Saturday, April 23, 2011

Late April Mist

"Two Hemlocks", ink & watercolor (listed in the shop)

Yesterday I gave some thought to what today's post might be, but the unfolding 
of the day took me in other directions. I opened my eyes at dawn to hemlocks 
heavy with snow. By mid-day, thick mists had settled into the forest. 

I took a short morning walk around the garden, sliding on slush and sinking into 
mud, and noticed the daffodils bent to earth. 

The first load of next year's wood was delivered, and yesterday I moved the pile 
back to make room for one more load. It was dry and ready to stack in the shed, 
until today that is. A few sunny days will be enough to dry it out again so I can  
stack it for winter. 

It was surely a morning for a long warm-up by the wood stove. Pasha was 
in and out, often curling on his little rug by the fire between cold outings in  
drizzle. On one outing, a lengthy avalanche of wet snow cascaded to the ground, 
sending him for cover. Soon afterwards he was inside and in need of attention. This is often my view when he has settled on my lap and relaxed into purring. Moments later, 
though, he jumps down and rings the door chimes to go out....

In the relative dark of the morning, I was struck by the contrast 
of in and out

Slowly, white snow gave way to blurring mists, and the day softened
 into muted tones of grays and browns and greens.  

Late in the afternoon, I went out to greet the dusk, and was drawn in by the 
forest's veiled and shining beauty. A peek just beyond the trees - a little bit further, 
and without noticing, I was in the depths of mists and emerald green enchantment. 

A few images painted years ago when I first moved here were clearly inspired 
by just this kind of day. I enjoyed finding these again, having not looked at them
in a long time. I really SEE them now. 

"Hemlocks & Birches", ink & watercolor (listed in the shop)

There might be nothing as beautiful in this forest as days of low light and lingering 
mists - it seems the damp brings out the woodland's sylvan mysteries. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Water & Stone

Over fields it comes - the sound of rushing water - winding through lichen-covered
trunks, silvery branches and mossy stonesI bend to earth to free tulip shoots from beneath a dense layer of oak leaves, images of spiraling whirlpools, fast moving 
water and smooth, rounded stones dancing in my imagination. 

The water calls to me, to share in spring exuberance. Deep muddy ruts make
the road to the swimming hole almost impassable, and a new log here and there - 
remnants of recent torrential rains. 

Winter ice flows and the spring melt have re-arranged the beach. The wind is calm, 
but the river's rushing dictates the excited mood down here. 

Once the river turns the bend, the banks widen, the water slows and begins a gentle  meander towards the gorge. I am fascinated with what's below and how the light 
moves on the water's surface. 

Wandering the beach, I fill a bag with stones, trying to hum the overtone I 
hear the river singing. Light, water and flow patterns fill me with wonderings. 

Back in the moss garden, patterns marked on stones echo the forces that 
shaped them, before a giant plucked them from the shore and spirited them 

The forest emerging from winter shares the flow patterns, but not the pace. 
Slow growth and emerald greening is a quiet contrast to the distant rushing river 

Deep in the woodlands, still water collects in pools, and asks me to 
sit and reflect a while. 

I am grateful for winter's generous snow-offering this year, a few piles still 
cling to shady northern spots around the yard. Finally, though, it seems that 
spring has sprung. 

I've been in a mad dash to clear away the leaves, as many of the tulips pierced 
right through them, strangling themselves until I released them from bondage. 
They are a bit dented in places from plowing through on their reach for the light, 
but, I muse, aren't we all? 

Post script: I've listed several sets of "Ancient Whisper Stones" from my river 
journey in my Etsy shop, including the ones shown above. They are packed with 
a bit of forest moss and magic and waiting to bring some spring flow to you or 
your garden. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Forest Medicine

Long ago and far away, in the time of my great, great, great grandmother's 
grandmother's grandmother's grandmother, it wouldn't have been odd, living at 
the edge of the forest, knowing medicine to be something other than what comes
in bottles from a store. I am grateful, that the source of greatest healing for me 
wraps me in evergreens and softens my footfalls with great tribes of mosses. 

Months, days, hours of doing, accomplishing, making lists, grant paperwork, setting
up shop, web sites, meetings and lastly a shiver-making dentist drill and novocaine 
piled up one upon the other like sacks upon my back 'til worn out I halted, and remembered the wild that would heal me. 

Walking out into the forest in a healing way, a medicine way, requires a deepening
into the moment, a slowing - reverence. Beginning inside unplugging phones and
holding an intention to bring with me on my journey, I packed a basket of offerings.
My prayer eggs from Equinox, nuts, and cornmeal, sacred to the first people of North America. 

Snow boots still needed, but, thankfully, not snow shoes. I crossed the paths 
of many critters, though with the wet snows of late, hard to know which was 
animal and which snow-plop. Some places full of deep snow, some bare ground. 

I left my offering at the Forest Circle, pouring cornmeal into the toe track of a 
fisher who trotted right across the altar. I wonder which furry neighbor will
be the first to eat from it? 

It seemed that everywhere I looked, Tree Spirits were watching me... 
Do you see the one below? 

At a favorite spot, I stopped to place a spiral of cornmeal on a stone, 
and to listen awhile. 

      When I turned, another face peered down from a towering, hemlock snag
      This old tree is a favorite of the woodpeckers and I imagine a home for many. 

 Faces, everywhere, with astonished open mouths and wide eyes.... 
I realized this might be the reason my sculptures look as they do. 

Such a beautiful, slow turning to spring. Grandmother Winter gently pulls the snow 
away from the edges of things and collects it in her cauldron to take with her as 
she journeys to the south. Delicate ferns emerge as the snows recede, many having 
stayed green under the warm snow blanket all winter. 

A tall, healthy beech tree, rare in these parts because of a blight. Her 
smooth, silver trunk right next to one gnarled with disease. 

 Peeling bark of the paper birch. 

Pasha, off on his own journey, finds me at last. 

He invites me to sit with him to share stories.  

He tells me of Partridge Berries and looks quite dashing 
on his stump-perch: moss-colored eyes and coat of 
hemlock brown. 

I see what friends have long said, that he and I have 
the same mossy eye color.... I think my mane is also turning 
into tree bark. 

 With me on my travels these days, is a beautiful, 
Enchanted Forest necklace from Delila in Finland, 
a country not far from my father's, father's father's home. 
I like that. 

There is magic in this necklace, I feel the forest whisper 
to me when I'm away.