Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weeding and wandering

 When deadlines are pushing and pressuring and I'm getting behind with everything,
and spring is knocking on the door of the earth, wanting to push through, and I'm in a time of creativity and growth, which is exciting, but threatens to overwhelm,
 then even though there's been no time for weeks, and certainly no time now, I need to just break away and make for the bach.

And take time to wander—
 along the soothing banks of the stream. What perfect timing. This is the first fine weekend for weeks and weeks.
It's time to observe what is happening in nature. While in the bach garden, weeds are pushing up their heads everywhere, along the stream the dry vestiges of winter rattle in the wind.
 Pulling weeds is satisfying when the mind is cluttered. Wandering is even better, following the curve of the stream without any sense of a goal,
 letting the wind blow away anxiety and refresh my spirit,
opening up space inside - and then the talk falls into place, and the writing project begins to breathe. The deadlines become lifelines, dancing in the breeze. Everything seems possible once more. 
Sometimes the best thing to do when there's no time to be in nature, is simply to be in nature.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Eager and early

 Spring has come early this year, despite snowy setbacks and chilly chivying.
 The magnolias are not worried. They are spreading their fragrance across the skies
 and their beauty through the air,
The little one is with me for the weekend, because the magnolias are not the only thing that is eager and early this spring.
 Last night the littlest one was born, unexpectedly, nearly four weeks before the due date. This morning I took the little one into the hospital, where we saw her baby sister for the first time.
 New life is so tender. This one is full of sleep. Tomorrow we might catch her awake and see her eyes. Every day will be more awake than the one before.
We come home and sort embroidery threads, into subtle colours, and bright ones, and colours that match the baby quilt I'm stitching. The little one has gathered this collection together because, she says, they are the colours of joy.
Did I know this tenderness was about to flood our lives? On my Facebook Books page, only a day or two before, I posted these words from my book 'A Cup of Sunlight':

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all
living beings; 
Radiating kindness over the entire world.
—The Buddha

I wish you all loving kindness that fills your hearts and spreads across the skies with the fragrance of magnolias.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Brigid, Brigid, won't you come in?

 Today is the festival of Brigid, the maiden aspect of the ancient triple goddess. She returns at 'First Light', the half-way point between winter solstice and spring equinox.
Brigid is associated with fire, creativity, poetry and healing. In Ireland people still visit Brigid's wells and springs at First Light, in search of healing.
'Brigid, Brigid, won't you come in?' cried the women of ancient Britain, as they flung open the doors of their cottages and welcomed in the light. Today, a circle of candles around Brigid's 'well' reminds us of the candlelit processions of ancient times.
Even when the Church converted the festival of Brigid into Candlemas, the lighting of candles continued, for who doesn't love to kindle brightness?
 In Britain, the women would skilfully weave crosses, dolls and spiralling shapes from straw or corn. My old aunt Trudy from Yorkshire sent me this one, which is like a little straw bell.
 We remember to give thanks for the return of the flow, just as our Celtic ancestors did, by pouring a libation of ewe's milk on to the earth,
 blessing the new growth that is stirring in the dark soil. The old Celtic word for ewe's milk is Oi-melg, which gave rise to the name Imbolc (Imbolg) for this festival.
 It's a fragrant and delicate season, this early spring awakening. Despite the nip in the air, we can feel the blessing of the returning light, bringing fresh hope and playful energy.Time to prepare to open to new life — but gently.

Come Bride! Come Bride!
Enter in!
We're ready for thy blessing now
Ready for thy blessing now.

[Old invocation. Bride was another word for Brigid]

Friday, August 1, 2014

The best of winter treats

 Once again this year, I've given myself a winter retreat,
 in the wild open spaces of the west coast, where clouds roll in from the sea, and the rocky lion roars through the night.
 It's warm and cosy in here, as we dine on delicious food in front of the fire,
 and sometimes catch a fine spell in which to walk the black sand along the edge of the surf,
 knowing I don't have to shop, or cook or attend to anything. Delicious food will appear at the right time,
 plucked from the garden and full of brightness.
 The days roll by and the surf rolls out, and on the last morning as I stride along the beach
 I am given a gift.
 The inner spiral of myself is unfurling. I have returned to simplicity.
Retreat. It's a re-treating of myself, and at the end of winter when it's easy to feel jaded, is the best of gifts. [Here's the link for this beautiful place]
When did you last treat yourself? What gifts has nature given you lately?