the falling begins the withdrawal, the sheltering hold life close to your heart and release the past
Our Autumn usually begins in March, but we’ve had such a long, hot summer its hard to imagine the weather changing. But just this morning – it was cooler, I wore a light-weight jersey to work, I fiddled with the air-conditioning trying to change it from cooling to heat. I realised that I am noticing the change, ever so slight, that is starting to happen. And when I went outside to cross the road to the little sandwich shop opposite, the freshness in the air was a shock and a joy. The air felt fresh, clean, as if it was somehow more full of energy and oxygen than usual.
So – welcome Autumn. Come and bring your falling leaves, your cool temperatures, and I will begin the sheltering. This is the time when we move indoors, not to get out of the sun, but to conserve heat, to wear an extra jersey, to throw a rug across the bed. I should have realised the change was coming when the cat began to sleep on the bed again after weeks of night-time exploring – he had begun to notice the drop in temperature on his midnight rambles.
So – welcome Autumn. And as I start to move inside, I’ll notice the treasures I have around my house, and I will light a candle to the memories. But I will hold hands with the present, with the here and now, and what gives me purpose and pleasure.
So – welcome Autumn. And soon you will bring your sister Winter. And that’s when things get serious.
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
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
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.
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.
Earlier this month I was distracted by a whale in the harbour, planets in alignment and the lunar eclipse – so distracted that I wasn’t aware of the turning of the month, calendar time was lost on me.
So now we’re in August – the days are still short with dark mornings and dark nights – but the plants know spring is coming. New shoots are forming, some plants already flowering, and birds are back in the garden.
There’s a restlessness in me after so much time spent inside. I find myself moving outside – even in the dark – in the rain – my lungs are opening to the freshness in the air.