May 30 Saturday Rain
wetness on the
Slept late, lying abed listening, birdsong and rain, the slur of the ceiling fan, the quiet light. Past eight before rising. Feeling slow, liquid, quiet as this rain, a little watery sun breaking thru thick cloud, heavy branches dripping…this cave of green, glistening.
The end of May. Season passing. I haven’t written a post here since early March. Suddenly its summer here in Missouri, school out, trees laden with green, gardens flourishing, snow-peas filling out in the vegetable beds, fledglings flown.
Noticing clouds. Remarking on clouds. Noticing my last post from March was a photo of clouds at sunrise. I’d forgotten that. Today again, noticing clouds, these attendant beings that move thru our world carrying our weathers.
In Annie Dillard’s wonderful little book For the Time Being she remarks about clouds, notices how artists and writers of centuries past have documented clouds. We can know what the sky looked like the day Constable painted that picture or the day in California John Muir wandered over the wild Sierras where the cumuli were “rising eastward. How beautiful their pearly bosses”. For some time now as I begin my journal page for the day I make note of the weather and the sky which I actually can’t see much of most of the year surrounded as I am by large leafy trees. The branches form a kind of window on the passing winds moving the sky eastward. The weathers come and move thru. Today for instance I write:
May 29 Friday…
Rain may be
Green upon green
Clouds like cotton-balls lit by rising sun against a baby-blue, a blue-bell blue sky. To the south fields of gray layered over paleness whisped, rising.”
Clouds have names my father tried to teach me. Cumulus, Cumulonimbus, Cirrocumulus, Stratus , Altostratus, etc. I never learned them well. Would it be better if I said Altocumulus than “cotton-balls”. Would you know what I mean?
The weathers of a day, the passing sky formations may or may not inform the way my day will go or the way I rise out of rainy dreams. Years to come if any of my descendents ever glance over these fading pages I’ve scribbled in for decades will know what the sky looked like at sunrise, that the air was still and the trees were lit with gold or roses or the pungent clouds in the east leaped up the sky like salmon in their homeward river. This will tell them it was a real day, a day on planet earth in a certain year in a season now shifting into the next. Wind blew or didn’t, the clouds brought weather or went their way dissolving into deeper sky. The way they have this morning, just now vanished.
Sometimes clouds build into wild violent, water filled beings, full of terrible winds bearing destruction in their passage, as in Texas this week. Clouds full of story that will be remembered for years. Sometimes clouds pass over thirsting landscapes full of needed water refusing to open, a tease from a stingy god.
I received a postcard poem from a woman in my writing group yesterday. Its about the swift passing of time. The last line says “How long have we got left?” That’s the thing about clouds, they move and change. We know that before Constable put down his paintbrush those clouds were changed or gone, as were Muir’s when he looked up from his diary, as are mine this morning. For the time being we have this day, this sky and then it and we will be changed, gone, dissolved into something else.
I love the winter view out this little window…the bare branches filling the sky, the sky lower on the eastern horizon where I can see the sun come up, see the colors flare and shift. It was Annie Dillard, I think, who said “God imbues the world like color”. If this is anywhere nearly accurate, The Divine forgot the Divine Self this morning and thoroughly drenched us in Being. The trees, whitewashed with yesterday’s snow, were flushed with it.
Sometimes, in the dark of the season, I am up in time to see a new crescent moon rising, or the morning star like a slow rising beacon behind the dark trees in that hour when the dawn twilight seems to rise out of the ground filling the air giving shape to the world.
Mostly its sky the winter brings. The clouds that are hidden in the lush summer months when the world is full of leaves. And the colors of the sunrise. In the winter I can follow the track of the sun as it rises…how it moves way south, then turns north again. I begin to know the period of it…from down there to the right of the big oak at the winter solstice, to up there behind the rooftops of the neighbor’s houses by mid summer. Today it is nearing the center point it will reach later this month.
This morning the brilliant flare didn’t last but a moment before the light paled again and turned silver over the snowy world, the sky overcast with broken cloud. The sun continues its arc that seems to lean slightly south as it moves up the eastern sky and the day begins.
I want you to meet another friend, Pat Tuholske, a magical, wise and courageous woman who owns 500 acres of land in central Missouri. Steeped in the traditions of both Celtic and Native American myth and medicine, Pat wildcrafts and makes wreaths and salves of native plants thru Willow Rain Herbal Goods, and she opens the hills and fields of her land to others for mystical encounters with the beautiful wild world. She calls her place Elemental Earthcamp. This is a recent post on her Nature Chronicle page:
As I bundle layers about me and go out for a late winter hike, I feel a magic in the crisp cold. There is a sharpness where things seem clearer. I am struck by the deep silence.
As I wonder the snowy hills and trails, the quiet is bone deep. My footfall crunching the frozen snow seems too loud. I stand, then sit to feel the silence as it penetrates all things. In silence you can perceive the whisperings of all possibilities. I listen a long long time.
A silent movement approaches. A bobcat soundlessly slinks along the edge of the woodland. Fifty feet away, he catches my scent. He raises his head, flicks his tail, touches his nose to my footprints, aware that something is different in his territory. Then he looks at me…. knowing I am not a tree, not a boulder, not a deer but a thing not usually in his domain. I slowly breathe once, twice, ten times.
The spell is broken and he backs away. I continue to silently watch as he navigates away taking a circuitous way through thick grass and brush. He breaks cover at the far end of the trail and continues on his way.
I am filled and blessed by encountering this amazing creature. This is a good omen. The best of signs for my current life challenge. I accept the gift of bobcat’s strength, awareness, and security in knowing my place.
Being born in winter, I feel the strength of my own inner fire burning most brightly when ice grips nature. The bobcat has stoked it to full flame. Winter and her creatures are a source of wisdom and inspiration. A world of snow and ice makes me feel grateful to be alive to witness this beauty and glory.
Winter’s splendor is embracing us for a few more weeks. On snowy days you can move more deeply into your soul and renew your spiritual journey. Wend your way through this last blast of winter and you will be blessed with an encounter that will thrill, awaken and guide you.
I long for that deep quiet. I love hiking in winter. Thanks for reminding me I need to prioritize that among all the busy-ness~~ Elizabeth
Beautiful experience. ~~ Kim
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing. You’re so brave! I am feeling inspired by this story. I love the connections between human and animal. ~~ Carrie
I want to share with you a magical collector and speaker of poems who is also a fine poet herself. Jan is sharing some of the poems that have been real medicine for her and her personal response to the poems. Give yourself the gift of a look.
Originally posted on Heart Poems:
The Journey by Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
to view the whole poem click here
This is from one of the earliest poems that helped give me courage to be more of myself, to save the only life I could save, as the final line tells us. Mary Oliver has continued to be such an important teacher for me.
View original 227 more words
all string and claw
fallen too soon
from the icy tree
tumbling out of
was not your death,
nor the cat’s mouth
that hauled you
our dark floor,
nor your fierce dash
for blind freedom
that dumped you
into that tub of water
with the force
of pure instinct,
nor the chase
to save you,
the cardboard box
we tucked you in
to keep you warm
that you escaped
before the night
was halfway thru…
no, it was
our unkempt mercy
in the forgotten trap
Out in the cold dawn
the world goes on
with its winter business
where there is
always loss enough
to hold this, too.
The ground is frozen so I bury the creature still stuck in the spider trap like a little stiff paper tent under the snow and the dry leaves – along with the decomposing body of a bird Alaya brought in dead weeks ago that I’d wrapped in a paper towel and left in the planter box by the back door. No ceremony for either one. Just a trowel and a shuffle of winter flotsam and my brief, heartfelt apology. What can I say that would take away the sharp edge between the animal and human world where we live, where they get the back hand of the deal more often than not? These aren’t great mythic or endangered creatures. These are simply the wild neighbors of my world and the least I can do for the least of these is mourn their small deaths. Sometimes, up against the awful risks of living, mourning is the best we can do to offer praise or say Thank You.