Jan. 2: Winter Woes
Today it snowed, and although the inner child in me is bursting with delight I’m also deeply aware that the rapid changes in weather patterns are the result of climate collapse.
On January 1st, here in the piedmont it was 78 degrees. It was so warm and humid that I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. On January 2nd, the temp was around 70 and we had heavy Spring-like thunderstorms through the night causing power outages in the area and flash flooding. Within hours that thunderstorm turned into a snow storm, turning a January summers day into a winter wonderland. It’s confusing.
Over the past several days we’ve been finding beautiful carpenter bees dying, some still attached to dead flower heads. I’ve seen rat snakes and turtles soaking in the sun. I’ve heard crickets and frogs in what should be the dead of winter. Silence is important to the psyche this time of the year.
Nature tracking and bioregionalism is a big part of our work because when we lead human-centered lives we often miss the subtle yet important messages that nature is communicating.
Last night we hosted our first Lunar Wisdom Circle and it felt so right to honor the first new moon of the year. It was a strong way to set the tone for how we want to be in relationship with the more-than-human world this year.
Jan 8: Sitting with Fire
We’re entering the second week of January and I’m sitting by the pond’s edge having my first fire of the year. I’m going to use part of my time to practice a meditation method called discursive meditation. Here’s a link to learn more if you’re interested. Instead of focusing on a particular theme or topic, I’m going to instead meditate on the essence of fire and begin by inviting the Spirit of Fire to teach and guide me.
I sit with the sensation of fire for 20 minutes, allowing the flow of thought and imagery to suffuse my mind. I immediately feel arousal and activation within my sacral chakra. The wind blows and I can hear the flames pick up speed. There is an obvious relationship between air and fire, air being of the mind/mental realms and fire being of the creative life force/erotic realms. This leads me to the importance of imagination and how we use our mind to awaken fire and passion. If my mind is stagnant and caught up in old ways of thinking, then no doubt my overall vitality and creative life force is suffering. Wind brings with it fresh air and new perspective; it shakes up that which is stagnant and stokes the embers into flame, inspiring new life and energy.
How does your mind get in the way of experiencing life's vitality?
Jan. 10: The Moon Is Calling
Tonight as I lay in bed, I recognize a restless energy keeping me awake. It’s a familiar feeling that I often ignore. It feels like something is pulling me or calling me into the night, an inner prompting to go outside into the dark to sit with myself, the stars, and the moon. I don’t always follow the call because you know… warm cozy blankets and all - but alas, tonight I did.
Now more than ever, I feel the importance of listening to and honoring such intuitive promptings, even if it means getting out of bed and venturing into the cold. I’m so glad I did. I am reminded of how nourishing it feels to be alone in the dark, to settle my body enough so that my inner self has space to breathe. In the business of waking life sometimes there just isn’t enough time to fully BE and to connect with the great mystery and wonder of life.
Laying beneath the shining ones all I could imagine was the distance and space between us - how unfathomable it is - this life is. How precious these moments are. When I arrive at this place beyond cognitive understanding, it is here where I sense the sacred presence and Spirit of Life, whom I bow to and utter my prayers and longings… to live more boldly and beautifully.
All at once I know myself to be a child and a lover of life, a mother and warrior. I know the gift and blessing of each breath and that NOW is where the magic happens. NOW is where I have power to shape change. As I complete my prayers and shedding of tears, a bright star streaks across the sky. I am heard. I am affirmed.
The moon calls,
But do you listen?
She speaks to you in your restless stirring,
Your pacing mind,
And the worries that keep you from sleep.
The moon calls,
On the nights you like awake in bed.
But do you listen?
Go into the darkness,
Enter into the embrace of the one who calls.
Don’t second guess it, just get up and go.
The moon calls,
But do you listen?
Jan. 15: Tiny Sounds Make for Respite
I’m sitting at the edge of the Club Creek along the Tar River in Rougemont, NC - a beautiful rural area not too far north from where we live. We’re staying at a place called Respite In The Round, which is a two-story treehouse turned land-based retreat offering individuals and small groups a place for rest, connection, creative making, grounding and vision-setting.
I am sitting elevated at a point along the embankment where two water pathways converge. Sitting still and quiet, closing my eyes in meditation, I hear it first before I ever see it.
The faintest of sounds…
the tiniest song…
I know it might seem impossible to believe, but it's true. I listen closer. I can hear the faint sound of rustling dry seed heads of Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) as a soft breeze comes through… but I am noticing a sound even tinier than that. Snowflakes landing on crispy leaves. It’s honestly hard to find the words to describe it. If you can imagine a chorus of butterflies clapping, or the sound of birds blinking, or even a field of grasshoppers kissing… this is the sound I heard! A tiny sound indeed.
The snow is coming, and in fact it’s already on the way. I hear the skies whisper in the leaves.
And now in the distance, the call of the Kingfisher
gliding above the pond where we passed by last night under the bright light of the waxing moon,
where we heard the thunder of a Heron’s wings
as they lifted themself away from the edge where it had been resting,
disturbed by our oncoming presence.
We laid there in the grass gazing into Her glowing face.
Respite In The Round resides within Occaneechi Saponi territories and shares the land with @handewafarms - an Indigenous, women-led farming collective whose ultimate goal is for future generations to be inspired to connect with the Earth and its natural medicine.
Come taste it for yourself… steeped in love and community and intentionality. Slow down enough and you’ll receive the medicine you need - spirit whispering to you through the quiet breeze, flowing waters, moonlit glow, sway of the trees, and the good humored nature of sweet old rabbit.
Please go and visit. Give yourself the gift of quiet, slowing down, & time to simply be.
Jan. 21: Tracking!
Spent the morning romping through the woods looking for tracks! Snow gives us such a wonderful opportunity to learn in greater detail who is among us on this land we call home.
We’re excited to be learning from the talented @wildlifewithaspen who is teaching us her tracking tips. We’re specifically on the lookout for coyote tracks and hope to set up some cameras in order to locate their den. More on that to come!
In the meantime, notable tracks spotted today include rabbits, red fox, grey fox, deer, turkeys, and perhaps even coyote though in order to be sure we’ll have to measure the stride.
Hope y’all are enjoying the snow and having your fill of winter fun!!
Jan. 21: Animal Memorial
We laid to rest this tiny friend yesterday whose warm body we discovered at the base of large glass doorway. I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I had seen this one in flight or heard their voice as part of the land’s collective song.
The morning was quiet, as though a somber silence hushed over the land, and still the glory of the sun shone brightly, bathing this little one in warm golden light.
I collected some pine and cedar greens to make a bed where they could rest, and placed seven pine cones around the bed. The number seven to represent rest/sabbath and pine cones to symbolize regeneration. Finally, I placed a large quartz stone on top to hold the memory and intention of this moment.
Rest In Peace, sweet cardinal. It might seem like you are just one of countless, anonymous cardinals here, but we see you and honor you in your death.
It’s easy not to see. It’s normal to walk or drive by a dead animal and ignore them. It takes courage and care to stop and notice. For quite some time we’ve been following the inspiring work of @amandastronza who creates beautiful memorials for dead animals. Imagine if we all took the time to do such things? How different our world would be.
She says, "My intention and hope in creating the memorials is to give attention and respect to the animals I find, as individuals, as whole beings who had lives of their own. I want to notice them, see them, really see them, not just as “dead animals.” Not as objects. They share the world with us. They once had beating hearts and memories, fears and follies. They had families. By creating beauty from their deaths, I hope to help us all see them.”
If you don’t already, be sure to follow Amanda! I also encourage you to begin a practice of “seeing” our beloved dead. Every time you pass a dead animal, actually SEE THEM and allow yourself to feel it. Let your heart break open because in the words of Joanna Macy, “The heart tht breaks open can contain the whole universe.”
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Read our Earth Stories from December!
Yours in wonder & beauty,