Open Air Affair

Yesterday, while enjoying the view of the yard from my griffin chair near my front door, an urge took root. It began slowly, gently, enticing me with a soft hand. I smiled coyly. “Surely not”, my reply. Yet, the call to my primal instincts persisted.

Across the yard, things began to take a more urgent approach. “C’mon, you know you want this…you need this. It’s been too long and I know you can’t resist. Won’t resist.” I avert my gaze until I focus on several Chickadees darting back and forth to the feeder. “Nice try”, my seducer taunted. I felt a blush cast a crimson shadow upon my face.

Why am I so easy, so shameless? Has experience and life taught me that the taste of regret is punishingly sour and has a way of permeating of all your senses until you can’t savor anything else?  I am willing to acknowledge and accept consequences for my actions, this is the way of the Witch. No devil to blame and no savior to rescue me with flimsy excuses that have to do with the fall of man and the whore with an apple. Oh, please. It all comes down to free will and choice. Some choices are unwise, but wrong? I never look at things that way, trusting that all things have a purpose. Why blame the woman, or even the snake when the man is the one who made the choice to allow himself to be enticed?

So, here too am I. In the garden, alone, with the call of the wild reaching a feverish pitch. I bolt from my chair and stroll across the yard, soon my steps are falling faster, harder. I reach out and touch. It’s cool and a bit rough beneath the softness of my hand. It feels nice and not unexpected. Then, as my senses join with those of my beloved, I feel the beating of a generous heart.

It has been too long. Soon my arms lock in a rapturous embrace. Are the neighbors watching? I am long past noticing or caring. I feel the closeness of yet another lover near by. I depart from the sheltering arms of my current paramour and find wicked pleasure in those arms as well. I am a hussy.

Suddenly, the voice of South Park’s  Cartman echoes in my ears. Or, am I reading the thoughts of my husband who is grilling steaks and has been observing the whole time? “It’s just a bunch of tree hugging hippie crap!”

No, just a Witch who knows that connecting with life is not limited to that which wears a suit of human skin. It’s in all of life, not only in that which has been categorized as worthy or superior by those who feel qualified to make those distinctions.

I embrace Stevie again. The corkscrew willow, named for the solitary spiral dance performed by Stevie Nicks as she sings. Another hug for Evelyn Crabtree, whose blossoms are getting ready for her big performance when she will appear in a glorious cloud of intoxicatingly sweet white flowers. Yes, I feel the them in their infancy. It’s what happens when you open the doors of your mind and spirit and proclaim your readiness to receive. Never take this lightly or with out full acceptance of what will follow, for you cannot go back to unknowing, unfeeling.

What do my neighbors think? Probably not much beyond paying little attention to the eccentric among them. In Madison there is an appreciation for the diverse and the free thinkers. It’s a source of pride and lends an aura of sophistication that transcends the urge to stare, point, or even find the unusual to be unusual at all.

Apparently, I have reached the point of being acceptably ‘weird’. I like that. Keeping up appearances or resorting to mimicry to ‘fit in’ is degrading and uses up energy that shouldn’t be wasted on being anything but authentic.   No matter, I will carry on this love affair with trees, with rocks, with animals, with all of life, in the open, as long as I live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nature Comes A Callin’

The lull between Samhain and Yule, is for many, a time to gear up for the shopping, seasonal decorating, baking and planning for family gatherings. Long past is the era that knew the need to read  omens and pay attention to each nuance the world outside the confines of our air tight, well insulated lives has to offer.

A shift has happened within me and I am no longer all that interested in the mundane, commercial side of life.  Instead, everyday my mind wanders off to the land of the ‘wild things’. Even as I work at my desk all week, I peer around the maze of cubicles to focus on life outside the window. The second story view allows me to take in the expanse of sky and tree line of the well landscaped grounds that blend into the Nature preserve that boarders the company’s campus.

Something inside me, a knowing that has become so much a part of me that goes well beyond impulse, has me searching this enchanted realm with the sharp eyed gaze of the Hawk that summoned me in the first place. With the precision of a high powered spotting scope, I home in on his form in the upper branches of a distant tree. I knew exactly where to look as if he had suddenly sent up a flare to get my attention. His message for me is unmistakable, and I take a great measure of comfort in having received it.

This is my life now. My commute home is consumed by the anticipation of occupying my own ‘perch’. A flurry of Dove wings going aloft, accompanied by the squeaky hinge sound they make, greets me as I open the front door. Hot beverage in one hand, I knock the hard, frozen daubs of bird shit off my chair with the other. Dressed in layers, that end with my long black cape, serve as my own cozy cocoon. The twig table at my side holds my cup of steaming broth and the iron griffon headed arms of the chair reach out to hold me. The only thing left to do is allow the deep rolling exhalation of air escape my smiling lips. It freezes instantly, a wispy, swirling web of white…this is the color of a sigh.

The sharp, jagged cut of frigid wind has been here for some time now. From time to time the last vestiges of warmth would taunt those too naïve to accept that it was not going to stick around. As for me, I’ve looked at a map and a calendar and know full well that based upon my location in one of the Northern states, it was going to get cold, snow and freeze. To expect anything else is a ridiculous waste of time and energy. When the barrage of complaints about the inevitable hurtle toward me, my verbal targe is already in position to fend them off. “I like Winter” I declare, ” if I didn’t I’d move to where they didn’t have it”. Even though the season exists in other places, it is not synonymous with ‘glacial tundra’ the way it is here. Why the hell be miserable? Constant complaining does not have the effect of Magick words. Swaying palms will not appear and runners of baking sand will not unfurl before them unless they go to where those things exist…unless they’re willing to do that, I wish they’d spare me the daily onslaught of weather rants.

There is something about the first true dumping of snow that relays the message that the final curtain has fallen. Thanks again to my trusty calendar, I know that Yule is over a month away, but once that snow yanks up the corners and blankets everything, ‘Winter’ is getting comfortable, settling in and has no intention of leaving for the best part of 6 months.

I had wandered down to the great room around midnight and stood before the window. Once again, the call of the wild filled my ears and stirred the embers that fed the fire of my desire to be more ‘out’ than ‘in’. The originator of that call doesn’t have a clock and wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn about the late hour even if it did. This time, a Rabbit demanded my attention with the urgency of a child yanking at my hem. It foraged for fallen seed at the base of my Bird feeders, imprinting the snow with a series of dots and dashes that it leaves behind as if there was black ink on its paws, stamping a sheet of unmarked, virgin white stationary. I climb back up the stairs and head down the hall to the bedroom, and burrow beneath my brocade comforter. A deliberately implanted, vision is conceived followed by the birth of a dream, of…what else…uninterrupted wilderness and Wolves, Bobcats and Bears…oh, my.

So, it’s all official now. Time to swap the lawn mower for the snow blower in the spot near the garage door for easy access. A quiet sense of joy fills my heart. The example that Mother Nature leads with, to go within and find comfort and solace near hearth and home, displays a wild side this year. That is the one that I see and that is the one that I will emulate. The whole thing seems void of choice and effortless. Without so much as the inkling of forethought, I am driven to be as close to all things wild as often as possible. If I was one of them, the ones that live in the forest, in the fields, breaking trails that wind through prairie lands, I’d be reacting to what is referred to as ‘basic instinct’. Wouldn’t we all if we blocked out the din of the ‘tame’ world that we have erected and sought refuge in, as if what’s ‘out there’ is something to fear and in some cases, something to loathe?

I will write about what I see, but more importantly, what I feel as I explore and discover the places that I am drawn to because what is hidden there and the messages that ride on the wind might not be just for me alone. You, the reader, might hear something too, feel a stirring or sense a shift in the stony plates that pave your usual highway and transform it into a path carpeted with moss and fallen leaves. But, for now, I must bring an end to this entry that carries ‘Winter’ on it’s back, for I hear Nature calling to me, “come outside and play”.

Shhhhhh

Your yard is speaking. Is it screaming, “MOW ME” or “WEEDS, WEEDS, WEEDS”? How you respond can make the difference between the Magickal and the mundane.

I can remember living in apartments when my yard consisted of a four by four-foot balcony or the stretch of side-walk from my front door to the parking lot. At one time, we lived in a side by side duplex and actually had a yard. I’d sit out there for hours and think of all the ways I’d change it and make it ‘my’ space had it really been mine. I got to plant my own flowers as well as maintain what the landlords had put in, but it was not the same as envisioning and designing and finally breathing life into something personal and beautiful.

Manifesting is a glorious thing!!! I have a yard of my own. Every year, starting in January when a thick batting of glistening white snow still covers my yard and my perennials lay beneath it, brittle, crystalline blossoms and stems, it begins…I clear the library shelves of gardening books and whoop for joy when my seed catalogs begin to arrive. Out comes my sketch pad and lists are made.

Lawn is so overrated. It’s not good for the environment and unless you grow native species, the up keep is futile when the heat and humidity and lack of rain turns it into something brown that crunches beneath your feet. Grass shouldn’t ‘crunch’. Going barefoot becomes a ballet on razor blades. But, it provides me with the bliss of replacing it with beds and borders of colorful blooms.

Native grasses are considered ‘weeds’ but I allow as many of them as I can to invade my lawn until the neighborhood association gets militant on my green ass. When the lawn is a sea of brown, what springs eternally emerald? My ‘weeds’. Besides, if what I wanted in a yard was a pristine, manicured expanse of lawn, I’d go live at the golf course.

The wildlife is also welcomed with no regard as to what they may destroy. I put wire fences around my flower beds when the Rabbits gnaw my investment to stubs and put out extra ‘critter chow’ in their dishes. After all, what lays beyond my open door is their home. I am simply allowed to share it with them.

Bird feeders, as well, are open to the public. Discriminating against Birds who ‘eat too much’ would be like getting turned away at the buffet because of your size. So, ok…I have combination Bird/Squirrel feeders. The show those little gray acrobats put on never fails to bring a dopey grin to my face. Chase them away? Not in this yard.

My Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks march their new families out with pride. The babies find their way beneath the feeders and become furry Roombas, vacuuming up what spills. Soon they catch on too and join their parents in following the lady in the big, showy hat with the peanuts in her pocket (that would be me). They shove the nuts in their cheeks until they’re so full they can’t even close their mouths.

So, how do I view this paradise of my own making? A place that requires hours of toil and trouble or is this sacred space? I always know when I’ve crossed that line. My flowers sadly hang their heads, and even the fountain in the pond no longer splashes a happy song.

When it becomes ‘work’ instead of a privilege, it’s time to remember the woman who longed for a yard of her own. Once the proper mindset is achieved and the joy of creation and the pride of ownership take over and reclaim this Magickal Space, it all transforms.

Everything is bathed in a golden, rosy glow. I have things growing that defy any explanation as to how they even got there. I have a Mullein that appeared from the ethers and is the size of something you’d expect to see at Findhorn. My Yucca is huge and has three towering spires of white blossoms. Three is a Magickal number in the Craft.

It’s like an international airport out there. Birds and furry little beings coming and going through out the day, all with their own agendas, busily eating, creating new homes or just playing.

The fountain in the pond plays a merry tune as Dragonflies perch on water plants, their gossamer wings reflecting the light like pave’ jewels. Butterflies provide an aerial show and a Humming Bird zips past my head so close that the wind from its wings stirs my hair.

At night, the light show begins as strings of little white bulbs pop on and solar stems change color. Fireflies flicker until the whole thing looks like someone above is showering it all with silver glitter. My husband calls it my ‘Rivendell’.

Sometimes a fire is made in the ‘cauldron’ and a new gourmet s’more is invented. Orange flavored dark chocolate on a chocolate graham cracker, the marshmallow toasted to the perfect golden hue. Mmmm. Pistachio studded milk chocolate and a chocolate flavored marshmallow smacked between two Walker shortbread rounds…oh yeah.

Listen to your yard. Look at it with Magickal eyes and you will truly be seeing it for the first time. It will respond, love for love. It’s not a ‘chore’ to take care of it, it’s an honor. Name your Trees as I did and hug them once in a while. If you’re really concerned about being watched, a cloak of invisibility spell will preserve your dignity. Unless, you do as I do and toss it to the wind. Dance in the sprinkler, knowing that Faeries will join you. Laugh hysterically…it’s required.

Even if your yard is a balcony and your paths are concrete, put a flower in a fanciful container and call it a garden. Flowers love complements so tell her she’s beautiful every day. Toss some seeds in a pot and you can grow a salad. A basil plant will keep you in pesto all Summer long.

Well, I should stop or this book will never fit on the shelf. Besides, a corner of the Woodland Garden wants a make-over and the Cardinal is calling my name. I can’t wait to get out there and tend to my very Magickal Space. This is joy.

This is home, theirs and mine. Flora and Fauna. This is our “Enchanted”.

I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures as much as I enjoy sharing them.