Monday, April 18, 2011
Bittersweet: Today I Walked in the Woods
Last year’s berries look deceivingly fresh as they retain their redness. I pick one with a complete set of leaves to bring inside to identify for foraging. I have some knowledge, yet much more to learn. I am thinking that they are teaberry or wintergreen – a literal trail mix. If that is the case, then I will harvest the current season crop and make my own wintergreen oil, which sadly has become a commercial chemical product.
I let go of the week’s worries; this is what matters. Our Mother does not ask for anything other than the opportunity to continue to give us what we need – her thriving health. We need Her to thrive in order to thrive. How simple is that? How hard is that? Once we have lost it, we have lost the spirit, our origins, the core of our ancestors and the Creator Herself. She will carry on with or without us. I believe that She wants us to win; but we have to want that as well.
I stood at the edge of the small valley and remembered when it was all green. Last season I collected blackberries and raspberries there. I paused at what was left of the milkweed; soon butterflies will visit, especially the monarchs, which is where they lay their eggs.
The remnants of winter decay carpets the floor of the woods in morbid beauty. Death – orange, brown, gray and pearl white. Branches and twigs snap beneath my feet as I walk. The angelic white mushrooms perched on the log last December remain in place, ready to take flight. I stop and brush away brittle leaves, bark and pine needles to reveal new growth of what I believe to be ferns coiled in perfect circles of hope.
When I come into the house, I relish the scent of fresh air and the peppery woods, which clings to my clothes and hair. I used to like that about my cats. When they came inside, I picked them up and buried my face in their clean fur; it smelled deliciously like the “outdoors.”
It’s still cold outside, in the low forties. But it is not raining or snowing.
After lighting my writing candle and burning sage, I sit and write of all that there is or isn’t, while listening to ambient music that becomes the soundtrack to my inner life until I return to the woods tomorrow and listen to the rain as it washes away the sins of mankind, hoping for redemption.