Nine fruits and nine flavors to preserve my soul in peace this day...
— Caitlín Matthews
I'm enjoying Joanna Powell Colbert's 30 Days of Harvest ecourse. This week, one of the photo prompts was about savoring autumn fruits. While thoughts of apples were also on my mind, I took the prompt metaphorically and went for a walk with my baby to identify nine “flavors” of autumn in my own back yard.
Persimmon for patience, raspberry for reflection, dogwood for dreams, rose for enchantment, aster for starshine, polk for color, oak for mystery, and cucumber for salad.
Interdependence. This topic is often on my mind as we approach U.S. Independence Day. There is so much strength in interdependence or being in-dependence together.
According to one of my favorite Goddess scholars, Carol Christ, the central ethical vision of Goddess religion is that all beings are embedded in a web of interconnected relatedness. All beings are part of the web of life. Everything is in relation—indeed it is possible to have relationships with the sun, sky, wind, and rainbow, as well as to other people, animals, plants, and the Divine. Everything is interconnected and does not exist without connection, relationship. Connection is strength, not weakness, and it is central.
Too busy. Too buzzy. Not enough time. To do. To do. To do. Scramble. Hurry. Tight chest Tight breath Tight heart WAIT! Listen to Summer. Languid. Warm. Sweaty. Hot. Petals soften Juice drips Kissed by sunlight Bathed with rain Sweet stickiness. Passion. Summer is heavy. Hot and ready. Blooming and dripping. Unfolding. Becoming. Ripening. Sweet. Tangy. Biting. Feel it in the air. Greet it at sunset. Throw your arms around it. Dig in. Hang on. This is IT. Taste it. Hold it. Enfold it. Be it. Lick it. Know it. Be it. Embrace it. This is your life. This is your life. Do you love it?
Summer's bounty both sweet and spiky sun-kissed and thorny able to draw blood and to cause you to smile as you taste the juices of life.
I find it interesting to observe how the wheel of the year is reflected within my own mind and thought processes. In the late fall, I turn inward and feel like retreating and pulling away from commitments. In the winter, I incubate and make plans. In the spring, I emerge again and feel enthused with new ideas. In the summer, I start to make decisions about what to keep and what to prune away. I find that summer is a perfect time to see what is growing well and what needs to be yanked out by the roots.
…The spirit of adventure runs through my veins with the rich color of crushed raspberry
May it always run so free may it be blessed and may I be reminded of the courage and love shown in small, wild adventures.
June brings out the hunter in me. The mission: wild raspberries.* A friend once laughed to hear me describe picking raspberries as a "holy task," but it is. A task earthy, embodied, mundane, and miraculous at once.
Two of June's treasures each year for me are the roses and the raspberries. This week, I sweated and struggled and was scratched and stung, but I returned home once again with my bounty.
The 30 Days of May ecourse has come to an end and the month of May itself is drawing to a rainy and humid close for me here in the Midwest, but one of the lessons that lingers for me was identifying the call of the "May Queen" in my life this month.
I have been working on a lot of projects, many exciting and some stressful, and I was feeling tense, taut, stressed, unhappy, unsettled, depressed and discouraged. On one of these stressful days, The Judgmental Committee in my head not only decreed that I was a bad mother, but also a bad friend, wife, daughter, and overall person. I was feeling pulled between the needs of my older children, my baby, my work, and my business and ended up feeling as if I was not doing a good job with anything. And, then in response to the prompts from 30 Days of May, the May Queen delivered her message: Discernment. Much of life about wise discernment. I have a tendency to become dualistic in my thinking, either I DO IT or I QUIT IT FOREVER. At the same time, I am very harsh with myself at my perceived inability to “flow” and surrender.
the flowers bend their bright bodies, and tip their fragrance to the air, and rise, their red stems holding all that dampness and recklessness gladly and lightly, and there it is again — beauty the brave, the exemplary, blazing open. Do you love this world?
–excerpt “Peonies” by Mary Oliver*
Loving the world feels like a difficult topic to write about today when I see news coverage of the recent oil spill in Santa Barbara and read about the dolphins dying. It can be easy to start to feel discouraged and hopeless in the face of such destruction and lack of love for the earth, our precious, irreplaceable home.