Playing in the Dirt

It has been a hellacious month of February.  It seems like so many issues have been popping up all around me.  Personal issues, issues that involve others, so many things swirling around. 

I don’t know if you have realized it yet, but the courtyard surrounding the condo I live in has become my escape.  I have spent more time in that courtyard after everyone else has gone to work or bed.  I have needed the smell of the plants, the dirt, and anything representing the outside. 

I have found that the different elements stir different things within me.  Fire brings passion and energy, Water brings healing and movement, Air brings hope and playfulness, but Earth brings comfort and stability.  Over this past month, I have needed Mother Earth like no other time in my life.  I have hungered to crawl into her lap as a child would its parent, as a puppy would its companion.  I have desired for time with my collection of stones.  Spending extra time admiring them, researching them, holding them, and memorizing the vibrations that each one holds.

My brain has been reeling–moving almost too fast to catch up with itself.  I feel as if I have been trapped on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the fairground…..you know when you get to that cusp of almost vomitting.  It is at that moment you close your eyes and pray that will make everything stand still.

February, to me, is a month of memories….not all good, not all bad….mostly complicated.  February, for me, is a month of introspection.  I become almost hermit-like.  It takes all that I have to socialize or even be personable.  It is a time for me to huddle underground  and hibernate.

I am a strong person.  I am a fighter. I am a warrior. I am a fragile child who needs his mother to comfort him.  I am reminded of a song that I learned long ago in the Christian church.  It is called, “If I Could Just Sit With You Awhile.”

If I could just sit with you awhile.

If you could just hold me.

Nothing can touch me, though I’m wounded,

Though I die.

If I could just sit with you awhile.

I need you to hold me.

Moment by moment, til forever passes by.

I feel if I could curl up in the arms of the goddess, the Earth Mother, that I would be fine.  It is those moments that I feel the need to touch her creation.  I inspect every plant for some indication of a bud or a blossom.  I touch the soil to feel her very heartbeat. 

It has been such an unseasonably warm winter, this year.  Blossoms and buds have started early.  It seems as though winter has bypassed us.  I looked outside the courtyard wall and saw the beginnings of the grape muscari and the daffodils. I reached down to feel the nest of earth that they were resting in.  It felt calm, serene, peaceful.  That was the feeling I needed.

I went Saturday and bought 2 rosebushes and some bulbs.  I spent most of the late morning and early afternoon digging in and massaging the earth.  Placing the bushes in the most suiting places.  Methodically, I placed the bulbs into their new homes.  Enjoying each stroke of my hand over and into the dirt.  It was a calming place.  I could feel that calming, serene energy of the Earth Mother enveloping me……asking me to sit with her, enjoy my time with her, and think on nothing but that time and place.

I have been trying to make myself live in the moment more this week.  I have been trying to play in the dirt more.  I have been reaching my hand into the soil and looking forward to feeling her hand reach back and caress mine saying, “You don’t always have to be so strong…..”

Dancing In The Rain

Today is a dreary rainy day and we all know from earlier posts that I am most definitely a fire sign.  I enjoy sunny conditions and the smells that sunshine brings out of everything.

Over the past few months, though, I have been taught a new appreciation for water.  We have had some plumbing issues so I have definitely seen the power of water.  I have seen the damage it can cause when not contained.  I have smelled the smell when water is not allowed to move and becomes stagnant.  It is the most putrid smell one could ever imagine.  I was reminded of the damp strength that water holds.

Thinking about that strength started my mind travelling back to summer vacations with my family to the Cherokee Indian reservation in North Carolina.  We stayed in a group of cabins that were perched above a river.  I can remember going with my dad down to the river and wading in.  I remember feeling the ice cold water rushing around my feet and the feeling of the cold wet rocks under my feet.  I also remember the feeling of the water on my butt as the current knocked me off of my feet and into that cold icy water. 

I have always had a healthy respect for water.  I understand how quickly it can go from beautiful and serene to troubled and dangerous.  I was travelling the back roads of North Carolina one Sunday morning.  We had had storms for the past week and there had been flash flooding throughout the area.  I was driving toward a bridge right around the corner from an old campground and I saw water rising.  I put the car in reverse, but the current swept behind the tires and pulled the car out into the water.  I swim about as wonderfully as a rock, but I wasn’t going to drown in a hunk of metal either.  I squeezed out of the back window and climbed onto the roof of the car.  The car was slowly sinking so I paddled, not so gracefully into a grove of trees.  I wrapped myself around a branch and screamed for two hours straight.  Finally, a teenager that lived a mile away heard me from his back yard and called the local volunteer fire department.  They came out and dragged me from the water into a motorboat.  You would think that that would have put a deathly fear of water into me, but it didn’t.  Even when I was bobbing in that tree, I thought about how beautiful and dangerous it was all at the same time.  I went back out to that bridge after all the water had dried up and saw the how the water had just swept everything away. 

Water holds so many wonderful things.  It is cleansing.  It is healing.  If you think  about it, it is even purifying.  Think about sitting in a sauna.  When you mix the power of fire and water, it steams all of the impurities out of your system.  It is amazing how much better you feel after a hot shower after rigorous exercise.

Today Frisbee and I took a walk to the pond here in the apartment complex.  It was dreary and damp and misty.  When we got to the pond, it reminded me of something out of King Arthur.  I kept waiting to see if the Lady of the Lake was coming out of the water to give me her wisdom.  Friz and I watched as cranes flew over the water.  We watched the ducks swimming and then Frisbee decides to confront two geese.  After they started back after him, he ran and hid behind me.  We stood and I watched Frisbee’s nose quickly inhaling the scents of the body of water around him.  I began to do the same.  I could feel the moisture wicking away the troubles of the past week.  I could feel the sounds of the water healing the hurts of the past month….maybe the Lady of the Lake was imparting her wisdom to me.

We quietly walked back to the condo.  Honestly, it was as if there was a reverence being felt between Frisbee and I.  No noise whatsoever…just a slow methodical walk back.  When we got inside, I took Frisbee’s harness off and I walked back outside.  By then, it was beginning a nice, steady rain.  I stood there letting every drop massage and caress my body.  My face was lifted so that each pellet of water could wash away any tearstains that might be left over from past hurts…..it felt so good.  I needed that cleansing….that washing over of power…..the whispers of the goddess just brushing against me and pouring power over me.  I felt like I was in the midst of a love story….mine and hers.

Big Wheel Keep On Turnin’

The Wheel of the Year is a unique a thing.  No matter how you look at it….it brings with it a requirement of change, but with that change comes a certainty.

I would never have thought that, with the arrival of Imbolc this year, inevitable hard growth would have been coming for me.  I, myself, felt like that tree that had endured the hardest winter….constantly bombarded by ice and wind and snow.  Without that, though, I never would have known that the arrival of spring would cause to me to begin to leaf out even more fully and pour forth a plethera of buds and blooms.

I don’t normally like to share too much about struggles in my own life, but I feel that for the good of the universe, these things have to come forth.  Sometimes it takes a very harsh pruning in order for a plant to put forth more blossoms and fruit.

This past year has been a hard year for me.  I have watched as friends of mine have dealt with deaths in their families…..I have been there as my own family has struggled through cancers…watching as our loved ones lost the energy to fight and finally passed into the summerlands.  I have had the hardest year financially that I think I have ever known.  Yes, there have been times that I have wondered, “Where is the money coming from for this bill?” or “What in the world am I going to fix to eat….there is nothing in the house?”  Now I am by far the poorest person out there.  I have been blessed beyond means.  I am only sharing my personal struggles…..I don’t argue that there are poorer  or richer or more emotionally devastated. 

I have also had my own health scare this year.  I found a lump just under my right pectoral muscle.  It was not movable and was hard to the touch.  Thankfully it turned out to be fat.  My body unfortunately does have to seem to have an overabundance of fat and I guess some of it got lonely and decided to congregate in one location.

Of course, the thing that seemed to top off everything this year was plumbing issues.  Mopping up two to four inches of water from the bathroom, having to have a plumber come in and tear out drywall and pump 70 to 80 gallons of water out and then having unskilled laborers put the wall back together.  All the while I am having to shuttle pets back and forth to the vet to dayboard….and they stress horrendously when their routines are changed.

Now, I share all of these challenges, not so you can say, “Poor guy, that’s so horrible.” Nor do I want to hear, “Oh I have it so much worse.” I share these things, actually, as a point of reference.

I have always lived my life by the philosophy….”We never strive to get over….only to get through.”  When you try to get over something, you are avoiding all of the life lessons that it has for you. If there is a patch of grass with flowers in front of me and I leap over it, I am avoiding all that it has to offer me…..the feel of the grass between my toes, the smell of the flowers, the texture of the dirt underneath.  If I walk through that same patch, I experience all that it has to offer and can ponder the things I have learned when I am on the other side.  It is the same with a mud puddle.  While this may not be as satisfying or beautiful an option, I learn just as much.  I see the difference of the staining of my feet and then again the pinkness and clean feeling of them after washing them. 

I have mentioned before that I had a partner to die of AIDS  almost twenty years ago now.  If I had used his death as a chance to just “get over myself,” then I would have pushed away every ounce of emotion I needed to feel.  I would have diminished his memory.  Instead, I chose to grieve him and get “through” his death.  I was able to treasure every memory he and I had together, remembered his touch, the things he did and said that made me laugh….this made me a stronger person.

Life tends to be about compromise.  I stand firm on one belief…..Be willing to compromise most anything, except yourself.  I have given in and compromised on alot of issues, arguments, and so many other things.  I will not, however, ever compromise who I am.  If someone cannot accept that, then they need to get to steppin.  The changes and trials in my life have made me such a strong person and I will not compromise what makes me, me. 

I had a dream last night.  I dreamed I was at my family home.  On the mantle above the fireplace were seven boxes.  Each box held something that I needed to relinquish in order to move forward.  I cried desparately over each box.  I wailed and hurt and agonized.  It took everything within me to close each box and move past it, but I did.  I watched the transformations happen within myself.  I watched myself become stronger.  In the end, others recognized it too.

I sat outside early this morning and did something I haven’t done in a long long time.  I sang to the sun.  I sang to the earth, the air and even to a puddle I saw in the courtyard.  My grandmothers and grandfathers did this in the days of the ancients.  As I did this, I could feel the shift in the wheel.  The elements were rejoicing with me. 

Rolling…..rolling….