Garter Snake left something behind,
a lacy sleeve
of his diamond design.
Soft and fragile,
thin as a whisper.
He breached restriction,
peeled it away.
hooked by the log
inside out and in one piece
the tissue print laid.
Trusting each twist, every turn
Surrendered to the struggle.
I wonder how that feels
to wholly leave behind
all that will not grow with you.
Wet flesh of newborn knowledge
understanding’s tender spiral.
Shedding is both
quiet and beautiful,
skin and tears alike.
Garter Snake and I
both have reached this place
where we can be
stretched no further—
stretched no further.
I looked for him
among dead leaves
and smooth grass.
Perhaps he sought refuge
under dark undergrowth.
Restless as the forces of creativity
Garter Snake can’t be held still
or tight for long.
When stirred hidden passion glows
like embers buried in ash.
In this place—between skins
all of me
by creative energy.
All of me free.
Here grow the light,
live in the sunfields
when you can be stretched no further
leave something behind— leave something behind.
At a recent Native American gathering, a mouse tried to join the event. Quick thinking and actions by the person seated by he door prevented its entry. The incident brought to their mind a Mouse Spirit message from a previous gathering that was shared with everyone. Mouse Spirit had said, “I no longer want the cheese. I want to be free of the trap.” The wisdom is offered with no explanation. It is up to each individual to gain their own understanding.
Lessons can be learned but the understanding from what we learn leads to knowledge. The knowledge than gives us the natural laws to live by. The teaching walked with and around me for many days. As usual an understanding came in a quiet moment.
I interpret the baited trap Mouse Spirit speaks to as deception. Many Native American songs reference this. The songs tell us to; do it this way,secure our sacred pipes or we may be deceived. In simple terms, the sacred pipe symbolizes a connection to Creator for me. The traps are set when we disconnect from Creator. Through contemplative prayer we can re-establish and deepen that relationship. We begin to learn, understand, know and live spiritual truths. Within the unconscious of every human being is hidden spiritual truths. Given time and commitment they are revealed to you. Prayer is one method to attain them.
The bait is the powerful illusions of truth in this world that lure us into abandoning our connection to Creator and the spiritual truths that govern all life. At the present time, the illusion of truth is that we hate each other. When we act out from illusion (take the bait) great harm and suffering is created for all those concerned.
Love is the greatest power in the Universe. Not even death can conquer love. It is part of Mouse Spirit’s wisdom for me. The world is always trying to build a better mouse trap. Innovation has morphed into revolution. True change will happen when we learn to love those we do not love. An evolution of the soul. It’s not coming. It’s here.
A heart can only be deceived when it is separated from Creator. Hate trapped in the mind closes the heart; to Creator, to love. Hate is a mastermind of traps. It cannot be trusted. If you are unable to reconcile a belief in your mind with an authentic feeling in your heart, it is not truth. A
As it happened, the day Mouse Spirit’s wisdom unfolded, a mouse fell into the horses grain bin and was trapped. Mouse’s liquid black eyes told me to begin living the spiritual truth, to start small. With that Mouse was taken out to a far field to gather wild food or be food for the wild things. We may be on the cusp of a Universal soul evolution but it begins with yours. Start small.
Love is our truth.
The truth will set us free.
I watched you in silence.
Right there, a few feet in front of me,
hunkered next to a fading violet plant,
frantically scratching at the ground near it.
I watched the violet reluctant to release the earth clasp in its roots,
exposed and vulnerable, surrender inevitable.
Sharp teeth penetrate the tender white skin with ease.
I watched intently as you nibbled off tiny pieces.
Sickle shaped claws pushing, pushing,
forcing a place for another tiny bit, then another and another.
Was there no end to Chipmunk cheek capacity?
I watched you scamper off into the nearby woods.
I watch and learn
I am a student
I am being watched
I am a teacher.
Observer and observed,
I wonder what am I teaching?
I will have to wait and watch.
Summer’s breath has been hot and heavy these past few days like an agonizing slow exhale that is forecast to reach into next week. All day the heat’s stronghold builds. My bodies profuse sweating the lubricant that allows me to penetrate its walls.
As I halter up the horses, a faint breeze offers a welcome but fleeting respite from the oppression. The horses walk at a leisurely pace down the path towards the lush field of belly high grass. Not a wrinkle of worry on their brows. Every voluptuous curve on their form moves like a gentle rolling wave disappearing into the sand. Summer is a time of loose fullness. More than bodies soften.
Growing up we didn’t have air conditioning. My Mother used to tell us when the heat and humidity of the day carried into the night and kept us awake, it was because we could hear the corn growing in the fields. The grumbling over sleepless nights instantly turned into gratitude. The saying still holds true. All around in the heat of summer things are growing. Including parts of myself.
Every season offers us gifts. We need to learn from nature how to be in harmony with each season. It’s especially difficult during times of extremes when the human minds twist nature’s wisdom into whining. When Mother Nature is in control, stay in the flow. The challenge is to turn inside if something outside makes us uncomfortable. It’s how we were designed to grow—from the inside out.
Today I feel summer feelings (inhale).
Breathing it all in
Father Sky came down to kiss Mother Earth this morning
Reassured by the sacred union,
the hard worry in my heart softened.
The affection walked beside me around the field.
I let it inside.
Opened wide and deep,
my lungs embraced the cool moist air.
Momentarily I held its love,
Then gradually I released it to the life around me.
Going, going, gone.
I’ve returned home from a long walk
in Winter’s night
along the woodland’s dark edge
a place where shadows play with one’s imagination
Peaceful scents of pine escape from emerald green needles
enclosed in the wind’s frosty breath
drifting past my rosy running nose
Every last whiff I sniff
Covered by a moonbeam cloak of sequins,
the mesmerizing landscape twinkles in
the mind’s wide open eye
Wakened from a whisper on the wind
forgotten promises remembered
surely Winter, with its pure white heart,
would not be unforgiving.
Clear and cold, attention starved thoughts
a constant companion
no turning back now
I follow where they go
down and deep
up and away
Winter nights walk stillness inward
where I hear silence speak
in a soft slow voice
of wonderful things
Feeling warm, cozy and comfortable
I turn towards home
I’ve returned to my heart
As I walked toward the frosty field the crisp freshness of a mid-November morning burst open inside me. The moist air’s sweetness so thick I could taste it on the way in and out. I momentarily felt suspended in the energetic exchange. I felt the breath give me life.
Every breath we take has that sacred feeling within it. We simply aren’t aware of it. Isn’t it ironic that we were created to not give a thought about breathing but that we can’t go without a thought until we think about it?
With the next breath the feeling of aliveness was gone. I tried to get it back but my mind got in the way of my mindfulness. What to do but walk on and as Mary Oliver wrote, “Breathe it all in and love it all out.”
My thoughts wondered, perhaps this breath of air once crossed the sea or through the needle of a White Pine tree and now me. The wind on its timeless travel through the eons carries with it the gift of sacred motion and change. Each breath an invitation to the Spirits of the elements to re-establish a relationship with our soul center. To remember the earth and the stars lives in us. To remember life can change in an instant.
Created within our breath is the sacred space between being and becoming. Honor this place of wisdom by following the feeling of breathing. Breath your Spirit into the world. Let the wind of the soul travel through the Universe. Be inhaled by the cosmic lungs and exhaled into the Great Mystery. You are the breath of life
Rainy fall Saturdays put me in the mood to bake. It’s the rest year for our apple orchard but hidden among the Wolf River and Cortland branches I managed to find a five-gallon pail full. Enough for a batch or two of applesauce and a family favorite, Apple Cinnamon Cake. I don’t know of anyone whose dull spirit isn’t polished to a shine when the scent of apple and cinnamon greets them at the door of home. Perfect choice for the mood my relative, Weather, is in.
While the apple cake was baking, I decided to string up the onions I had laid out on the dining room table to dry for a few days now. I hang the onion string in my kitchen. Easy access and I think they are pretty.
I struggled with tying them at first. But then I began to tie them like my prayer ties. A loop knot slipped over each dried tip. Each onion is now a prayer for our family; good health and well-being, peace, joy, laughter, abundance, good relationships. I’ll probably wonder which prayer the onion I’m using is and cry while I’m wondering. The purest form of prayer is crying.
As I stood back to admire the onion prayer tie’s prettiness a teaching came. I’m going to have to use whatever onion is at the end of the string. No picking through them. Just like life you have to take it as it comes. One onion at a time. Layer by layer.
Early in its life a rabbit nibbled away the tender bark at the trunk base. Exposing a swath of naked wood, the length of a fully extended rabbit body nearly all around the tiny trunk. I did my best to care for the wound. No apples this year but she lived.
A late Spring cold snap brought snow. Delicate blooms fragrant and supple the day before were now vacant of scent. Frozen stiff. Some leaves anxious to begin again followed the sun’s subtle cue to unfold. The cold hardness of the world nipped the new growth. When touched the scarred tips disintegrated into a brown powder. The potential to taste pie crumbled like the dry brown leaf tip pressed between my fingers. I witnessed the vulnerability of opening. I witnessed how not to let the hardness of the world stop you from growing. No apples this year but she lived.
By all appearances last summer seemed to be the year we’d taste pie! July brought pests of biblical proportions, hell-bent on devouring every last tree in the orchard. The August sun melted summer’s green into the earth. Each day the mother tree struggled to continue her simple life. Beneath her laid the enormity of her sacrifice to do just that. Dozens of immature apples carpeted the ground. To sacrifice is to make sacred. I knew one day I’d harvest apples. The only question was when. The horses appreciated the taste of apple. No apples for pie this year but she lived.
Last week I made two pies with apples from the Prairie Spy tree in our orchard. As I peeled and sliced the sweetness of life in my hands, I reflected on the tree’s many teachings over the years. What I saw was pie. Potential In Everything life takes from us to give us what we need to grow.
And that first bite…heaven never tasted so good.
Night bleeds from day’s break
Brilliant color stains the sky
Darkness keeps secrets