Thursday, October 27, 2016

Come Winter

There is a dusting of snow on the mountain that overlooks our homestead this morning.  The air is not just the crisp, clean spirit of a fall morning, but the crackling, breath taking cold slap that is more common to a winter morning.  Come winter these temperatures will be more accepted, but today I'm not quite use to it.

Yesterday, in the early morning, I headed out to climb Varnum Mountain with my dog Rosie.  The minute we stepped off the deck her hackles were up and her nose to the ground. The erratic circles of the invisible trail she followed spoke to me of our resident skunk that has sprayed her two times now.  But as we got down onto the trail I could see the deep, blanket of leaves disturbed ahead of me.  Rosie, still with her hackles up and nose to the ground was also aware of the disturbance; more of a straight line vs. circles and definitely something big enough to leave a trail in the leaves.  Moose?  Deer?  Coyote?  The tracks weren't clear enough to tell; they left only a faint memory of what went before us.

But come winter I will be able to see very clearly the tracks in the snow that Rosie "sees" with her nose.

Today I am thinking about an entire community in the small town of Orono who are grieving the loss of one of their members.  A man who traveled to Antarctica and the Arctic studying climate change, glaciers and ice.  A man who was an amazing scientist, teacher, friend, father and husband.  A man whose death has rocked the entire world.  A man whose image I see at our camp fire deep in the north woods on Spencer Lake with the rain falling, the wet wood smoking, the fire sputtering and Gordan's head thrown back laughing.  All who knew him speak of the laughter and fun-loving spirit of a very devoted and intelligent scientist.    A man who spent much of his time on ice and in winter.  A man who leaves a crevasse as huge as the one he fell into in the hearts of those who knew him. 

Come winter we will all need to close the circle around her and build up the fires to warm that empty space.

Come winter Dave and I will explore these woods on snowshoes, identify the tracks of the others who share the land with us,  watch the snow fall over the mountain and hold all our loved ones close.  For I have learned first hand that there are no guarantees in life, that all that we hold most precious can be whisked away in a single moment; no tracks left behind for us to follow them.  Only the memories of what once was.

Loving you all back,

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"A Sense of Wonder"

Prior to becoming an acupuncturist I use to be an environmental educator in another life.  And after that life I became a high school science teacher.  Regardless of the grade or the "classroom" I always tried to teach a sense of wonder to those young minds that were opening to the world I was showing them.  The world of insects and plants, trees and birds, lichens, moss and single cells.  Rachel Carson had instilled in me the importance of "not knowing"; the importance of simply seeing something and feeling awed by it.  The importance of a sense of wonder.

"It is not half so important to know as to feel"
Rachel Carson

I still nurture this in myself.  I am awed whenever I hear the Loons talking on the pond with that wailing, octave jumping song that echoes across the valley, calling to a mate.  Hearing that song always stops me in my tracks, as I stand silent and listening and feeling as it stirs the wild child in me.  Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Mayflowers and bright green moss has me taking a moment on the trail to look closer and to simply notice and feel the joy in their being there.  Rejoice in their ... being.

Last week Dave came and gently woke me from a deep sleep.  I glanced at the clock, it was 1:30a.m.
He took my hand and said, "come outside, you have to see this."

I pulled a warmer shirt over my pj's, stumbled to the living room and slipped my feet into a pair of boots that sit by the sliding door that opens to our deck.  As I stepped outside I literally gasped.  The air, the fields, the lawn, the trees, and the entire sky was filled with thousands of twinkling lights; winking, blinking, tiny yellow beams of light.


I felt like I had walked back into my childhood on Scarborough beach where on those hot August nights someone would suggest a swim in the surf.  On those very special nights, running into the waves there might be an explosion of tiny, white lights!  Sparklers, shimmering and twinkling as they dripped down our hair, disappearing back into the water.  Fireworks bursting beneath my fingertips as I twirled in place, trailing my spread fingers behind me through the water to ignite the phosphorescence; an arch of brilliant light beneath my fingers. Diving into the water I was a Mermaid with a glittering trail before and behind me.  The foam of every wave illuminated with bright, white, tiny lights.

In that very early morning standing on our deck Dave and I just held each other in awe as the night sparkled all around us with the mating "calls" of the Firefly. There was joy in being part of this amazing, extravagant display, feeling so lucky that I was there to witness it. Thirty minutes later a thunderstorm hit and all those tiny lights went out.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Rachel Carson

Loving you all back,

Monday, March 14, 2016

Trusting and the Blossoming of Spring

I saw crows carrying nesting material yesterday.  I stood and watched them to see if I could tell where they were headed with it.  One squawk from a crow overhead, who was standing guard, had these two nest builders immediately fly in opposite directions of each other and the direction they were initially taking.  Nest building is, after all, top secret.

I continued to stand and just look up, something I learned to do when Jim was sick.  To take that few minutes of quiet time and look up.  Yesterday I saw that the Marsh Maples have buds now, bright red and swelling with the sap that has ascended up to them.  The first tree to flower in spring, offering the much needed nectar to the emerging honey bees.  The birches are not far behind, their tops are turning yellow, soon to flower as well.

Our streams are swollen and flowing free from the encasement of ice.  This happens so fast, just a few days of temperatures above freezing and suddenly there are mini-waterfalls at every bend and twist of the flow.  What was a muted gurgling of flowing water under ice is now a roar as these small streams flood over their banks and create rooster tails with the volume of water hitting the rocks and trees within the path.

The birds are singing, so I'm told.  My hearing is so impaired I can no longer hear the song birds, only the more raucous Corvids or the "cuk, cuk" of the Pileated Woodpecker defending his territory. So much activity up above with the eternal preparations needed for the reproducing and continuation of the species.  Soon the spring Peepers will begin their chirping.  I know Dave will tell me when he hears them and I will stand, silent and straining as I try to hear one of my all time favorite songs.  But, only the memory of what this sound was will flow over me since the peeping is a high pitch, a range that I have lost.

I'm watching for the return of the Woodcocks to these fields,  having promised my nieces that I will take my grandnieces and nephew "woodcocking" when the time comes.  A truly fun spring ritual to be done at the crepuscular evening hour when the male Woodcock does his comical flight and dance routine in hopes of attracting a female to mate, but instead gets giggling first graders who hide in the bushes with me.

Spring has arrived in the mountains.  Folks up here have a harder time of letting go of winter; letting go of their cold weather activities. But the snow is melting and there is now more bare ground than there is snow cover.  We are entering mud season with over-saturated land that nurtures the tiny bulbs of the crocus and daffodil that have yet to emerge.

As the transition of winter to spring blossoms all around me I find myself facing new professional challenges.  It's fitting that the big changes in ones life should begin to unfold at the change of this season.  As the winter lets go of it's icy grip on this land and the buds swell and the promise of flowers hang from above, I have the budding of, yet another, new path to take.  Transitions can be difficult, but they can be exciting too.  Just as we trust that the Woodcocks and other species will return with the sun I am reminded to trust in the Universal energy as well.  To trust that there is a path laid before me, like the unseen migratory track that birds follow, my path appears unseen but I trust it is there all the same.  Trusting that this new endeavor will blossom into the perfect fit for me.  Spring is about emerging from the dark and the rebirth of all that is  ....

.... and thus, this timing is perfect for me.

Loving you all back,