Tag Archive | flowers

Voices Call Me

Wildflower Ohio Spiderwort or Cornflower

Ohio Spiderwort

Sometimes I hear voices.

Sometimes these are

Earth voices crying

in pain, fear, grief.

Misunderstood,

the wild beings —

plants, animals,

minerals more —

scream in my head.

A few weeks ago, anger overwhelmed me when I heard the voices.

We had moved to the country, into the woods, so that we could encourage and, as necessary, cultivate a wild landscape around our home. For me it was about protecting and manifesting the gorgeous wildness of nature; for my husband it was to be significantly less maintenance (ultimately, we were planning for a landscape free from the need to use a lawnmower). For both of us, we desired quiet and solitude.

Then, my neighbor began “mowing the woods” across the road from our house (a swath a couple feet wide; the property was owned by a large farm, so neither mine or my neighbor’s), a place where wildflowers like Sweet William and Ohio Spiderwort and others show up unexpectedly … and delightfully. Not only was the mowing disruptive to the day, but I swear I could hear the voices of the wildflowers and other plants screaming their objections in death and dismemberment. I decided to protest his invasion of that particular space. He immediately became furious with me and the end of the conversation wasn’t pleasant.

This experience reminded me of a similar one in Maine where I was unable to protect the wild landscape. Our house there abutted a main roadway and, one summer, the county decided to widen the road. They cut down many large, old pine trees and destroyed a corner where we had lovingly planted a pretty Rhododendron, a gift from my father during an earlier visit. As they were cut down in their prime, I could hear in my head the pine trees shrieking.

I heard their voices, the lamenting and dying. But it wasn’t just this, I realize. After all, trees are cut for lumber and paper, plants are cut for food, etc.; the natural cycles of our world revolve around life, death, and rebirth. I give thanks each day for their gifts and honor their sacrifices. Here, it was the sheer lack of necessity, from my perspective, regarding what was being done that was so abhorrent. There was an added arrogant lack of respect for life and beauty within a wild landscape that I had chosen to protect and advocate for.

The mowing was simply because my neighbor didn’t like the looks of the wildness that edged our narrow, single-lane private road; it was partly this messy verdant landscape that had attracted us to this place. The widening of the road in Maine was simply to expand the shoulders; I’ve no idea why since it was a rural road used only by locals and in ten years never saw an accident.

In these two incidences, it was as if I felt the assault along with the trees, plants, and wildflowers. Maybe that’s why I heard the voices in my head. (I also acknowledge my own ego involvement, in that the mowing was an intrusion into what I considered my own personal space.)

Many botanical studies are confirming what indigenous populations have always known: that plants are sentient, they feel pain and pleasure, they consciously share resources. Plants may move and live in slow time, in deep time, but they are aware of life and death.

At times like these, I keep simple ceremonies.

May the spirits of the wildflowers and the other wild plants know that their seeds are welcome to settle in our yard. If I should ever need or desire to cull them, respect and gratitude will be extended to them.

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Trees and Dreams and Frames

MaineTreeRootsTrailReflections on songs and trees, dreams and frames …

I love this phrase in one of Carrie Newcomer’s songs: “I am the fool whose life’s been spent // between what’s said and what is meant.” I find it honest and humbling; that as a writer (or even simply in my vocal communications with others) I am seeking to convey the authentic me and, through that process of honesty, to recognize the other and honor their journey as well as my own. Whether the Other is human or more-than-human matters not; all are equal, vital, precious, for we all rely upon each other for  creating a vibrant — or tarnished — whole. The words can be perceived either as real reference or as metaphor, speaking of people or spirit, of Muse or Divine; they and we are interchangeable, depending upon each moment. A dream or a real moment?

When Newcomer sings the line, “There is a tree beyond this world // in whose ancient roots a song is curled,” I’m captivated by a deep knowing of this tree and song/story as both tangible and etheric. From the mythic Tree of Life beyond this world to the multiplicity of forest and woods harboring trees of mystery and diverse magnificence, that each tree has the potential to become ancient within its lifetime and containing the generational wisdom of all those who grew before it. When I next walk among the trees, will I see all the songs/stories nestled among the roots? Will they be whispering to me of what they’ve witnessed and experienced, the conversations they’ve heard of secrets because no one thought anyone was listening? Imagine if our world does exist upon an energetic template and that the “other world” is here in every moment? Imagine the energy flowing sweetly into feet, spine, heart as we hear the song of the universe?

Old dreams may not be meant to come true — perhaps they fulfilled their purpose by being unmet. Clinging to old dreams — the past is passed — doesn’t allow new ones to manifest. I write about old dreams, setting them free through stories, and thereby further my healing through knowing them on a deeper, higher level. People change; we all do, even if we resist seeing our change, because nothing remains the same. That’s a gift of hindsight. The one who desired the old dream is gone. Who is she now? Maybe parts of the dream remain the same, just as the innate nature of the person remains, but the composition has grown richer. It is a powerful experience to observe this, albeit scary at times.

The sand has shifted beneath us and as we rub the grit from the corners of our eyes, waking to the new day, our vision clears and our song is a fraction different, the breeze dances upon our skin with a fresh rhythm, and the taste of the orange peeking over the horizon is sweet again.

I slow down, ease up in chasing both day-dreams and night-dreams, opening instead like a flower that trusts this moment, knowing the dreams will reveal themselves to me when I cup my hands invitingly to catch them when they fall like mist-become-dew on delicate petals.

Being present does not necessarily mean one is to ignore the past or future but to be grateful for special days of remembrance and trust in plans for tomorrow. In another song of Newcomer’s, she sings to “frame my life by before and after.” Yet the frame is permeable and can be replaced or changed by the healing of our hearts so that what was tarnished is gleaming, what was chipped is mended, what was burnt is sanded and painted, what was deeply damaged is replaced with a new fragment from the gift of gratitude and forgiveness. We gather what has been scattered and create a charming, unique frame that shows our jagged journey to authenticity, love and wholeness … being a personal testimony to anyone who has been ashamed of their own raggedy, crooked frame.

The joy that is the background of my spiritual presence becomes more solid at the same time it is slipping away in the passage of this life, pouring through fingers that celebrate the river’s flow for what it is. The background of joy is the container for compassion and pleasure while holding just as much reverence for melancholy and death. This is the Divine within and surrounding me, holding my sadness and grief, transforming them when relevant into peace, happiness, and a little game of hopscotch being played by butterflies among the cosmos.

Flourishing Transplants

[the following is a rough-draft excerpt from my nearly completed manuscript titled “Desert Fire”]bougainvilleaagainsthosue One of several Desert Gifts is nearly year ‘round Bougainvillea blossoms! Is there any important difference between the gifts received by being in the desert and those gifts that are indigenous to the desert? The Bougainvillea is not indigenous to the Sonoran Desert (also referred to as Sonora) — it is a South American native though it has become naturalized here — yet its blooming provides great joy through color, profusion, vibrant energy … a transplant that has found a home here and relishes the arid climate, the heat as well as the cooler temperatures of winter’s onset. I am a transplant, too, and my infused creative energy can be mirrored to some extent by that of the Bougainvillea. I can’t remain for long in direct sunlight — unlike the Bougainvillea — but the autumn shifting brings forth a bounty of energy from me likened to the fresh, clean, bright, heather-weight bracts that laugh mischievously among their chaotic community. My recent research has helped me see Sonora through a softer, more accepting lens, to admire her and her Beings of all forms for their ability to thrive and dance! To acknowledge that she isn’t “out to get me” like a bandit who wants to rob me of my juiciness. Instead, she encourages me toward recognition of the need for self-nurture and self-realization of what I need so that I can flourish. Sonora was willing to play the devil’s advocate, to portray herself as the villain, until I could see that the true villain was inside me … my fears and insecurities and lack of self-awareness in certain qualities. She helped me see the wisdom of being able to live anywhere because to thrive comes from inside myself, not from external situations per se. Those without self-reflection can be destroyed whether they live in the blistering heat of the desert or on a tropical island ignoring the lava flowing straight towards them or in the north woods ignoring a tree that is crashing down. So, maybe it’s okay that the Bougainvillea bring me joy in them, myself, and the ability of Sonora to cause them to thrive. Which brings me full circle to my desire for travel, to wisely intuit when I need to go away to absorb the emotional and psychological nutrients I don’t have around me — just as the Archaic hunter-gatherers moved around. Finding my inner Wise Woman, she who guides me not to blame Sonora — or any other external factor — but to listen to how our frequencies sing together at different times. Are we discordant or harmonizing? When not in accord, do we need a little time away from each other? I had been resisting planting Bougainvillea in the courtyard because I didn’t want to encourage bees to be so close by … but does the joy of the visual flowering splendor outweigh the fear of the bees? I still retain a fear of bees though it’s nowhere near as intense as it used to be. Bees — fire, intensity, inflammation, heat, swelling, pain. Again, the fear of these things can constrict my breathing — my prana — more than anaphylactic shock would. A childhood wasp sting — and my bad reaction to it — seems to have elevated this fear of being stung, of having venom pumped throughout my system without my permission or any control over it. In turn, this also translates to my fear of scorpions, a separate desert topic in and of itself. Even mosquitos cause large red, itchy welts to rise up on my skin and stay a long time. My body and mind do not react well to fire … easy and frequent sunburns, severe headaches, photophobia, nausea from any kind of over-heating. That kind of fiery intensity easily overwhelms me. Combine this susceptibility with the hot flashes and night sweats of menopause and what happens? Ash results. However, Sonora reminds me to be self-aware, to either remove myself from exposure at its height or be sure to know the remedial scenarios to dissipate the heat, whether that is silence during an argument, drinking water in the shade, or simply remaining in my home-cave.  During the most intense fires of life, it does not do me — or anyone else — any good to go up in flames and disappear into the vastness of the desert, my bleached bones to be found later tossed around by coyote pups at play in the mirage of life. The key to all of this is knowing, accepting, embracing myself as a non-native of Sonora and reducing my expectations that I can be someone I’m not. Here, I’m a transplant, and my purpose requires a different approach, a different amount of fire — only a small amount of fire that is held gently, cradled close to my heart like a stone warmed to a sweet, moderate temperature that soothes and creates sparks in imagination and spinal fluid so that body and mind flow within the subterranean streams feeding all life in the desert. I say Grace … thank you, Sonora. How do each of us handle the Fire in our lives? Are we comfortable with intensity? Do we, in fact, relish the heat? Or do we shy away from the flames?

A Solitary Dancing Slipper

To admire the strong, the sturdy, the confident who grace the vast expanse of our experience and do not even notice when their time has past — is a wonder. Many flock to such a unique and gifted soul that does not hesitate to raise her face, high, chin tilted; tis her nature not her desire that carries her through that life, where mine is short or subtle cry escapes. She could no more be me, than I her, and if dwelling in her true nature she holds no bold proclamation of being “better than” for she bears a tremendous responsibility to all those who seek her out and beg of her essence in excessive quantities. To bee and butterfly she is Queen and her mantle could weigh heavily if she were not at ease in her own individuality, born to this, her duty, her vocation.

I do not want this, though I admire her qualities … her beauty, abundance, sweetness, praises sung to her that vibrate across the land. Look how long she has to live! Look how much she has to give! Devoted to those who bow in her presence as they redeem their devotions from her stores of energy.

Yes, she may grow earlier, stand stronger, give more, spread, be admired by all, living longer, and feel no defeat when felled in her own time. Yet, honest and praiseworthy though she may be, would be a shame if were no diversity.

singleLadySlipperSo let her spread in obvious profusion, and I in my hidden glen, a single stem of green wearing a pink slipper, shall dance unseen in dappled dim day and mellow moonlight while the air carries my essence, the rain and dew linger in my cup that allows a few in need to drink, a brief interlude I stand here swaying and then just as softly sink into the humus for another long, sweet sleep, thankful that a devotee held a chalice into which the unique essence of this moment and me could seep. I am become immortal, outside the bounds of time and space when in Gaia’s Grace, and known as both separate and One. Feel into Her — now. Do not wait, for my time, my nature, may not be the longest stranding or hardiest or sweetest, but I am vital if only to offer a solitary sip to a weary traveler in a hidden forest.

The poetry portal by Emily that led me into the above was:  Continue reading