An Awake Heart

This quote by Hāfiz (1325 –1389), a Persian mystical poet, seems an appropriate way to commence this month of love and Valentine’s Day.

A Lake and A Fairy Boat

This is everything

A Lake And A Fairy Boat

A lake and a fairy boat
To sail in the moonlight clear, –
And merrily we would float
From the dragons that watch us here!

Thy gown should be snow-white silk
And strings of oriental pearls,
Like gossamers dipped in milk,
Should twine with thy raven curls!

Red rubies should deck thy hands,
And diamonds should be thy dower –
But fairies have broke their wands,
And wishing has lost its power!

By Thomas Hood

Curated from Snowwolfs Woodland Nook
Artist: Charlotte Bird

Come Home to Nature

This art + poetry speaks to my heart. The forest is magic and full of sparkles.

Come home to the forest
Where time goes slow
and the breath is mellow
Where thoughts find rest
and calm comes to nest .
Come home to the woods
to be friends with trees
and listen to the breeze
to wander through trails
and mend your sails .
Come home to nature
when your heart is hurting
or your soul needs healing .
When something feels wrong
or you just need a place to belong .
The forest awaits
Come home, be healed …

-Bidushee Phukan-

Art by Elaine Bayley. Curated from Coyote Watch Canada

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

When the sun aligns through this gap in the stones it can only mean one thing… we’re close to the Winter Solstice.

Photo by Nick Bull https://twitter.com/EH_Stonehenge

Stonehenge was built to frame this annual solar event, so the monument has been silently marking the Solstice for thousands of years.

This shortest day of the year marks the official beginning of astronomical winter, as opposed to meteorological winter, which starts about three weeks prior to the solstice, according to almanac.com/content/first-day-winter-winter-solstice

To celebrate, try going on a nature walk, create a Yule log, set out seed for birds, light a candle, or build an indoor or outdoor fire.

What will you choose to do to celebrate the solstice tradition?

***

I found this lovely poem by British writer Susan Cooper

THE SHORTEST DAY

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen,
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them|
Echoing, behind us — listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight
This shortest day
As promise wakens in the sleeping land.
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year, and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Welcome December in Haiku, Quote, and Song

Another month, another season, another year gone!
Where did the time go?

I wrote a spur-of-the-moment haiku to celebrate the first of December. While it was sunny and a balmy eighty degrees last week, the weather since turned cold and overcast and I’m freezing. My creative writing professor should be happy that I can still turn out a passable 5-7-5.

On this gloomy day
Slate sky; the clouds heavily
Pregnant with iced rain.

Dr. Seuss wrote this about December, too…

“How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”

Joni Mitchell and The Circle Game, all about seasons. It’s definitely the mood of the day.

Dragonfly To My Heart

I’m not sure why, because there’s not any water in my pond right now, but the garden was full of little dragonflies today, which made me extraordinarily happy.

The temps are up again, nearly ninety degrees, so hot it dried the sheets on the line in about half an hour, but the humidity is low with these Santa Ana winds. It’s way more pleasant than the heat/humidity wave we experienced a few weeks ago, and the nights are blissfully cool.

“I heard the wind whisper and the earth sigh, it made my soul smile as I walked by.”
Michelle Schaper

“Here Kitty, Kitty!”

Besides me, who wants to pet my beautiful bobcat?

It’s the witching hour…the veil is thinning…it’s the time when all my nocturnal creatures visit Casa de Enchanted Seashells. PS Check out the exact time of this video, lol.

‘Tis the Witching Time of Night

by John Keats

‘Tis ” the witching time of night”,
Orbed is the moon and bright,
And the stars they glisten, glisten,
Seeming with bright eyes to listen —
For what listen they?
For a song and for a charm,
See they glisten in alarm,
And the moon is waxing warm
To hear what I shall say.
Moon! keep wide thy golden ears —
Hearken, stars! and hearken, spheres!
Hearken, thou eternal sky!
I sing an infant’s lullaby,
A pretty lullaby.
Listen, listen, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Though the rushes that will make
Its cradle still are in the lake;
Though the linen then that will be
Its swathe, is on the cotton tree;
Though the woollen that will keep
It warm is on the silly sheep —
Listen, stars’ light, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Child, I see thee! Child, I’ve found thee
Midst of the quiet all around thee!
Child, I see thee! Child, I spy thee!
And thy mother sweet is nigh thee!
Child, I know thee! Child no more,
But a Poet evermore!
See, see, the lyre, the lyre,
In a flame of fire,
Upon the little cradle’s top
Flaring, flaring, flaring,
Past the eyesight’s bearing.
Awake it from its sleep,
And see if it can keep
Its eyes upon the blaze —
Amaze, amaze!
It stares, it stares, it stares,
It dares what no one dares!
It lifts its little hand into the flame
Unharmed, and on the strings
Paddles a little tune, and sings,
With dumb endeavour sweetly —
Bard art thou completely!
Little child
O’ th’ western wild,
Bard art thou completely!
Sweetly with dumb endeavour,
A Poet now or never,
Little child
O’ the western wild,
A Poet now or never!

Autumnal Equinox | Fall Into Place

Fall, the portal to change, starts today.

Autumn is a bittersweet season for me. I love cooler nights, but the earlier and earlier sunsets are depressing.

The falling of leaves is a sign of death. All over my garden, plants are transitioning into their end of life, slowing their growth and dying. This is the time I rake and rake and rake.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I read that at the exact moment of the Autumnal Equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator, and an enormous “snake of sunlight” is said to slither down the stairs of the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico. How cool would it be to actually visit there and experience this amazing event!

Also tonight “the moon is void of course.” I don’t know what that actually MEANS, but it sounds so snarky, contemptuous, and dismissive — even taunting — like OF COURSE the moon is void, how stupid can you be!

Or…it could be me simply being ultra sensitive to any slight or attack on my intelligence. Here’s what it really means…The void of course moon occurs when the moon makes its final major aspect with another planet before changing signs, which means the moon will now be in Libra.

To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,

   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

   Steady thy laden head across a brook;

   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?

   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

   Among the river sallows, borne aloft

      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;

      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Mother Nature Requires Our Attention

If tonight’s Harvest Moon along with Mercury Retrograde isn’t enough energy, here in SoCal, the outer bands of Hurricane Kay — now Tropical Storm Kay — woke me up with high winds and spotty rain, just an amuse-bouche of what’s to come tonight and tomorrow.

My windchimes are going crazy. I think I better take them down before the fifty mile an hour winds cause them to crash and break.

It’s still really HOT; the high temp for today will be right around ninety degrees, but next week’s forecast looks to be back to normal and cooler.

There have been several small fires in the area, but the larger one, the Fairview Fire, located northeast in Hemet has burned more than 27,000 acres moving toward Temecula. Lots of people and animals have been evacuated.

As of 9:00 a.m. here’s a CalFire update:

#ForkFire 780 acres, 20 % contained
#RadfordFire 1,088 acres, 59% contained
#BarnesFire 2,943 acres, 0% contained
#MillFire 3,935 acres, 80% contained
#MountainFire 11,690 acres, 55% contained
#MosquitoFire 14,250 acres, 0% contained
#FairviewFire 27,463 acres, 5% contained

Emergency officials warn us that this incoming storm could cause dangerous flooding and countywide damage.

I’m paying attention to Mother Nature for sure, I feel like I should contribute some kind of offering to her to show respect for her power.

She’s NOT playing around, a bit different than the gentle and nurturing mother Emily Dickinson wrote about:

Mother Nature

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, —
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, —
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

August Musings

This poem by Mary Oliver makes me think of the Pacific Northwest where blackberries grow freely on every fence and in every alley and all along the path we take to walk to the Salish Sea.

The Angel kids, as they carefully pick blackberries to avoid thorns, their faces and hands stained purple, turn now and again to share, “Here’s a nice big one for you, Grandma!”

August

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.