This essay was originally published at Neo-Paganism.com.
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In 2013, I engaged in a year-long Woodspriestess experiment in which I visited the same place in the woods behind my house every day for an entire year. The experience described in this post occurred eight months into my experiment...
“Oh my GAWD!!!!! I just STEPPED ON an ARMADILLO!!!!!!”
Yes, that is correct, I stepped squarely on a genuine, real live armadillo on my way through the woods last night. I’d gotten “too busy” to visit the woods during the day and by the time I made my way down there, it was totally dark. I opted to go out without a flashlight, feeling a bit smug, if I do say so myself, that I know these woods so well and am just so connected that I don’t even need a flashlight to find my way and then…STEP…bizarre-growling-squeal-grunt-and-scuttle and me screaming the above. My first thought as I grasped what had happened was actually to try to take a picture for a blog post, but by then it was too late and only the scaly tail was dimly visible under a nearby shrub! By the time I stood on the rocks, I was laughing semi-hysterically and my heart was pounding with the adrenalin and surprise. I reflected again on how very many creatures share these woods with me and I wondered how many other woodspriestesses of various species cross these very stones each day. I think of this space as “mine,” but clearly an armadillo also finds it a useful nighttime exploration place.
Tiny flowers of summer
Waving colorful flags
of the season’s surrender
against a backdrop of dry leaves
Lifting tender, hopeful
parched but promising
a last hurrah
a final fling
a tiny majesty
Spots of glorious color
on dry ground
Proof of life’s own love affair with itself.
In order to change we must facilitate change. Change doesn't just come, no matter how much we desire it. Change is often painful, jarring us out of a comfortable, though dissatisfying existence, forcing us into molds that don't fit who we are, but will eventually turn us into who we wish to be. Change in our lives is not the gracefully seamless flow of color and scent we see in nature as the Wheel turns around us. Do trees suffer as they burst from summer's green to autumn's golden splendor? How does the goldenrod and the Michaelmas daisy feel as their colors brighten beneath the cooling autumn sun? Of course we can't know; nature's children keep their secrets to themselves.
It often seems that as much as we welcome change we are at the same time resisting it, fighting and forcing it back until opportunity has passed us by, only to leave us wondering what went wrong and wishing our circumstances (or we) could change. Why is this so, I wonder? I am as guilty of it as anyone, and like most others I recognize it, yet I still have to consciously remind myself that what I am doing (or am meant to be doing) really is to my own benefit, regardless of how much I detest it. Case in point: that excruciating half an hour on my elliptical machine every day, that half an hour I skipped this morning and will no doubt try my best to avoid doing tomorrow even though I know exercise is healthy for me, and if I want to do a 5K color run next summer I need to begin training now....
When I first started writing for W&P my intent was to focus more on nature and Spirit here, more technical, interfaith, and political issues over at Patheos. Such plans are nice, but rarely maintain themselves, and that one was no exception. On either end.
I just published what I think is an important post on Pagan religion and environmentalism over there as part of a big discussion on the topic. Perhaps some of you who do not watch that site regularly might want to take a look at it.
The Crone is knocking,
I hear her in the trees...