Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Solstice Shining



My Sister lives on a Christmas tree farm. And while last Monday was the polar opposite to the 25th of December, as I set out on my late afternoon walk, alone, I could feel the happy ghosts of holidays past around me, the slight echo of delight as families decided, "Yes, this one. This tree will come home with us!"


Visions of snow melted away in the heat of the sun, gold, as I followed the path up a slight incline as it snaked unknowingly out of sight. I stayed on the path as I have stayed on the path. It has been a time of feeling forward blind but my eyes were kissed with beauty at every step on this Summer Solstice day, the longest of the year and one brimming with good intentions.


I had been reading a bit of astrology - whispering to the mystical to come back in to hold me up if it could, just like it did in childhood - about this event punctuated with the second consecutive full moon in Sagittarius, not only a blue moon but a Strawberry one, previously so called by the Algonquin people as they were able to pick the sweet fruit under its soft glare. This conjuncture - the first during my lifetime - was predicted to be the end of a chapter, not only delineating the final phase of what has been a challenging first half of 2016, but to something greater within ourselves. 


My senses were on high. It felt so expansive to be out in the country, breathing deeply. How could I not feel a surge of joy? I withdrew the newly repaired iphone out of my pocket again and again, framing with decisiveness then to photograph, "Yes, this one. This I will take home with me." Dust on my toes, heel slapping flip-flops with the occasional vague swipe to clinging bits of pollen across my bare legs. Warmth spread around me without the sweat, no pain just a floating fearless fine being.


As I crested the hill, I caught at the breeze with outstretched fingers and began my descent, careful to crunch a little more quietly as I came towards the opening where my Sister had mentioned that deer could sometimes be caught unaware. No, today it was just the fields and me. I paused to look down at the patterns in the dust, fallen branches and traces of previous passerby, myself included. "I was here then and I am today." Click, click and click.



The shade beckoned, as did the promise of the creek that was my destination. Bubbling water holds an inexplicable draw - maybe for hopscotching back to memories of chasing crawdads or maybe with the promise of what it could carry swiftly away in its current.



Stepping onto the gray wooden slats of the open bridge, I heard a crash to my right and froze. Snaps of grass breaking drew my gaze downstream then up to the ridge directly noon in front of me where a deer - a young buck? - was bounding away. Mid-gasp of surprise, I heard the sound and saw the movement repeated as a second followed, fleeing, with a white undertail flipping goodbye. I reached to follow them with my camera, so late, having been paralyzed by their effortless grace. ("How can I describe the way that they leaped and hung in the air?" I asked my Sister the next day, knowing I wanted to write about them. "A jété?" she suggested and we both nodded in agreement.) The afternoon draped languidly across the treetops and the world seemed a bit proud of itself, this Summer Solstice shining so brightly with gifts given and the receiving of pure joy.

             (Click to enlarge and then look in the middle of the path)

I shook my head slowly, a smile lifting my lips and turned back towards the comfort of my Sister's floorboard creaking Victorian house, lighter than when I started out, buoyed with quiet if completely unspecific relief. The day played itself out with the lacsidaisical shuffle of an old-school card game. Me, I was waiting for the moon. I love la belle lune and always have.


With night finally ascending, I let the screen door sigh shut behind me and headed out, hunting. Through the stolid shelter of the pines, I could see a light and headed towards it...but it was no moon. Across the indigo sky a massive storm cloud surged, blotting out the stars. Within it, lightning snapped laterally, playing tag with pockets of humidity until the mottled gray throbbed, pulsing. But the pines sighed comfortingly and so I watched, open-mouth gazing without a worry that a stray bolt could find me until the game was no longer so amusing.


I know that I have mentioned Tara Brach quite a lot recently. Her talks and writing are what have helped me the most (along with my walking and walking) during these past few months. When so much of one's world has disappeared with a magician's puff of smoke, thoughts can take a "pride of place" in the mind, shouting out in otherwise empty rooms. Now, that can lean in the direction of obsession or make the place for change.

One of the themes that she touches upon repeatedly (and often with humor) is a gentle reminder that thoughts "are real but not true" and that with compassionate reflection we can trace back those of the consistently negative variety to our core beliefs about ourselves. While waiting for the devilish storm to pass and lifted with courage from the simple splendor of the day, I felt safe enough to admit my old ones deep - like worry beads rolled between my fingers - which keep me seprarate within our amazing world; those that declare "I am unlovable" and "There is something wrong with me/ I don't belong." But somehow, I was no longer afraid of those ideas anymore. I stepped back outside to find my friend.


The moon had risen, the storm passed on. There was mon copain, playing cache-cache behind the trees. "Move further back, out into the open," it said; so I did and was flooded in its rays that reached through to my bones, sweeping me clean. As I stood there on the grass, the light shown into the darkness of my misconceptions and told me that I was very much a part of our complex world, that I had an important place in it just as we all do. That while I have my faults, I am not broken and in that moment I felt very connected to everyone and everything and in so being, felt very loved. And loving too.

"I am grateful, grateful, grateful," I sang to the moon, the sun and the hope that a new chapter had just begun.

 ****


 Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
I am heading back out to my Sister's where I have less time on the internet - and yes, that is a good thing - so I hope you will pardon me if I am not as present here in the next few days.
Be well,
Heather

53 comments:

  1. I am a new follower (although I've seen your comments on Have Some Decorum for ages). Love your writing!
    Best & Bisous,
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

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    1. Hello Michelle!

      Thank you for your comment and for being here. Bienvenue. :) There are lots of wonderful people here too.

      You must be so excited about Ellie coming home.

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  2. Who says about, is it Michigan, oh, the light, the light? As of today, after being so moved by your photos, I do. Then, slowly you brought us along into your text, even more wonderful than the photos. Lighten from within? within you? In these days, to be filled with joy and hope is quite something. Your essay today did that for and to me. Thank you. And for you, happiest post solstice wishes. I am so happy, I believe, with you. mil abrazos, joan

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    1. Joan, a response like this (and most certainly from you who is extreeemely parsimonious) is why I keep going. Done.
      much love to you

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    2. Oh - and Michiganders definitely know and are proud of the beauty here!

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  3. This post is like the big hug I long to give you one day. In person.

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  4. Keep writing....don't ever stop. We are all the richer for it...

    Ali

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    1. I am richer from my friendship with you.

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  5. I have a question......do you know how you dogs are? And are they with Remi? I am interested and care about you....I also care about them! I also care mightily about Teddy! Any news there? Do you know ?

    I hope you are keeping track of your dogs.....and what is happening with them.....we all care about them as well as you!!!

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  6. Please answer. Many of us care about both your beautiful dogs....and Teddy.

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    1. I believe that you mean well but your questions brought up pain for me as being separated from the boys is one of the most challenging aspects of this time. They are with Remi and are doing very well. Dogs adapt. I even had an update on Ben from my friend Claire who is our vet.
      Teddy is still up for adoption but is also happy and good. Will post photos soon from lind folks in the area who visited.

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  7. So glad you are writing from your heart - well, you always do - without regard for "numbers"/reactions. And glad your heart was triggered here - no doubt it will be a safe haven for you! These photos are beautiful and, of course, I share some of your core beliefs - the "negative" ones - which I am working, through nature and other sources to turn around. The positive in all this might just be sister/bonding/healing time, and YES to a new phase being ushered in! A phase of strength and peace and clarity...YES.

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    1. "A phase of strength and peace and clarity...YES."
      Can I get an Amen? YES...even when it is a rough road...we are still on it!

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  8. Such thoughtful, lovely musings, as always. Enjoy the respite with your sister. Being away from the internet is, these days, a great relief...and you don't need the internet to keep writing. Yes, please keep writing.
    XOXO, Victoria

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  9. Beauty and honesty shining through in your writing. Superb writing lately!
    Clear away the dark thoughts and open it up, to let the sunshine in.
    Keep well and happy!
    Best wishes to you.
    Deb from Melbourne

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    1. Trying, Deb. :) I admit it helps to have the sun. Arriving here in the gray snow was challenging...
      Best wishes to you too!

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  10. A beautiful path.

    Your photos almost look paintings with the vivid greens, different shades of gold and yellow, the clouds and clear blue sky and end with the early sunset and the summer soltice moon:”The moon had risen, the storm passed on… in that moment I felt very connected to everyone and everything and in so being, felt very loved. And loving too.”

    Yes.

    Enjoy your stay with you sister.

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    1. Thank you, Edgar. I am back in Ypsilanti with my Mom and miss the space already.

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  11. Such a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. I am so glad that you appreciated it Carolyn.

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  12. Nature's solace is amazing. You've written so beautifully about the uncertainties and longings that you are experiencing and that so many of us experience at some time in life. You are worthy of being loved. Yes.

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  13. Beautiful post Heather. That storm photo, incomparable. Your path is working.

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    1. I hope so, Bonnie. Otherwise I will be knocking on your door!

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  14. You are on such a remarkable journey, Heather. Thank you for sharing it with us all. Stay on your path ~ you seem to be finding your direction. Hugs, Jackie

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  15. Your photos are simply stunning! Such a beautifully written post!

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    1. Merci! Trying my best with the little iphone. :)

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  16. The light in your photos is amazing. I hope the new chapter in your life will bring you abundant blessings.

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    1. I am hoping for peace inside, Loree, more than anything...

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  17. I've not wanted a farm proper, although have always thought I'd love a Christmas tree farm. It has to be good vibes. Haven't ever thought of the magic they might contain in true growing season; let alone on the longest day of the year! This post and its photos are so lovely, evocative, and exquisite. Enjoy that light and may it keep shining!

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    1. And right back to you, friend...and may it shine into our hearts too.

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  18. Beautiful photos. Beautiful words.

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  19. Exquisite and profound, for me! Your writing and your images touch my heart! So wonderful to see the river flowing!
    Gros bisous!

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    1. Have been thinking of you Judi. I owe you an email...

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    2. An email would be lovely, but you don't owe me - whenever the mood strikes or you want to share, that will be just marvy! :)

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  20. Wow, so beautiful! I think you can make us get lost anywhere. Your words and images make me want to be there too. ;-)

    The older I get the more I miss nature. There is not much around where I live. And your post came right in time for me.

    As always, I wish you Strenght and Confidence on your path.

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    1. Silke, I always knew that the beauty of nature was important to me but I had no idea that it could be so powerful in terms of being a source of unconditional love to help heal.
      xo

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  21. How did I not see this earlier? But I'm glad I eventually did see it. Beautiful photos. I can practically smell it. There are things to rejoice over every day. It's good to hear you focusing on them. They are a source of strength.
    Thinking of you.

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    1. I have been reading Thich Nhat Hanh and he is great at suggesting finding the positive possible everywhere. It helps so much.

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  22. Dear Heather,

    What a lovely, evocative posting; your photographs were particularly compelling this time around.

    Do take time to recall (no matter what happens, how things turn out, etcetera)that "Un hommme qui n'est plus capable de s'emerveiller a pratiquement cesse de vivre".

    So, Heather?.....take Mr. Einstein's advice (yes, he wrote that quotation); keep seeing and keep on writing.

    fondly,

    david terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. I felt partly dead when I got here David. And I was. And so it really scared me that I could not connect to that wonder and awe that keep my heart beating. But even on the worst days there would be tiny flickers of promise that it wasn't really gone just wounded.

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  23. Captivating captures of summer's beauty. I particularly love the moon shot :)

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    1. Keith! So good to hear from you. And I took many to get that photo - it was a gift. :)

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  24. Simply beautiful, Heather. We left Arles on Thursday after sixteen beautiful days, made all the more enjoyable thanks to the thoughtful information you sent me. Merci mille fois. You are such a talented writer ... there's a book in this ...

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