Although the rain is tapering off we have had a temporary reprieve from the drought that has followed us through last year into spring and summer. Although the brook is flowing too quietly even after three days of showers the air is sweet and the trees and plants have turned their leaves to the sky to let the Cloud People bless them with the moisture they so desperately need. Tree lichens are a brilliant green, mosses are emerald sponges and every fern hovers over the small oasis of wet ground that s/he covers. This behavior will protect portions of earth from the sun and wind that will return too soon to dry out the soil.
Amazingly in my perennial flower garden the rain actually coaxed summer lilies into bloom along with delphinium and scarlet bee balm. Salmon poppies continue to pop and the hybrid lemon lilies will soon follow. Blossoming in the rain is a flower phenomenon I have not experienced before, but this development may not be surprising. Nature learns and adapts; perhaps bringing plants into flower in the rain is a new strategy s/he has developed for plant survival? Sadly, I have not been able to water my perennial garden all spring/early summer because of pernicious drought.
Last night a few sparks of fire punctuated the darkness. A handful of exquisite lights floated through the tall grasses around my house at 10 PM. Blinking lights that lit up the night. I watched the lightening bugs from inside the house because there were so few, thinking about how nature created her own living fireworks billions of years ago, and how they flourished bringing joy to those who lived among them until humans arrived on this planet 200,00 years ago and (recently) began to annihilate plants they couldn’t abide, killing off most of the fireflies in the process. Now, those precious lights are going out, but while deeply engaged with those insects all I could think of was how happy I was to be participating in my own firefly celebration!
This morning’s light drizzle called me into the green. The first thing I noticed was that more plants were blooming than I thought. Oh, the colors! Delphinium blue, scarlet, lemon yellow, fiery and bittersweet orange, even pale pink bouquets grace my garden. Meandering down to the brook, drawn by the sound of water I noted the dark brown silt that muddied the silvery ribbons that were gently cascading over mossy stones, the result of too much logging with lack of care for mountain springs and brooks. We have no respect for water until it is no longer potable. And even then – isn’t it always about us, and not the gift of water?
Coming up the hill I saw them, creamy fragrant pearl jewels hanging on long stems popping up in a wooded area I had cleared of thick debris and raked with such care this spring. I hoped to encourage more wildflowers to thrive there. A surge of joy flowed through me. Renewal.
Nature is always paying attention and I had created a new space for her to fill. How could I know that she would gift me with one of my favorite wildflowers – one I have always called pippsewa. Recently I learned that that the proper name for this plant is pyrola, but both are members of the wintergreen family. Lots of healing properties. These ground-hugging plants grow in clumps. No doubt they communicate not only through scent and hormones carried by the air around them but through the maze of shallow roots that lie just under the surface. At some point I am going to dig around a little to see what kind of mycelial network lies below. I am keenly aware that bees love these little flowers… virtually every plant I have around here is a pollinator of some kind.
Returning to the house I am still reveling in the morning stillness. The peace, the joy of moving slowly appreciating each moment sustains me. When I am walking over this land I notice that I am never in a hurry to get anywhere at all. Nature applauds me when I move according to her slow syncopated rhythms. This internal support allows me to live fully in my body with all my senses wide awake to Now.
I live in a suicidal culture that moves with lightening speed. Faster is the American motto – faster – faster – and faster. Louder, louder, louder. I would ask anyone who must race to get to a new place, or to the top of the next mountain (as masses of recreational hikers do here), to those who must get the job done at any cost, or to those who must fill every day with social engagements: what/who are you really running from? Isn’t the answer obvious? The same is true for noise. All those blasts destroy brain cells and stop the possibility of genuine thought. Apparently that’s the point.
I am suddenly reminded of the tale of Little Black Sambo who disintegrated into a mass of butter losing his shape and himself. Today that story would be considered racist – it’s not of course – we could easily replace black with red, yellow, white and I do! This story demonstrates how important it is to slow down, and these days this is what I want to do the most. I love rain for so many reasons; I believe it is my primary element and the source of my creativity. I sleep soundly in rain. It allows my feelings, which are too intense by the culture’s standards to move through me unimpeded. Without rain I have a tendency to get stuck in either or thinking. But most important, rain brings the ensouled –sealskin woman to the surface creating in me an internal balance. In general, I think that rain softens the hard edges of people on the run even if it is against their will. And even if the silence frightens them.
The morning comes to an end as the first semi-automatics gun down the air, and I hurriedly get up to close the window. No doubt, celebrating ‘war in the sky’ with bombing, gunshots and fire in the sky is ahead. Perhaps we will need to take to the woods this afternoon to find peace. Fifteen minutes away I have found a protected place to stay near water. If I am exposed to this assault tonight should I choose to stay here I just hope that my body can remember the peace I have experienced this morning. I cannot control my broken PTSD body that freezes, each cell in agony. Nature reminds me that cycles come and go, and sometimes endurance is my only hope.
Last night’s neighbor bombing forced my dogs and I to leave our home. Fortunately we have a protected place just a few minutes away to sleep. Although the 4th is over I expect to leave home again tonight. Thank goodness for the forests… clear streams… lakes and wetlands, and all are so close to where I live.
Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.