Sunday, May 01, 2016

Happy Beltane (May Day)

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
It was a long winter here in the eastern Ontario highlands, and nights are still bracing, often hovering only a few degrees above freezing.  It will be another week or so until colonies of bloodroot are well and truly up and blooming, but early specimens lift their heads in protected nooks here and there, and I discovered the first of the season yesterday.

The shy white bloomers with their golden centers are dear to my heart and something of a seasonal marker. Encountering these two glowing softly in their flickering, stone-warmed alcove, I felt like kneeling and kissing the dark fragrant earth where they made their home—they were that perfect. Ignoring creaky knees, down on the ground I went  and stayed there for quite a while, nose to nose with the little wild wonders, feasting my eyes and attention and discovering another fragile blooming within.

It was one of those wild epiphanies I love so much, especially in springtime when the north woods are just coming to life, a moment of kensho, one of those fleeting intervals of quiet knowing and connection that I like to call "aha" moments.  Forget the fancy stuff - this right here is the ground of my being.

Happy Beltane (or May Day), everyone. May there be light and blooming and fragrance in your own precious life, your own part of the great wide world.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Little Springtime Blue

Dwarf Iris (Iris reticulata)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Ramble - Bloom

Blue skies and fluffy clouds overhead, birdsong, avian courtship rites and nest building birds everywhere - the village is opening out and greening up before our eyes as Spencer and I potter about and peer into hedgerows. Spring does not make a quiet entrance this far north - she comes over the hill with an exuberant bound, reaches out with a twiggy hand, and everything bursts into bloom. When we went off to the park a few mornings ago, the first daffodil of the season was blooming in a sheltered, sunny alcove, and we both did a little dance.

How can this week's word be anything except bloom? The word originates in the Middle English blo or blome, meaning to open up and flower lavishly, to glow with health and well-being, to be as sleek and glossy as an otter, as dewy and flushed with sunlight as a garden tulip or an early blooming orchid in a wild and wooded place. There are probable connections (or roots) between bloom and bhel in Proto-Indo-European, the hypothetical common ancestor of all modern European languages - in that ancient, oral and unscribed tongue, bhel means to grow, swell, or unfold, to leaf out or come into flower.

Perhaps a better word for this week would be sex, for that is what springtime's lush colors, alluring fragrances, velvet textures and warbling ballads are about - the Old Wild Mother's madcap dance of exuberance, fertility and fruitfulness. Every species on the planet seems focused on perpetuating its own heady genetic brew, and the collective pleasure in being alive is almost tangible.   

Forsaking appointed chores, we poke around in the garden, ramble though thickets and contemplate the blue sky for long intervals.  It's simply a matter of blooming wherever one happens to be planted.  Spencer is already a master of that splendid Zen art, and his silly old mum is working on it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday Poem - Another Spring

The seasons revolve and the years change
With no assistance or supervision.
The moon, without taking thought,
Moves in its cycle, full, crescent, and full.

The white moon enters the heart of the river;
The air is drugged with azalea blossoms;
Deep in the night a pine cone falls;
Our campfire dies out in the empty mountains.

The sharp stars flicker in the tremulous branches;
The lake is black, bottomless in the crystalline night;
High in the sky the Northern Crown
Is cut in half by the dim summit of a snow peak.

O heart, heart, so singularly
Intransigent and corruptible,
Here we lie entranced by the starlit water,
And moments that should each last forever

Slide unconsciously by us like water.

Kenneth Rexroth

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rites of Spring (I)

Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica)
On an overcast morning in late April, she is bending over a cluster of blooming squill in a corner of the garden when the thought comes to her for the nth time, the nth springtime, the nth calendar year.

The wildflowers coming up in the wooded alcoves of the Lanark highlands and this shaded corner of her garden are perfect, just as they are, and so are her recording lens and camera. Herself, not so much...

She has to cultivate the eyes and attention to see things in all their natural wabi sabi suchness, the patience to wait for the wind to pause in its madcap dance and then click her shutter. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes she is rewarded only by a vivid blue blur on her memory card. Life and the seasons are works in endless progress—they are a boundless blooming, and it's all good.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Reaching for the Light

Great white trillium (trillium grandiflorum)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday - Saying Yes to the World

We sleep, allowing gravity to hold us, allowing Earth—our larger body—to recalibrate our neurons, composting the keen encounters of our waking hours (the tensions and terrors of our individual days), stirring them back, as dreams, into the sleeping substance of our muscles. We give ourselves over to the influence of the breathing earth. Sleep is the shadow of the earth as it seeps into our skin and spreads throughout our limbs, dissolving our individual will into the thousand and one selves that compose it—cells, tissues, and organs taking their prime directives now from gravity and the wind—as residual bits of sunlight, caught in the long tangle of nerves, wander the drifting landscape of our earth-borne bodies like deer moving across the forested valleys.
David Abram, Becoming Animal

Saturday, April 23, 2016