I provided him with a new Mexican hat since the other lizards had stolen his refuge. He’s so tiny I am afraid something will get him and I dearly want him to live long enough to go into hibernation, which I believe will be soon. All of these sagebrush lizards are my friends… so I wanted to simply spend the afternoon visiting with them letting them know I would miss each friend like lovers do, and I did!

 

This morning once again the owls awakened me – Today they hooted from two different trees, sending me off to the river. The Bosque looked like fall had touched her with a wand of subtle color. Russian olive trees were losing their canopies. The ground was also littered with the leaves from willow, compost for next spring. Every time I looked up to the Matriarchs of the Bosque tired cottonwood hearts were drifting to the ground. The river beach wears a bigger apron each day as the water recedes…

 

This morning I gazed at the milkweed pods in the center of my outdoor altar… As the breeze took the delicate white spidery parachutes that held each seed, one aftet the other, I thought that this dispersal somehow personified the whole of what the fall equinox is all about – the letting go – and how poignant a time of year this is…And yet, as the Earth prepares for winter she brings relief to parched plants by sending them into dormancy – a merciful response to starvation by lack of water.

 

My Autumn Equinox ritual, created to honor the Turning of the Wheel speaks to Nature’s abundance. The Earth has gone into the grain, fruit, and vegetables that will sustain us all winter long. A Great Goddess to all, acknowledged or not, She remains steadfast – the Earth Mother of us all. Her generosity knows no bounds. This is the time of year to give thanks for life as we prepare for the colder months head, leaning into this season of golden light and shadows.

 

Tonight I shall walk into the sunset knowing that I have been fully present for this seasonal event.

 

Blessed Be at this Turning

And Blessings to All

9/22/2018