Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Creativity and a Killing Frost - Nature and Art

Thawing and re-freezing can certainly shake the creative energy of a natural artist. The imbalance of our environment may prove to be a challenge if not acknowledged and treated suitably. I found myself wondering why I froze, which is a quandary since I do not believe in writer's block (and the like) and prefer to accept nature in Her raw form (pertaining to myself as well).

So, I decided to allow the blank page to serve as a tool for re-opening the passageway to my creative essence, trusting that I would get to the bottom of it [deep creative freeze]; and I did. Apparently, my bond to nature is reflected in my reaction to the recent thawing and refreezing of my surroundings. As much as we [as a species] separate ourselves from and try to harness nature; we are very much a part of Her. We have strayed away from our original state of being; however our authentic connection to Our Mother still resonates deeply within. For some this force is more profound than in others.

When allowing myself to merge with the record breaking temperatures by digging in the earth, planting, meandering curiously through the woods, walking barefoot in the mud and snowfield – I started a flow that was promptly interrupted by Our Mother as She reeled us all back in, maintaining balance and returning us to where we should be.

Like the early opening buds of trees, plants and bushes; I responded to the premature warmth, light and melting away of winter. I sat outdoors under the clear canopy of stars while the thunderous night chorus of peepers stirred my heart. I acknowledged how wrong high temperatures [reaching the upper 80’s] are in Northern New England in mid-March. The innocent, childlike part of me wanted to enjoy it, but the intelligent, knowing part of me was aware of the reality of this radical climate change.

I surrendered. I finally removed the sap buckets from the Maple trees and aligned my thinking towards gratitude rather than loss of what could have been. In a tank top and shorts, I planted seeds that were okay to plant when the ground is workable and can handle a frost. I rejoiced that there were no bugs. I went with the insanity and waited for what came next.

With the return of frigid temperatures, (well beyond a killing frost) strong north winds blow hard through the swaying pines. I bundle up in my flannel shirt, winter hat and collect dead wood to stoke the fire.

The crocuses and snowdrops, which wilted in unfamiliar heat, are thriving now. Except for the deepest part of the shaded woods, the snow is gone. Strewn about like abandoned wreckage, autumn remains in decayed brownish remnants. The pond is freezing again.

The night chorus, which was double forte a few nights ago, has diminished into regretful silence. The mountain streams that rushed over and under ground have been humbled to reassuring, melodious quietude. My footsteps – faithful to the cold, frozen in the mud – follow the old logging road, leaving a memory of what was, promising to flourish again. Together we wait.

Journal: Babies Breath

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Balmy Winter Day

I remember that one word spoken in a voice quite like my own. It woke me up. Today when I entered into the woods, I finally understood.


An unbroken stream of sunlight illuminated one particular Balsam tree, making it appear silvery and alone. I shivered as I witnessed ordinary transition to extraordinary in an instant.

The Black Capped Chickadees called to one another, flitting from branch to branch while the upside down bird sang an intuitive rhythm. The forever questioning Goldfinches begged me to follow them beyond the Prayer Rock, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The snow was peppered with an abundance of seeds, fragments of pine cones and half-opened, Copper Beech seed pods. I stopped to fill my pockets with wild tidbits rich with raw earth tones and of appealing texture, envisioning merries not yet created. I got close to admire the delicate lace patterns of shredded moss and lichen that cling to fallen branches, logs and well worn stumps.

The quickening brook carved a clear path through the slushy snow, carrying an assortment of fallen leaves, feathery fronds, curled birch bark and other woody debris. The water was pristine! Grateful, I praised Our Mother.

The sun warmed my face and shoulders. It was odd being in the cool woods in winter wearing shorts, a tank top and my favorite chunky snow boots. The best part was that there were no bugs.

It was too warm – 81 degrees – and there I was, trudging through the snow with my new walking stick that I found at the beginning of the path and later left by a stream when I stopped, distracted by a gathering of diverse mushrooms and a plush, mossy stump.

Soon moose tracks merged onto the path. Secretly I want to catch up with it (I decided that it is a grand bull moose by the size of the tracks), but it doesn’t happen like that. Then I dreamt of how I would respond if I met with a just awakened bear.

More tracks – coyote, deer, rabbit and turkey – enter, cross and leave the trail in somewhat melodic lines. I studied the imprints and wished in a childish way that we could travel together.

In contrary motion, the brook curved in front of me. It seems I crossed it over and over again, this time not jumping far enough and my right boot filled with water. (It’s always the right boot).

Almost home and at the edge of the woods, I stopped and listened carefully for droplets in the maple syrup buckets. Many folks had given up, but I never give up easily. My smile began in my heart and made its way to my face when I distinguished four steady syncopated drips of much different tones. I would make another small batch of maple syrup or at least have delectable sap for making tea. I gave thanks to the great Maples before going indoors to empty my pockets of the divine trinkets gathered on this balmy, winter day.

For those who claim that global warming isn’t real, I would like to invite you in for a cup of wild earth tea. Let’s talk. I mean, I will be the first one to admit that I delighted in walking barefoot in the mud before dashing across the fast melting ice to the snowfield to bathe in the sun. However, while I was sitting on the old log where I often do, I concurred with the forever questioning Goldfinches when wondering what will be?

Journal:Babies Breath