July

a little of madness, a little of wisdom

spin the compass in the midst of winter

a wild circling, a dance that keeps your heart awake

July – midwinter – sitting on one of the turning points of the year and feeling both the pull to go out into the dark, the cold, and the desire to keep warm and safe.

And realising that sitting in between these points achieves nothing.

There are choices to be made, risks to be taken.

Sometimes we need to use a tool to give us direction, and sometimes we need to be prepared to feel a little vulnerable, a little reckless.

It all keeps the blood pumping rich and hot, even if our breath and fingertips are freezing.

February 2019

filling the space,

every window shows your face,

your multitudes, your bright insistence

February calendar post at last!!

Why has it taken so long – no idea – beyond printer not working, going back to work after summer holiday, and putting my time into painting.

Anyway – here ‘tis. This is my world, my green view – this is what I see if I feel like a spot of daydreaming.

And now that the cicadas have come out in force at last, I wonder if a big shiny insect might have been a better image. Still – they need the trees and trust me – they are all over these.

veriditas

veriditas

green hands
hold the sky, shelter the land
dance in the half-light, verdant choreography

filling the space
every window shows your face
your multitudes, your bright insistence

the falling begins
the withdrawal, the sheltering
hold life close to your heart and release the past

bright jewels fall
from your fingers, painting the ground
colours from a royal palette – amber, ruby, amethyst

release the lost ones
shelter those come home
clear a path, light a candle, set the table, close the door

deepen your shadows
rich histories beckon as we go into the dark
slow mysteries in the undergrowth, bright eyes watching

a little madness, a little wisdom
spin the compass in the midst of winter
a wild circling, a dance that keeps your heart awake

there is beauty in your ravaged body
and shelter still between your naked arms
not barren, only sleeping; not alone, the night birds are watching

awaken, unfold, arise
bathe in sunlight and transform it
green energy ebbs and flows in your veins

waking slowly, you smile
and colour bursts across the hillsides
fat, furry bees investigate your sleeves

standing tall
arms heavy with flowers
you reach for the earth and greet the sky

walk the green labyrinth
end the year at the beginning
follow root and stem to the source

veriditas

Unlike other years, when I’ve spent these weeks before the end of December putting together my calendar for the following year, this time I’ve started with and completed the text first.
Previously, I’ve chosen the photos that “spoke” to me, and then recorded their message. This time, I started gathering photos and realised I was choosing pictures of trees, and that there was a voice coming even though I didn’t have all the photos yet.
So I decided to let the voice speak, and I’ll revisit my selection and find or take new photos as required.

These verses begin with January and work their way to December. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, this might make more sense if you start in the middle.

And – veriditas – one of the three “v” words that have both well and truly settled into me and become a form of expression. I’ll post some work on the others in the new year.

©clairegriffin2018

November

IMG_1223

ready to release and renew

there is beauty in the most humble

even the dandelion longs to sing

This time of year is full of spirit, talk of the thin veil, acknowledging ancestors.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we are well into spring, and I’m focusing on renewal and finding beauty.

Blossoms are everywhere, scenting the air, delicate pale pink petals on my small apple tree. The weeds are doing their best to compete, bright yellow dandelion flowers shouting from the emerald grass.

This is such an intense time, saturated colour, and the startling speed of new growth.

The flax flowers are almost opening, and when they do, tui will circle the house, then land and feed.

And I’ve been reflecting on how I can release my work into the world. This year has had such a focus on the visual. I’ve been gifting paintings to my friends. My own little efforts to bring beauty into the world. My little blossoms in the wind …

October

IMG_0862

rain falls

each drop, a gift from sky to land

rests gently on the earth

 

A few thoughts…

This morning began with rain, the gentle rain that collects and settles on leaves.

The photos for this calendar were all taken last year. I took another photo this morning that was almost identical – a year apart in time, but connected by rain and light.

There’s little more to say, except that, in these strange times, remembering the gifts the earth gives us could help us remember the gifts we can give each other and ourselves – gentleness, kindness, patience, encouragement.

 

At first I thought that was all I had to say. I felt an emptiness. I could feel myself casting around for the right words… there are no “right words”. There is only whatever you feel the need to say. There is only the saying of whatever it is you are feeling.

I feel the same rage that rises in so many women around the world. Frustration with the inequalities in our societies, with the sense of entitlement that so many express. There’s a part of me that wants to join in the cries of “burn it down!”. I don’t want to feel helpless, I don’t want to feel afraid. I’m drawn to myths of Medusa and Kali and the Morrigan. And yet I feel the witch-wound stirring in my blood, and I wonder if I can be courageous.

All I know is that I have welcomed the crone into my body and soul … and she speaks now, the wise woman, the healer, the mystic.

There’s a part of me that needs to step back, and breathe. Standing barefoot on the cool wet ground this morning, I felt calm and quiet, connected to the rain and the light.

And now – the sun has is out. I bask in her warmth and the wet ground is drying. And there were words, after all.

 

September

IMG_0669

the dark contracts

edges pull together, coalesce into beak and claw and feather

black energy takes form

 

These black beauties are making themselves known. They peck at the edges of the garden, throwing decaying leaves across the driveway. They peck in the guttering, throwing clumps of mucky sludge onto the deck. And they peck at my kitchen window.

Last weekend, there was a tapping at the window. I didn’t realise what it was at first, then one of the cats started looking out the window making that strange chattering, chirruping noise, and I thought, “ah – a bird”. A minute later the pecking noise came again, but I wasn’t quick enough to see who was there. And then – at a different window directly opposite me – a bird started tapping. It seemed to be almost hovering – head bobbing back and forward to tap the glass – wings outstretched. I stepped forward – it looked up, then flew away.

What was its message? Did it have one? Perhaps it was simply a curious youngster intrigued by its own reflection?

I don’t need to know.

What I love is the connection – the bird-world visiting.

And this day – this first day of spring – I feel the dark of winter withdrawing.

It condenses into seed and bud and bird – ready to release its energy into a bright new season.

 

Winter’s Voice

Winter speaks in many voices
the languages of stars, of birds
of wind and rain
and the small dark hollows under trees

she writes her prayers with clouds
she spells the names of dark nights
with the rare bare branches
of this evergreen land
a vegetal alphabet
on her tongue

thunder her drum
lightning her torch
she curses her way across the sky

Winter speaks in many voices

~

today she is sleeping
and all I hear is her slow rhythm
breathing in, breathing out

the canopies of trees swell gently
heads pressing softly together
and Winter rests
cradled in their arms
her cool lips brush
across the tips of leaves

~

today she is weeping
all day her tears have fallen
who does she cry for
what love is lost
how can I hold her
when she slips away
her song riding on the wings of birds

~

today she smiles
and sighs
the day is bright
the sun low, and reaching
deep between branches
Winter whispers to the leaves
naming each one
child, beloved

~

she weeps
tears freeze
her eyelashes brittle and snap in the wind
arms, hair, fists flail across the sky
fury unleashed, and undirected
great gobs of spittle cast against windows

~

she weeps
but these tears cleanse
rinsing dust and dirt and spit
from every branch and leaf
until the world
shines

~

she weeps
she thrashes in her sleep
ripping bedsheet and blanket

she roars
throws dishes across the kitchen
blocks the sink and floods the floor
she breaks the windows and runs barefoot
and bleeding into the night

~

today is fine
still and sunny
quiet

she has brushed her hair
and dressed for lunch
in blue and yellow
she sits with one elbow on the table
wrist arched back
as she might if a cigarette was held between her fingers
she is quiet
reading and tracing the pattern on the tablecloth
with one hand

~

today is fine
blue sky, high clouds
she is silent

~

tonight
she sings
as her daughter
drops her head
slips the cloak of darkness
across her shoulders
and makes her escape

and in the morning
she sings up the sun
whispers into the ears of snails
her voice circling in the spiral hallway
whispering into the quiet spaces between petals
her warm words lifting the feathers
of sleepy birds

~

and today

her breath settles low on the hills
letting the morning wake slowly
she speaks quietly
as the green rises
and the birds wake
and the barefoot creatures
step into the light

©clairegriffin2018