Shape-shifting : Entering the Earth-Womb

Then and now….morning, 14 November 2014…a mirror to 11.14.2018

(Note for followers of these posts: the promised continuation of September’s “Entering Autumn…”, further tales of the Ghost Ranch gathering, will follow this post…..Life happens!)

…..but nonetheless, “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. / Don’t go back to sleep” And the first secret of this morning’s November dawn is a sweet discovery: that the spiral of my Journey here at Lightspring Glen echoes in near-same detail the morning four years ago today in 2014. The pond is skimmed with ice from last night’s mid-20s and the pines and the frost-withered goldenrod are lightly draped in a snowy mantle.  Out for this morning’s wood’s ramble I needed my  warmest hat and gloves to enjoy the dancing swirl of snowflakes, and pleased to find myself warming up to the Season’s frosty delights. There’s always a spell of foot-dragging for me, so to speak, (and occasional heavy sighing) reluctantly accepting that barefoot pleasures need to be set aside for six months, and that pond-side Tai chi is now happening indoors looking out through the living room windows at the pond and hemlocks. :::sigh:::

Summer’s green-fire has subsided to just embers winking in the oaks’ burnished bronze leaves. These particular Standing Ones are loathe to part with their foliage for a few months more. And I am treated to the yearly pleasure of the trees’ beguiling strip-tease, the slow reveal of sturdy trunks in delightful hues of grays and browns all the way up to their crowns. Graceful patterns of sinuous limbs and branches come into sharp focus. The bare-treed woods opens itself like a stage curtain being gently pulled back revealing the outline of the hills rising beyond, the full backdrop of my woodsy neighborhood filled out and expansive once more.

We’ve just monkeyed with the clocks as we do every six months so that dark now descends a little past four. It’s a bit of heavy-handed shape-shifting, depending on whether you’re a morning- or night-person. As a happy early-riser, I’m glad for the brightness again at 6 AM. And for the darker end of the day I’ve laid in a supply of tea lights to cheer the evenings, their golden flicker a cozy addition to the seasonal scheme of things. 

So the citizenry of the Green World has drifted into needed slumber and hibernation’s secretive renewal. The Winter Solstice is five weeks away. The deepest dark of the Year’s Wheel approaches, its always mysterious reckoning and potent gifts offered to those who entertain its possibilities.  Even though there’s a certain reluctance, I turn myself toward the cold-edged beauties of the coming Season.  I have an ever-deepening appreciation for the gifts of these months. No one better than Mary Oliver to coach us in this. And so, on the occasion of the first snow here at Lightspring Glen, may you enjoy her earthy wisdom and joy shining in the images of the poem of that name. 

First Snow

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles
of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain - not a single
answer has been found -
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one

Entering Autumn – the Door is round and open…

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Equinox Labyrinth – 22 September 2018

On Saturday sixteen friends and neighbors – Earth Pilgrims, all – gathered here at Lightspring Glen to give thanks for Summer’s blessings and welcome the new season. And as was true for the Barn Christening in June, many more attended in spirit, so we were a lively crowd. As the westering Sun settled gracefully behind the hemlock wood…we were glad for our warm jackets…we shared a meditative walk on the rope labyrinth I’d laid out that morning, a barefoot Spider Woman. Here on the gentle slope of Richardson Hill, the stillness of the Equinox afternoon was softly edged with the stream’s murmuring flow, spilling happily down the waterfall’s cascade at the end of the pond and slip-sliding off through the Glen towards Willow Brook and on to the Susquehanna ten or so stream-miles away.  Continue reading “Entering Autumn – the Door is round and open…”

Luminescence – Notes for Summer Solstice

DSCN6049The calendar reports that this is the 12th of June. Summer Solstice, the mid-point of the year’s Wheel, is only eight days away.  In today’s bluest of blue skies, the midday Sun is nearing its zenith with the just-about-new Gemini Moon close behind…..tomorrow it will be exact. Bird-life is bustling all about, the Starling fledglings launched earlier this week from their nest in the eaves of my neighbors’ house. Our door yards are now somewhat quieter without their hungry clamoring from sun-up to sun-down for those three weeks and a bit more. And after the longest wait and a bit worried I’d not hear them this year, the days on Richardson Hill once more begin and end with the enchanting songs of the Wood thrush and the Hermit thrush. Continue reading “Luminescence – Notes for Summer Solstice”

Me & Mary, Captured by the Light

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Below the waterfall, April light in Lightspring Glen

We are nine days into April and today’s temps, promised to soar into the low 40’s, are a much yearned for, very long-awaited warm-up and hopeful heralding of Spring’s full arrival. By this date each of the four previous Aprils, I’ve already thrilled to the Spring peepers’ evening chorus here at Lightspring Glen. This year I’m imagining these wee amphibians are only now starting to stir out there behind the still-snowy hemlock woods. On a brighter note…literally…the recently returned and persistently optimistic song sparrows were singing this morning in the 20-degree chill air.  Ah, and as I write this, Simon and Garfunkel are softly reminding me, “April…come she will…” Continue reading “Me & Mary, Captured by the Light”

September at Lightspring Glen

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Earth Pilgrim report:

It is more than a considerable blessing to live on these seven acres tucked into the northwest corner of the Catskill Mountains. With a conscious shift of my focus the too-often thunderous cacophony of the news-of-the-world can be muted to a tolerable rumbling. Here this late Summer’s important news is how magnificent the fruit crop is, especially the apples. Four years ago I was impatiently waiting for the bank closing on my new home. When I paid surreptitious visits to walk the land that was not quite-yet mine, I was thrilled to discover three or four venerable apple trees from the farm’s long ago orchard, trees likely over 50 years old. Their branches that year were heavy with delicious apples. Weather vagaries in the intervening years resulted in far fewer and nearly none at all last fall. This year once more they are laden with heirloom apples whose names I’ve pledged to discover. How marvelous to be present to fully enjoy them. Continue reading “September at Lightspring Glen”

Lush…Mid-Summer’s Abbondanza & Mary Oliver

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July pond…Lightspring Glen

In the dark and drear of January, it’s summer days like this we dream of…..

Chalice Pond is a serene mirror of the woods here at Lightspring Glen, a gentle breeze is adding just the coolness needed for the day’s low-80s, (with the humidity blessedly comfortable so far ) fair-weather cumulus clouds are sailing their impossibly huge white galleons across the sky’s brilliant blue depths.  Given the news of terrible heat in the West of the continent, here in the Northeast we have been enjoying a most clement Summer with the (mostly) moderate complaint of too many rainy days. And in truth there’s been enough rainfall to cause some flooding problems, especially around the Great Lakes. But since we passed the Fourth, warm, beautiful, abundant Summer has arrived in its fullness so that now making sure to bring along the sunblock is at last a necessity. Continue reading “Lush…Mid-Summer’s Abbondanza & Mary Oliver”

Earth and Sky are Dancing – Summer Solstice 2017

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Below Richardson Hill, Willow Brook Watershed, mid-June 2017

And so the year’s Wheel has spun us gently from Winter’s cold and darkness through Spring’s gradually-lengthening days to June, sweet June. The Sun rose in the Solstice skies at 5:24 this morning, though with Richardson Hill to my east it was nearly 7 before its first rays touched the tree tops here at Lightspring Glen and shafts of golden light began to flicker down into the woods. The huge cumulus clouds sailing past are offering their counterpoint to the long, languorous hours of Grandfather Sun’s light on this Summer Solstice day. Tomorrow will be nearly the same as the sun-stands-still in the sky. Our ancestors knew this phenomena well and celebrated its annual return with fires and fine celebration. Continue reading “Earth and Sky are Dancing – Summer Solstice 2017”

April, come she will

DSCN5547When I woke yesterday, the first day of April, it was to light snow falling, the ground, trees, and woods once more arrayed in lacy-white. Here in these Catskill foothills, we’ve only recently emerged from the remnants of the Blizzard-named-Stella of three weeks ago that paralyzed a good deal of the Mid-Atlantic and New England for several days. Already quite Winter-weary, it was hard to keep from being discouraged at this newly-imposed, longer wait for Spring. There was a frustratingly slow dwindling of the several feet of snow. Finally by the end of last week rain reduced the snow drifts lingering around my house to only a few dirty white piles and in the woods the snow blanket showed signs of tattering at last. And then near dark on Thursday I opened the door to let the cat in and was greeted by the unmistakable notes of a robin tentatively offering his Spring song. I gasped with delight and hurried down the steps to hear it more clearly as it called twice more and then a last time. I breathed in the magic of it deeply, the first Robin-song of the year. Continue reading “April, come she will”