Solstice dawning tomorrow. Today, I walk. I walk with my basket where treasures new and old lay side by side. Gifts I’ve received that have fueled me over time, with healing, with joy, with delight, with wonder, with reverence, with gratitude.
In the middle I set down three lobes, these fungus bracts from a tribe walk a few days ago; Ahmad picked the red fleshy hearts from an old hemlock in the woods up from the creek. The excitement! The wonder! Reishi? Is it? Can it be? Mystery! Around them, Usnea gathered from the same walk, tucked into grooves and niches, these air cleaning satellites colored aqua as the watery damp that gives them spring!
Here then in the South there are strawflowers that rustled on tall stalks many suns and moons ago, in the garden amidst thick stands of zinnia, they grew, with globe amaranth by their feet. How much pleasure that garden gave! And I gathered the white, the pink, the yellow, the surprising maroon strawflowers and wove wreaths and crowns with some, adhered them to barettes, wore earrings on my lobes; the remaining ones sat in a pottery bowl for many suns and moons, and now with deep abiding thanks, I say Thank You as I return them into the wheel that turns. Thank you for all that you have been, and were; I’m ready to let you go now, Goodbye.
In my basket there are grass tails, fluffy and curved, foxtails, rabbit fur. There are milkweed pods with down so fine as to be spun silk, starry when floating, magical! There are echinacea cones, spiky hedghogs, bristly, bold; they’ve been medicine from the first garden in town, travelling in tow. There is yellow goldenrod and even drier, creamy grey ones picked when old. There are the star flowers that adorn my Earthsong faces with sparkle, there is Usnea; my teacher from the beginning of this year to the end, teaching me to trust my nose and follow it to what it Knows. There is lichen curled and bluey green, some damp from moisture some dry from the lack. There is bark from grape and birch, those silvery gold curly garlands that have bejwelled my wrists as bracelets, assisting me in bracing myself. There is silver grey wormwood, eyelashes, fragrance. I lay all these down in the Mandil that I create by Pond, Pine, Hemlock, and Poplar; those tulip trees with bark unmarred by Woodpecker holes like their brother trees bear. They all go in the South, they go in that space from which I’ve created and manifested substance with the medicine and alliances with these my friends. I lay them down with songs of thanks and love and gratitude, I lay them down as a returning and a releasing, a remembrance to carry forth in my heart into the new year turning, I tuck them in tenderly and say Thank you, Goodbye.
Into the West i spread a fan of Pine needles, Pine my friend, Pine Oh Pine who taught me He Is Not Hemlock! Pine whose bark I kiss and with whom I’ve spoken, awkwardly and gawkishly, yet he listens and tolerates and accepts my converse as it is.
Then to the North I visit with fir, fir that’s from the Ridge, those blue blue ridges so misty and cloud covered that one could float away and leap from mountain to mountain everywhere! The same fir that came off the ground to come together as our Yule Tree, fragrant and peppery and wintery. The fir that grows high, high above ground, in the dreamplaces, blue green silvery, like the blue ridges.
I leave the East empty, for Light to shine in and illuminate this space as the Sun begins its long time rise again. Today it is empty, today is a Lunar Worldbridging day, a portal through worlds, beyond this one, beyond the one beyond this one, beyond the beyond . . . how far will I step through before I float into the blue white waters of the Lunar Lake, into the darkness one more time, diving deep; how far have I gone? How does one know, or measure that distance infinite, is it a giant leap or a small step over a molehill enlarged by candleight? An illusion or behind the illusion? I circle round my Mandil, this is the last one and yet the first one, for I have entered the Blue Castle, Blue blue blue as the ridges, Neelaa Aasmaan, Aabee as the waters of the Karaj on a hot summer day!
I leave with an empty basket, I leave with a light step, I leave feeling blessed.
My heart beats. Red. Curious. Blue. Calm. Purple. Capacious.
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