Monday, October 29, 2012

The Bluster Before the Storm

This morning I asked my daughter Meredith to take photos of the stunning foliage we are blessed with on our property.  From our upstairs window it's a blaze of blustery red.  Downstairs, waves of rippling gold leaves heave,  sway and swirl. The lawn is a crinkly carpet of yellow and tarnished brass.  It  casts a light like no other time of year.  The kitchen and great room are bathed in coppery radiance, like the light that streams through the stained glass of a cathedral.

I want her to photograph it to post for Michelle, our daughter in Italy for a semester, because she's missed this annual display and it will likely be gone after Hurricane Sandy blows through.

I venture out for a walk, umbrella in hand, just in case.  It's mild and gusty, perfect for a good aura cleansing!  I send prayers on the currents -- safety for all, especially friends in vulnerable places.  I plant my prayers for the Earth herself, honoring her awesome transformation process, willing to shift with her.  Requesting a most benevolent outcome for all beings as the hurricane crawls up the coast.

So in this auspicious year, very near the cross-quarter day of Samhain, (Celtic for "summer's end," more familiarly known as Halloween), we mark  the start of the dark half of the year.*  Mother Earth is ushering in this time of inward reflection by dancing like a swirling dervish over land and sea. 

At the pond, swaths of wind shudder across the surface like the rustling train of a lady's gown.  Almost all the leaves are fallen.  There is the radiant burning bush.  A string of leaves clings to a vine, fluttering like  Tibetan prayer flags.  Bittersweet has woven itself along the split-rail fence.  The long, leaning grasses of the cattails are fading to straw.  The leaves fly in a tumult -- head over heels or like spinning tops, their stems whirling in a spirally descent onto the water.  At my feet, at the end of the dock, they float, still colorful -- speckled red, mottled pumpkin, crimson flame.  Overhead, the clouds are alive -- low, grey, scudding across the open sky. 

A trio of geese fly overhead, honking and flapping in unison.  A lone swan bleats.  Sparrows hop among the twigs gathered for kindling, restless.

I'm poised in this space between earth and sky.  On the cusp of the dark part of the waning year.  Wanting to save it via photography.  And also willing to let go of what needs to be released.  All these elements -- the trees, the pond, the air and the sky -- are our teachers.  They show us how to yield to change.

Let's see what Sandy has in store for us.  I get home without having to call in a rescue, without having to open my umbrella.  We stow the pumpkins in the garage for safe-keeping until the storm passes through.

*  Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha, "Samhain," Llewellyn's Witches' Date Book 2012, p. 115

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