September

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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.

 

August

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after the long winter

when the shadows linger

we begin to see movement

 

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.

July

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we seek the heat

we seek the light

reminding ourselves we are alive

 

During these cold days and nights our senses come awake in different ways to the days of summer – we are drawn to comfort, to warmth and light.

But remember to welcome the tingle of icy finger-tips, the mist of warm breath when you step outside, the thin winter light that subdues the colours around us.

Our senses give us feedback from the physical world – keep us awake and attentive.

Hibernation is not an option.

April

protect yourself

but stay soft in the centre

and reach out past your defences

 

Thoughts for the start of April, for autumn in NZ.

For all those bravely trying to be true to themselves, speaking, writing, creating, loving the world.

We need to take care of ourselves and be a little cautious, without becoming risk averse, without becoming hardened and cynical.

We need to find ways to please the eye and feed the soul. Ways to warm our hearts and sweeten our words.

To keep reaching out to engage with the world even when it’s tough – that’s the brave thing – the creative act.

Working out how to keep yourself centred and true – that’s the spirit work.

August

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watch the sea
waves keep coming, waves keep breaking
in all this change is constancy

I’ve been reminded of change lately – the passing of seasons, the rhythms of life. The fact that nothing lasts forever, but our memories hold our dear ones close.

Going out in the garden today it was heartening to see fresh green growth, and new flowers, even though we’re still in the midst of winter.

And my old cat is seeking warmth, a blanket, a knee, and today, a sunny corner of the couch. She is sleeping her days away – I hope her dreams are sweet.

June


shift your rhythms / attend to the night / tune in to moonrise and moonset / fluid and regular / dark in the light / light in the dark

Here’s my calendar page for June. I’ve been so busy and distracted by 9-5 work that I almost forgot to post this. 

I’m definitely feeling the need to shift my rhythms – to accept getting up in the dark, getting home in the dark. I’m trying adjust to winter – to slow down and not push myself to do too much. 

I welcome those bright clear winter days when they visit – but today is cloudy and cold – just me and a book bundled up keeping warm. 

I’ve got some writing ideas underway – just taking me ages to finish things. 

©clairegriffin2017

trees of the long white cloud : part I

these trees are immigrants
keeping true to their long histories
continuing the customs of their ancestors

sepia, folium
tyrian, madder
minium, cinnabar
carmine, cadmium
saffron, sienna, ochre, weld

these colours are deceiving
unlike flowers, they are not an invitation
rather, they are a sign of loss
and of a turning inward

as the trees begin withdrawing into themselves
conserving energy, preserving life-force
releasing all non-essential elements
leaves lose green and fall

to protect themselves
from winter’s chill
the trees hibernate above ground
they stand naked in the cold
heart kept warm deep in their centre
beating slowly, barely breathing

they stand quietly, patiently
winter – one long meditation
until the sun rings the zen-bell
and branch tips stretch, buds open
and the trees shake themselves awake

 

© Claire Griffin 2016