Daffodils Awake

Daffodil shoots

The snow cover is gradually melting, and in the midst of a brown world, these shoots of green appear.  Last fall, I planted a multitude of daffodil bulbs and also some garlic, as companion plants for the cherries and other (future) fruit trees in the orchard.  So thrilling to see them emerge as the snow melts.

This dance begins so secretly, this creeping green… yet with an inevitable chorus soon to come, soon to be bursting everywhere.  I love these quiet first notes.

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Spring Arrives in Maine

Spring Arrives in MaineToday is the first day of spring everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.  What it looks like in my neighborhood is huge piles of snow and a really cold morning, but with a bright sun leading us into a clear day.

Margy and I hosted an Equinox ritual at our house last night.  It was a small group of five this time, and most of us were weary from the winter, so our ritual was simple and low key.  We named the friends who had joined us for Solstice and Imbolc, and sent blessings to all of them.  (You know who you are!)  We shared thoughts and readings about our lives and about winter and spring.  We talked about what we wanted to let go from the winter season, and what intentions we wanted to carry into this new season.

I thought about the next several weeks until Mayday.  The snow will disappear, and the ground thaw, and begin to fill with green.  Our plants will arrive from Fedco:  an apple tree, a peach tree, two blueberry bushes, three hazelnut bushes, a mulberry tree, a licorice plant, 25 asparagus plants, and 3 golden seal plants.  By Mayday, I hope they will be in the ground.  Our friends volunteered to help with the planting.

I remember when we first imagined this new home, when we began to lay out our intentions to find greener housing in the summer of 2015.  Our intentions included creating a permaculture garden, and having space in our living room for people to gather.  And here we are!  Living those dreams into reality.  The magic of deeply felt intentions can be surprisingly powerful.

Turtles

Snapping Turtle at Evergreen

Margy and I took a walk at the ponds at Evergreen Cemetery on Sunday afternoon.  Right away we saw this big snapping turtle who lives in the largest pond.  We walked around to the back, and several people were walking out on the fallen log and acting goofy.  But as soon as they left, the little painted turtles started climbing onto the log to bask in the sun. There were turtles on every available log.

Turtles on the Log

Now it feels like spring has really arrived.  We also saw three ducks, and lots of happy people wandering the trails.  And of course, both of us took lots of photos.

Facing My Own Attachment to Separation

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When I take seriously the interconnected web of all existence, when I begin to try to experience it, I also come face to face with my own attachment to separation. There is more to awakening than a mystical appreciation of the beauty of the larger whole. Something within me, and I believe within all of us, is afraid of opening the heart. I am afraid of feeling the pain of other people, I am afraid of feeling the pain of the earth. I am afraid of letting go of my illusion of control, I am afraid of being hurt by other people, or emptied out by other people. It seems easier to distract myself than to pay attention to the fear around my heart.

But this too is a part of the dance. We have to be aware of our separateness in order to come to awareness of our unity. Because here we are. Here I am in this moment, alive and part of the great circle of life. All the feelings I feel, including fear and separation, are part of the universe at this moment. And, what I have learned from many teachers, is that somehow the only task that matters, the only dance I must do, is to pay attention to the task of the present moment. I am asked to take one step forward, to make the one next choice.

There are many teachers of meditation, in many different traditions. I do not have a particular formula to teach you to use to experience the divine. But many of the mystical systems within the world traditions actually do teach practices, the purpose of which is to help us to work with our fear, and our attachment to separation, and to bring us to that experience of higher consciousness. The Buddha encouraged people not to believe what he taught, but rather to try it out and test it for themselves.  If you want such a formal practice, finding a meditation group with which to work can be very helpful.

Even without a formal practice, we can take small steps. If we can notice the thread of connection between ourselves and one other being, that is a step. When I eat a piece of bread, I might call to mind that I am joining this bread together with my own body—it is becoming human in me. Why do people pray before eating, in so many cultures? There is something about the process of eating that reminds us of our threads of connection.

Even as you sit here reading, notice the sounds that send vibrations across anyone nearby.

If you are outside or near a window, feel the sun on your cheek, and realize that you have a thread of connection across thousands of miles of space—its light is reaching you.

Notice the gravity pulling your body to the ground, attaching you to the chair and the floor beneath your feet.

Notice your breathing, the air going in and out of your nose and mouth.

When you go into the kitchen, and drink a glass of water or a cup of coffee, think about how your body is also a form of water—70% water, and imagine that your hand is pouring water into water.

When you talk to a friend or a stranger, imagine the divine spark inside of them and inside of you, and see how that affects the greeting you bring.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if we use the word God, or God-ing, or light, or love. It doesn’t matter what we call it. What we are reaching for is larger than language, larger than thought. But it is already deep within us—closer than breathing, closer than a song, closer than the DNA of each cell of our bodies. The threads of connection already weave their way into the center of our being, and hold us one to the other. There is a blessing in it, when we can feel it and see it. There is a sense of coming home and a feeling of belonging. May it be so. May we awaken like the spring flowers.

 

Threads of Connection

I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.
                                                                                                 Alice Walker

Daffodils Early MJ DSC03512

We’ve finally arrived in April. In a couple of weeks, the daffodils will begin to bloom in our front yard, and the first bright yellow dandelions will pop open behind the house. The forsythias will be first–maybe as soon as next Sunday?  But I can’t wait for the moment when the first daffodil breaks through its luminescent green casing, opening up pale yellow to reveal an orange center.

In spring, I keep taking short walks around our yard and down the street just to see what will happen next. The small wild strawberry flowers. The green buds of bushes opening into curled leaves. The leaves of the violets coming up out of the bare ground where I thought they might have perished in the fall. And down the road, the first fiddleheads of the ferns beginning to poke through the ground that a day ago had been fern-less.

This awakening seems to happen all at the same time. This week there are the bare branches and brown grasses, and then suddenly, everything will be green and lush and colorful. How do they know to break through, all in the same week? It helps me to understand what I have read about evolution—that species co-evolved with each other. That flowers emerged along with their pollinators, and each flower with its particular pollinator, so interdependent that we do them a sort of injustice to think of them as separate entities.

And of course, the insects will also come out with the flowers here in the spring, small ground bees hovering over the grass as if waking from a long sleep. The hummingbirds will arrive when the pink flowers of the viburnum open near our kitchen window. When the buds begin to get ready, it is our signal to put out the feeder, so we can join in.

All around us, like a choreography of dance, like a vast symphony, the beings of the earth move in harmony. And in this particular time of the year, this beautiful season of awakening, we can see it and hear it and smell it and feel it, if we pay attention. We can feel the threads of connection that make of many beings, one indivisible whole.

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