Emerge

Emerge from the fog.
Merge with the mist.
Appear in dream.
Disappear at dawn.

Elusive,
secretive,
unsure
if the call has been heard,
if the presence will be heeded,
if the images can be held.

Waking from the wandering of sleep,
rising from the repose of night,
aware of the new day
away drift the words
given as the lights went out.

The head goes down,
the eyelids close,
the body refuses
to respond to the
desire, need, demand
to record the words,
capture the idea,
harness the images
before they drift away
slip beyond the gate of memory,
lost to the dark
of restless sleep,
fretful waking.

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It’s the small things

As is quite usual for me, it’s the small things that seem most to mark my days. Yes, I am aware of larger patterns and shapings, but they are not so immediate until they are. The little things though, well they are there and not always for long.

They catch my attention,

draw my eye,

Wee toadstool

change my whole plan and framing of a day.

It happened several times this week, I paused to look carefully. I spent the time to look very closely to see if I could take some photos I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for days that feel like weeks due to my frustration. But in the last week I got the photos.

            

Doing so was an exercise in patience and perseverance, in gentle negotiation with my subject, battling the wind and rain, and plain dogged determination to succeed if I could. To prove something to myself. About myself, maybe. About my place in the greater scheme of things, perhaps. And, just possibly none of these.

The one incident that stands out, however has to do with a moth. I was walking down one of the streets I take frequently to get away from the village far enough to have a long view of the countryside and not hear the roar of traffic. I came upon a moth in the middle, smack dab in the center of the road. I did not feel I should leave it there, since it did not stir as I approached I knew something was amiss.


I gathered it up gently and began a relationship that lasted nearly an hour, which I imagine for a moth is a very long time.

I could tell it was letting go of its life, having sustained an injury. So I spent some time trying to listen for what it wanted me to do. If it had any last wishes. I tried a few times to put it on a sturdy branch or a wall, but it would have none of it. We went to one of my favourite looking out places and I leaned on a fence and held it to see the wide sky and the fields, it wanted to do that again.

I walked slowly, for though I had errands to do, this was suddenly much, much more important. It did not mind me taking photographs of it in my hand, which was not easy given the shape of my camera, even though it’s one I can comfortable hold in my hand. The shutter, well they used to be called shutters anyway, was on the wrong side. With a bit of hand gymnastics I was successful.

We visited the Hazel and Rowan trees I commune with and one of the Willows. We walked down a sheltered lane with the hedges grown full and high — the cleavers and cow parsley taller than me. The bees were at work in the vetch. The sun was not shining and it kept threatening rain, but I walked on with my companion. Eventually, it became clear that it wanted to go to an Elder tree. I went past several, but I knew the one it wanted. We made our way there, and I plucked a red clover on the last bit of the walk. I knew we were about to say good-bye.

All the time we were together I could feel its clingy, delicate feet on my finger and palm of my hand. I looked carefully at its markings, at its face. It was so downy. I wondered how it managed to fly and land. I wondered how it perceived its reality. As an animist I knew it had its own wisdom and sentience, and more importantly it had a soul and ineffable spirit, somehow and some way.

When we got to the end of our shared journey, I placed it on the top of a tall wooden gate post that reached into the particular Elder tree to which we had been bound to make our way together. I placed it carefully on the post, and put the clover with it. The moth seemed contented. I thanked it for its company and sharing a small portion of its life journey with me. I did not look back. I spoke an intention/prayer that its onward journey be as it was meant to be, but painless and swift as might be.

The way back to the road where we met was a lonely walk. Such a small being took up so much space in my heart for about three quarters of an hour, but it could have been eons for all I was aware at the time. Only when we parted did I re-enter the flow of regular, mundane time. And I have no issues with mundane time. But to have those moments of extra-ordinary time are precious. If all our time was spent there we would not have the same appreciation of those instances of exceptional rarity and wonder.

The rest of that day before and after my encounter with the moth were filled with frustration, taking far longer than it should have, with far more bother to achieve the two main tasks of the day. Those tasks were supposed to be the really important ones — I know now they were not.

The Embrace

Friday was a revelation . . .

I was walking to the weekly Coffee Morning at the local Methodist. I left early and walked the ‘back way’, that is on the footpath beside the fields. It was sunny and not too warm yet.

The birds were singing,

bumblebees humming,

and the scent of May flower

Mayflower 1                Mayflower 2

and the first gentle wafts of elderflower floated on the air.

Elderflower

All of a sudden I was swept up in the glorious feeling of joy and elation at being, at being alive, at being able to walk this path, at being able to see the beauty, at being aware of so much that I could not see, or smell but could perceive going on around me and beneath my feet.

I smiled. I nearly wept, as I am as I recall that experience — my eyes mist and misted over with tears.

Delight. Wonder. Enchantment. Love . . . yes love. Not the mushy kind we often feel for each other. But a deeper and more profound love, that of the Awen, the Source, the Knowers, the Patterners reaching out to embrace me. To hold me in their familiar and yet utterly different, I hesitate to say alien, embrace. Not the embrace of desire as we normally understand it, but desire nonetheless — the desire that I should know and feel the presence of that which flows through and enables all life and living, everywhere and everywhen. The desire that I should experience this in a new way, that I was ready to know and feel this, that I was strong enough, open enough, willing enough to take it on, take it in and be taken on, taken in by it.

It was a moment, broad and protacted, out of time. I still feel it in remembering. It is the most profound such experience I have ever had. And my response was gratitude. It reinforced my understanding that living the Druid path for me is in part about reverence and gratitude and humility. I was awed by what my senses picked up. The smallest thing had the greatest meaning. There was no insignificance anywhere. It spread out from me, the awareness. It was living through Aslan calling all being from himself at the creation of Narnia, standing beside him as life came to be. It is a passage I have always loved, and in some miniscule way lived with him in an instant. I was suffused in grace and bathed in wonder. Everything around me pulsed with life, I could almost see, and certainly sensed, felt the threads of the Awen weaving us all together — one being, one life, One.

The experience changed me forever. It renewed and refreshed and remade me. I do not have words, though I have tried to find some for this sharing. I was given this gift without nearly dying first, and I am also grateful for that.  I take nothing for granted, offer only gratitude.

The Spirits of the Land Whisper

The Spirits of the Land whisper to me. Today. Many days. Most days. I try to walk softy, I attempt to tread gently. Yet, it feels like each step has the potential to disrupt, although that is in no way my intention or desire.

I make my way carefully off the road. The field is muddy, the footpath slippery once more. There has not been much rain, by comparison, but the water table here in Somerset remains far too high, even where I am relatively high on the edge of the Levels. I listen. I stop. I breathe quietly, expectant. Straining for some indication the communication will resume, now only a hushed silence fills the space within me, beyond me.

Then just at the edge of my awareness, I catch the faintest whisper again. I keep moving through the lengthening grass, thick and green. Beside me the hedgerows of holly and hawthorn, gowned in flowers bursting forth, are edged with cow parsley lace. There are slashes of blue, pink and yellow from bluebells, red campian, the first buttercups and swathes of dandelion. In this riot of growth I strain to hear what the Land has to say to me.

I continue on. I continue to listen. I keep trying to absorb the sounds that follow, or lead, the sights. Whispers. Whispy echoes. Did I hear a sigh just then? Perhaps it was a soft whimper. Am I trying too hard today? Am I not trying hard enough?

I try to discern what the Spirits of the Land are attempting to communicate to me. And, perhaps, it is as simple and complex, as easy and difficult as: Tread gently always, all ways. 

But, can I do that each time I open the door and step over my threshold into the world? I wonder. Sometimes I am in a hurry, determined to be somewhere else, to do something else. Can I, do I, tread gently then, when I am not really paying sufficient attention, on those days when I am not as attentive as I am today? Can I, do I, even listen for the whispers then?

Or, are those the times when they shout: Careful, child. Be mindful and aware, for you are called to care, have the capacity for caring, are burdened with cares.

At those times, when I am chided, reminded to slow my pace, I may come upon an earthworm either struggling in a puddle or as the pavement heats up on a sunny day covered in grit. I stop. I gather it up. I walk to the nearest grassy bit and place it there. Or, I find in my path a stalled bumblebee, scoop it up and seek out a fuel flower to revive it. Another time I will refuse to crush a tiny snail or squish a slug, as I see so many have done already, and find a place for it away from anyone’s garden.

These are actions I do not because I can, I do them because I must. If I try to walk on and not stop, invariably I end up turning around and doing what I must do.

In these instances, I share a moment of my life with a small being  who is radically different from me. A small being whose way of life and of being I doubt I could ever fully understand. What I can share with it is that we are related by being alive and ensouled and inhabiting together the spaces of our living.

The actions I take in such instances are barely perceptible in the huge scheme of existence, but are part of it nonetheless. They are assistance given to those who have no understanding of gratitude, as humans understand the concept, and are unable to say thank you in any case — or maybe I’ve just not learned understand their languages yet. And that is the point for now, too, for they are actions for no tangible reward whatsoever. These small acts of kindness, however, expand my soul, fill my heart and unleash joy. I have, until I type these words, thought that these responses came about because neither notice can be given nor gratitude expressed by those I have aided. But as I listen now to the Deep Wisdom of Being, those sensations may well be the manner in which I perceive how they communicate that they noticed, that those feelings are the way their gratitude is expressed.

In the space or writing a paragraph, I radically changed what I perceive as ‘speech’ or communication from quite different beings. I did not rewrite it on purpose after I listened and reflected; I am allowing to to stand as a witness to an amendment in my understanding. What I have just learned changes everything. It alters my understanding forever. And, although I am sitting on my sofa, with my laptop, I can sense the Spirits of the Land nodding in approval.

The Spirits of the Land shout: Slow down. Give care, be caring. The Spirits of the Land whisper: Perceive through my Sensing. Work with my Knowing. Live by my Wisdom.

The Spirits of the Land whisper, whisper, whisper.

The Spirits of the Land teach me. Sometimes in neither a shout nor a whisper, but in silent resonance. It is my task to listen, to be attentive, aware and open.

Today, the Spirits of the Land whispered . . .