Monday, 9 July 2018

Roses in July

June's blazing embodiment of Summer has hummed her way into July with her arms full of sunshine and scented petals.

When I can gather my summer-scattered wits and am not reeling from the heady mix of warmth and intoxicating perfumes I've been collecting and drying them to make confetti for a friend's wedding.

The roses in particular have been heart-heaven-healing as they fill our house with the smell that we call love, and I wondered - aside from the obvious fact that they smell so delicious - why do we associate roses with love?

Roses were sacred to Aphrodite and to Venus - both Goddesses of Love - but that doesn't really explain how they are still associated with it. We no longer look at Hares and see a sacred creature, or a predictor of outcomes, or even our grandmother... mostly, so ancient precedent is clearly not enough to explain the enduring association of the rose with love.

Which takes me back to the smell - I think it might really be as simple as that: We are an animal, a human animal, and scent affects us.

The cells in our nose that detect and enjoy smell are linked to one of the most ancient parts of our brain (evolutionarily speaking) - the limbic system. The olfactory bulb (smelling bit) sits close to the amygdala and the hippocampus - this part of the brain is the same one that governs emotions, memories and behaviour. Which of course also explains how it is that smells so often trigger memories.

For me any discussion of smell immediately reminds me of my grandfather - because he was a wonderful gardener, smelt of a heart-filling mix of 'garden' and my grandmother's cooking - mostly of the ingredients that he had grown - and it was in his garden that most of my early scent experiences were had. The various smells that make me happy were almost all found there.

Along with many flowers, the smell of beans makes me happy!

As do foxgloves, and of course roses! I hope today is 'coming up roses' for you.

If it isn't - you could do a lot worse than going to find a rose to rest your hooter in.

It might just fill your heart with love.

And that makes every day a better place!

A Revolution of Love - Charles Eisenstein

Slowly, slowly I'm figuring out the technology of blogging!

This utterly wonderful snippet from Charles Eisenstein is totally what this blog is for... to remind us to fall in love, to be in love, to stay in love with our Earth.

A billion beautiful blessings on your day.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Gathering Day

The nettles are seeding, the tranquil summer air is heavy with the scent of honeysuckle and roses, there are bees languidly humming from petals to hive, their little baskets heavy with pollen, it's hard to garner the will to do anything but hum along.

 I've flung the windows wide and am trying to work but I can't concentrate, the hum is calling through the window.

All the garden's wonders are singing the hum, calling to come and sniff, come taste with eyes, nose and tongue, listen to my song, feel me.

Out here in the green summer is at her zenith, the wild songs of spring are settled into a more mature melody of utter abundance, a restful yet entrancing hymn that is full to the very brim of good things.

I find myself going on every slower walks, zig zagging like a drunken honey bee between the flowers.

I want to drink it all in, fill myself up with the nectars of summer, create an internal honey that will sustain me all winter long.

From this day forward we will begin the downward journey to winter. This is the tipping point between summer and winter, between the inbreath and the outbreath of seasons, between the tick and the tock of the planetary clock.

So it is time to gather; to pick what we need for that time when life is not bursting forth just outside the door, for the time when summer sleeps, resting under the winter ground. In Wales in particular, but all over the British Isles, it is said that this is Gathering Day - the absolutely best day upon which to gather herbs and flowers for medicines for the rest of the year. plants harvested under the midsummer sun are reputed to be twice as potent as those collected earlier or later in the summer.

I'll see you out there with my baskets, after we've both washed our faces in the morning dew and after lighting the fire that celebrates the life giving magic of our sun. We'll walk within this potent pause where the sun seems to rise and set in the same place for three days, the sol (sun) stice (stands still) of midsummer and we'll be part of a world where everyone remembers that without the sun and without the tumbling earth spinning through her seasons and cycles we are nothing, have nothing. Are Not.

Perhaps, finally, we will stand shoulder to shoulder WITH all the denizens of our planet, within rather than on the generous and fecund cycles of the creation. Perhaps we'll remember our indivisibility from her, from all that she is, all of thriving life.

Are you coming?

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Dandelion Days

Spring came with a bite this year. March came with news of a precious life soon to be ending. April found us at the bedside of an altogether too large array of beloved relatives. There were hospital visits, doctors appointments, consultations and prognostications. May began with a funeral.

Yet the apples still blossomed, and May Day came with dancing and laughter. The sun shone, community gathered and love ruled over all.

We remembered that this is what life is; a journey through this world on our way to death. We don't know what strange and wonderful adventure that might be, but death is the one absolute certainty, so let us live; heartfully, hopefully, sensually, ecstatically, magically, deeply interwoven with all that is, understanding our interdependence, celebrating our consanguinity, fully remembering that we are ALIVE. Embodied.

Let our embodiment also be an emboldenment,

Let's grow wildly, medicinally, usefully, beautifully - as the dandelion does. Surviving, even thriving in all sorts of possibly harsh conditions.

I hope I may leave a mark in the hearts of those I love, but leave no stain on the planet that I love so much. That if I colour any part of existence it is with the pollen of something beautiful and nourishing, something that can become a healing nectar for those who partake of it. 

My prayer is that the wisdom I have gathered is something I am able to share. 

I am patient; I can spend the hours necessary to separate the sweet and succulent yellow petals from the bitter but necessary green.

Though it takes hours and hours. I do it in partnership with my beloved.

The work is absolutely worth the prize.

There's nothing to show for it yet.... but the dandelion wine that Fergus and I have been making will taste like summer in a bottle.

We'll drink a toast to those who have gone from here.

And we'll remember to love the time we have here, with all our hearts.

Monday, 19 March 2018

A Little Bird Told Me

A little bird came to my windowsill and sat and sang so sweetly I was held captive by the sound, hardly daring to breathe lest the story-song be interrupted. Strangely such sweetness turned out to be a tale that the robin considered to be The Tragic Epic of how the day was going for him and his feathered compatriots.

His complaint was about the Sudden Return of the previously banished Great, Silent, White.

He told me that it had covered all the Good Things to Eat, even the ones in the garden where noisy, galumphing humans put out tasty tit-bits for birds.

It had covered everything as far as eye could see and wing could fly.

He would like to encourage me to come and have a look

But if I wouldn't mind please scattering some more seeds for him and his feathered friends, he'd be most grateful.

"Soon as you like - it's cold out here and the cold white sky keeps falling!"

So, having fed the birds, once again our tiny band of intrepid explorers went to see what there was to be seen.

A endeavour that proved slightly harder than usual

But not insurmountable.

Those of us with longer legs had an easier time of it.

It was indeed white as far as the eye could see.

Even the high  moor, where the snow is often blown off by the wind before it can really settle, was white.

There were flurries of arcticly bitter wind sending swirls of snow into our faces, covering our tracks and causing anything that could flap to make patterns on the sparkling ground.

In the little dips where the wind doesn't often reach, the trees were still piled high with nature's version of royal icing. So much healthier for waistline and teeth!

Where the wind was at it's most toothsome the snow had been shimmied and shaken into ripples,

grabbed from the tops of anything and everything,

and thrown in hard against the walls.

We climbed to the very top of the hill

We surveyed the scene

and then, quite frankly, scuttled back home again to the warm.

Making sure to feed everyone who's food had disappeared before we shut the door.

If it's snowy where you are - please remember to put something out for the little feathered ones. Who knows when you might need to know what only a little bird can tell you.