Thursday, September 6, 2012

Songs Without Words/ A Day with the Mosses


A day came when I had things to do... but when I stepped into the garden and 
felt the sparkling sunshine and listened to the high-summer buzz, a deeper need 
sent me to the forest. Drum in hand and small friend by my side, I set out along 
the path. I thought maybe to walk to the whispering stone, or the faery pool, but 
not far into our journey, I bent low and stretched out on a patch of moss amongst 
trees and mountain laurel. Drizzle the day before had set the mosses a-glow and 
nearby in the clearing, a gathering of dragonflies darted this way and that, silvered 
wings flashing by. 



Far off a raven squawked, and all around the rhythmic chirping of crickets
comforted me. I'm not quite sure why cricket songs are so soothing to me - 
the constant hum brings me to a quiet, listening place. 


Lying on the mosses, looking up at the sky, I listened for a long, long time. It is 
so absent of human-made noise here, that one can truly sink into dreaming and
remembering...





After a time, I sat up, gathered my drum and my voice and my deep gratitude for 
this place and sang songs of trees and mosses and dragonflies and wind. Closer now, 
the raven answered and wondered, I'm sure, about this strange woman who sings 
songs with made-up words, more sounds than language... or maybe I am singing 
in that ancient tongue - you know, the one that is spoken of in the old stories, 
from a time when humans and animals shared a language, and knew better how to communicate. Perhaps the raven knows what I am saying, even if I do not. 




When finally it was time to return, I noticed, as I always do, how the quiet 
listening, the drumming and singing and dreaming had shifted me. In 
my expanded awareness, stones and trees and creatures each spoke to me with
their particular forms and gestures. Maybe this is the communication the old 
stories tell of. Perhaps the language is not lost, but it is a language of the senses
that is not spoken, but felt - mumbled to us by the shape and texture of a stone, 
the particular bend in a tree, the flash of light on dragonfly wings. 





74 comments:

  1. Beautiful - thank you for sharing with us. Know a bit how that is - those shifts of awareness in the forest, or on the salt water paddling at dawn sometimes for me. Holy moments when all is changed! Lucky you to have moisture in the forests. The west is having a real hot dry summer and still no sign of rain at all. Wild wind last night tore through town , just at dusk chasing its tail, tossing branches whipping up dist storms, bringing down a tree here and there. I hoped for rain on the wings of the wind but nothing. Wildfire season.

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    1. I can imagine dawn on the water - definitely a Holy moment! We had a drought, too here, that seems to have shifted a bit, enough so that things might not die in the garden. I have a well and need to be careful about watering... so I only water enough to keep things alive. Its a sad year in some parts of the garden, cause the plants are not flourishing. But the forest only needs a little bit of water to enliven the mosses... it seems as of this week, however, that the rains have come back for sure. Dry wind sounds dangerous in wildfire season... hope you get rain soon!

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  2. I can so much understand the feelings when you are in the forest. I also went there little less than one month back and posted pictures of moss and trees and pine cones in my blog... I call forest "magical", as it is magical!

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    1. Hindustanka, yes, it is definitely a magical place for me, glad you share that feeling!

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  3. What an incredibly moving post. Your photos are magnificent...I thought the cat a bobcat in that first one. Your forest is exquisite.

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    1. HI Jennifer - thanks .... and, yes, Pasha is sometimes bobcat like, sometimes lynxy, and I have seen a bobcat here, that was an amazing moment when, while sitting in the garden, a movement caught me eye. I turned and was eye to eye with a bobcat not 8 feet away. We stared, but I then wondered where Pasha was and turned slightly. It was as if - POOF- the bobcat was gone. It didn't leave, run, walk, it was just - gone. Amazing!

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  4. VA- what a beautiful celebration of light, trees and mosses - you mud have felt very connected to your surroundings. A lovely way to be. Go well. b

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    1. Hi Barry - I love your spelling mistake - that I "mud have felt".... I like mud as well as mosses! But, yes, its a practice of mine and one I invite others to experience. My thought is the more folks feel this way, the better the chance of surviving as a species!

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  5. I think the things around us do definitely speak to us - when I walk in the woods I feel connected and the trees feel as alive and solid as a person standing beside me. You do have some lovely thoughts going on here - I feel we would be friends if we lived by the same woods. Bettyx

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    1. HI Betty, I have always felt this way about trees - and stones - especially large stones... some folks think I'm a bit odd, glad I'm not alone!

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  6. Thanks for sharing I wished I was walking with you for real..but this will have to do...

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    1. Hi Laura - viritual reality has its place, but of course there is nothing like a full-sensory experience!

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  7. If only we could all remember how to listen!

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    1. The world might be a very different place... ! We might all be having such a good time!!

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  8. wandered here as ever (not always visible) dreaming mossy dreams, feeling cat eyes caressing my face...
    thanks!

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    1. Hi Yvette - he's a dreamy kind of cat....

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  9. Dear One...going walkabout with you through the forest is serene and peaceful. Seeing what you see in your sacred space leaves me wistful as I no longer have a forest to walk through (by way of relocating.) I remember those times so well...and now are part of my DNA. Being at one with the trees, the vegetation, the stone people, the flying ones is as close to Holy as one can get. I 'hear' you when you say, you sing to the wild ones in their language, our original language. We can hear it when we sit still long enough to open our 'being'...our heart. Even now here in the city I do the same. I've been called crazy many times and just do not care, lol. I'm the Stone Woman or Bird Woman and sacredly so. :)
    Thanks a million for the opening of senses and your beautiful photos and words.
    Radiant Blessings...
    Akasa

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    1. Hi Akasa - thanks for the long, thoughtful comment! Luckily I have enough "crazy" folks in my community that I don't really stick out, phew! Glad to offer some forest medicine for you.... I left the city and don't think I could ever go back....

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  10. Ah such a beautiful meditation thank you Valerianna & Pasha cat, a fine breath of the far north east on this warm spring morning here in the Land Down Under where the heady scent of jasmine in full flight is making the whole city feel all frisky and all alive-e-oh!

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    1. Ahhhhh, Jasmine - one of my favorite scents! Used to bring a bouquet a night home when I lived in Greece. I'm ready for a change in weather, its summery here today and I'm ready for fall!

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  11. Beautiful... thankyou for sharing such deep and spiritual wanderings, the forest is looking so alive and idyllic... when I first saw your drum I thought for a moment it was the moon, its looking very much like the moon in a later photo too...

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  12. My first attempt at a comment was gobbbled up! But just to say thankyou for sharing such deep and spiritual wanderings... inspiring and beautiful, and the forest is looking so alive... when I first saw your drum for a moment I thought it was the moon! Very moonlike shadows dancing across its pale face in the other photo too... it has presence...

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  13. oops its me again!! Just thought I'd add that on having a closer look at the photo of your beautiful drum, I see a definate shape of a stooping bird in its shadows, perhaps with something in its talons... it really is a very beautiful instrument :)

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    1. Hi Carrie - thanks for all yoru comments! The first one didn't fly away, though maybe you thought it did... anyway, I left it cause it was a bit dif. than the next.
      That photo is titled "Drum as Moon"... so, you got my intention! I'll take a look for the bird shadow, thanks. I really enjoyed playing with the drum and shadows when taking these photos. Be well!

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  14. Beautiful, so descriptive. I feel like I'm there. Thank you for this.

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    1. Wish you were... I imagine a walk with you would be just the kind I take - slow with a lot of looking, or listening!

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  15. Gorgeous photos.

    This is my most favorite thing to do - go out into the forest and listen. The creaking of the great trees in the wind is amazing.

    ~ Zuzu

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    1. Ahhhh.... here its the wind through the hemlocks, like deep breathing. Lovely and breezy today, lots of wind=breath in the trees.

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  16. a felt language. opening up to that, mosses...a good woodswalk.

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  17. I feel a sense of coming home when I'm in the forest. Your post takes me home.

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  18. i know that pasha understands...
    v - this post had the effect of making the top of my head tingle and my feet feel firm... it is a feeling i deeply appreciate - the lightness of the soul and the grounding of the body, balanced in that moment and made very much aware...
    your world is so beautiful, but the world really is and you share the gift of encouraging us to pay attention to our own surroundings...
    thank you -

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    1. Maire - interesting bodily response! I think my visual art - and here, visual storytelling - has always been about inviting others to see their surroundings more deeply... I'm happy you experience it that way!!

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  19. Oh i loved this post valerianna, i can feel the joy in your words, feel the moss under my feet & the vibrations & the stillness in the air, the listening. It makes me long to take myself outside again into my deep woods here & loose myself in the beauty of it all. I love that you are speaking in ancient tongues x Yes "corag" was my recommendation, Im so pleased you are enjoying it, it is intense, but i adored the heart touching descriptions of the landscape & mother natures bounty & Corags life amongst it all. Ingo is a young adults series and much lighter. Can I ask what was the name of the book that part of was set in Kirkcudbright? x

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    1. Hi Ruthie, I hope you went deep into the woods to melt into the beauty! I, too am so enjoying the descriptions in corage, such incredible writing... but, alas, so intense. Makes me grateful for the century I live in and the place.

      The other book is "Winter Sea" by Susanna Kearsely. If I remember correctly, Kirkudbright is in there. Its an historical novel, a bit of a romance. I really enjoyed the scenery in this book, too. It flips back and forth between contemporary times and right at the Jacobite uprisings.

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  20. Just returned from a brief family holiday, and after this gorgeous post, feel like I've had a second and perhaps...no certainly...more relaxing one. I agree that the old language is not lost, perhaps we just have to listen with more than our ears, hear with more than our minds, and sing with more than our tongues.

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  21. Oh I did read this beautiful post earlier and must have gotten waylaid or had to dash before commenting... this is so delightful to read Valerianna!
    I was filled with awe and stillness to find myself drawn in to this magic world without sounds of the frantic man-made world reaching you... and even me for a moment.
    Have always loved moss and felt it something special indeed to come across mos growing. Where I am now its not something I see!
    thanks for the peace of your world which you bring so beautifully to us here!

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    1. Hi Sophie, moss is deep medicine for me, it is ancient and amazing and I'm still learning, really, about what it is that is so healing about it for me. When I first moved here, I had a flash in a moment in the moss garden that mosses had healing properties to cure all of mankind's diseases. Hmmm, I thought, that's something to research. I looked into it here and there within the Native American herbal lore and did, indeed, read this very thing. But unfortunately, the thing was stated in a sentence and then that was it. So, still pondering it.

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  22. today is a day like this. here.

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  23. it is crucial for each of us who can to go There and
    as you have, come back to tell

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    1. I'll admit, sometimes I don't want to come back....

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  24. How vibrantly green and fresh and peaceful everything looks. I can only imagine how your soul drinks it all in. :)

    Hi Pasha!!

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    1. Hi Sandra! ( from Pasha)

      It was peaceful and organized - sort of - until the big winds and rains came, flattening the garden and blowing branches this way and that... a bit dishevled out there now, but even more green and fresh.

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  25. lovely to take this journey with you ~

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  26. Lovely that you have translated that other language into this one! And that second to last picture of Pasha is wonderful.

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    1. Hi Jodi - I like that pic of Pasha, too... shows off his "ostrich feather" tail as its been called.

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  27. So beautiful, so good to read this, your singing there will take me to my wild soothing places here

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    1. Blessings to you, Barbara... and wild wishes.

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  28. coming back to this post which speaks so eloquently with the language of trees...

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  29. Popping in to say hello Valerianna and loving the mossiness and forest views. Different of course to what I am finding here in the wet tropics ... lovely to be surrounded by trees ... will watch out for moss and take a pic if I see something worth sending you!
    Good creating!
    S

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    1. I think the one thing my father misses about gardening in Florida, is that he can't grow moss!

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  30. your loving drumming permeates the forest and becomes a part of everything that is there.
    Best wishes for a blessed Autumn!

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    1. Yes, I guess it does! I wonder if the reverberations will be recorded in the tree rings?

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  31. I can almost enter the hush through your narrative... wish I could have lain down on the moss and listened to your song and expanded along with you.

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    1. deemallon - glad you felt the hush!

      And thanks for reminding me of the cricket songs below, I used to have that bookmarked, but, alas, I forgot about it!

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  32. also, this blog, which I enjoy, has a cricket song that I think you will find amazing --

    http://womanwithwingsblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/cricket-moonday.html

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  33. Hi, I happen to stumble upon your blog. We both have a cat named Pasha, and they are look-alikes!

    Have a nice day!
    Ani

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  34. valerianna - I have nominated you for a Readers Appreciation Award... you can head over to my blog to see details.

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    1. Thanks Dee- sorry not to have followed through on this... much has been on hold at present.

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  35. I love your ideas. Thanks for sharing. I did learn a lot from your blog. Nicely done. God bless you.

    Accountant Fort Lauderdale

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  36. Hi! from Spain. thank you for sharing your photos and watercolors. i love them. help me to appreciate more the honest simplicity of some colors and shapes. thank so much!

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    1. Hola Lola - thanks for the feedback, glad you like the images here.

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  37. Oh, please write more.

    I know this feeling. It's so very good to know that someone else knows it too. Bless you.

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I love reading your comments and sometimes I'm good at responding right away, sometimes not! Glad you had a wander here, I hope you found the mossy path soft on your feet and heard the call of the Raven.