A Walk Through the Gardens with Friends

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When I was growing up, I was always reminded how important friendships were.  My mother was still friends with the people she was friends with in grade school.  My grandma still talked daily to “the girls” that she spent time with in high school.  Friendship and devotion were ingrained in me from an early age.  I am still friends with many of my exes simply based on this philosophy that was constantly spoon-fed to me. 

I still think of a group of guys I used to meet on a weekly basis, just to have coffee and mull over the happenings of the week.  I am still friends with the whole group.  We may only get to communicate via phone or Facebook now, but we do still communicate.

I was thinking about my friends and acquaintenances in the pagan community.  I have a large circle…but those that I am closest to are like my own kin.  In my immediate circle of men and women is a group of those that I trust implicitly.  It is with those people that I share parts of me that no one else gets to see.  Among those friends are also four leggeds.Basset Hound Laying in the grass.

I have long been a wanderer.  I guess you could say that I am quite a bit like a hound dog.  My nose leads me.  As I walk, a new scent will distract me and head me off into a different direction.  Today as I walked with Friz in the light mist of rain that encompassed the condo complex, I caught a whiff of something familiar, but wild at the same time.  I pulled the leash as I made my way around corners and through small groves of trees, up to a small patch of a garden.  I looked down and was surprised by what I saw.  One of our neighbors had planted a small batch of marigolds.  That familiar stench had wrapped its way around my nostrils and taken me back many years.

I remember sitting at the edge of my dad’s garden with my best friend from grade school.  We were playing and decided that we needed to cover our own scent with the smell of the marigolds my dad had planted throughout the garden.  We gathered the bright orange, yellow and burgundy heads from everyone of the small flowers and ground them into our skin. That smell still takes me to the verge of vomiting today.  It was that smell that your hands hold after a full evening of catching lightning bugs…..that wild musky rank sickening smell.  I laughed as Friz got close to the blooms and then recoiled at that stink. 

When we got back to the condo, I curled up on the outdoor sofa with Friz by my side and looked around at everything showing its springtime faces and blooms.  Many of my witch friends came to mind as my thoughts drifted toward herbs and flowers.  There have been many a night when I have danced through the courtyard knowing that the energy of my friends was dancing with me.  Some of these friends I have never met face to face….but I know better than I know some of my own family.  Some of them I have met and giggled with and hugged and it was wonderful!  It is in my darker times that I close my eyes and can feel those hugs and the giggles singing in my ears.

I remember a spell that I spoke out into the universe as a witchling long long ago.  I was sitting out by the chicken coop on the farm playing with one of the baby goats….I whispered into the air, “I never want to be without friends.”  At that moment in time, I was specifically talking about the four leggeds, but Goddess is far more faithful than we can imagine.

I know that it is very easy in a moment of loneliness to sit around and say, “Nobody cares….nobody loves me.”  You have no idea.  You have absolutely no idea how many people in the span of minutes have let you play through their minds and memories….thinking of how much they care about you. 

I danced in the courtyard again tonight.  I saw the faces of those who danced with me.  My darling Donna, Jerry, my little fireball Heather, Jason, my dear Jackie, my sweet Maluna….but the one who danced the hardest, laughed the loudest and sang with the most abandon was the Lady herself.

Come sisters and brothers, take my hand.

Dance with me across the skies.

Two-leggeds, four leggeds join in the song.

From this, our beginning, our spirit flies.

The brew, without you, is not complete.

Lend your voice to this, our spell.

As we cry, “So Mote It Be.”

The work is done and all is well.

Blessed Be!

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Here Comes the Sun….

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I woke up this morning with a craving for sunshine.  It was a consuming feeling that overtook me the moment I lurched from the bed.  For the past two weeks, it seems that it has been overcast and dreary and rainy here.  Now, I know that sometimes those conditions come with the winter season, but I also know that I need to feel that lightness that comes with a morning walk under a misty sunrise in the south.

Thankfully, I was rewarded, when I looked out the window.  The sun was just beginning to come up over the courtyard wall.  I hurriedly fed Friz and harnessed up that little blue chihuahua and made a mad dash for the gate. Poor little guy’s head must have been spinning, because he looked at me like an animal caught in headlights.

It is really funny.  A friend had posted on his Facebook. wall wanting to know if you considered yourself a Sunrise or a Sunset type of person.  I have always strongly identified myself with the twilight hours and the moon.  Then again, I have always had a strong love for the sun. 

Most of my treasured memories center around a wonderful strong morning or afternoon sun.  I remember vividly going fishing with my best friend on a coolish spring morning while the sun slowly burned the dew off of the grass.  I remember going camping at the beach with my mom and dad as a kid and my dad getting me up early to watch the sunrise over the ocean.  Even memories of home…being greeted by the sun as I walked out the back door toward the chicken coop and the goat pasture.  I used to watch the baby goats dance and jump in the rays of the sun as I put their food out.

This morning, as Friz and I moved through the gate into the glorious light of the sun….I felt a transformation in my spirit.  I could feel that sunshine warming me up from the inside out.  It is also so funny watching that little blue chihuahua sometimes…..it is so evident that he mirrors so much of me.  When he felt that sun on his face, he leaned into it.  He closed his eyes and raised his little face up and it was like he was breathing in the sun.  Then the little booger got really playful.  I decided that this would be a good day for a trip to the pond.  The woods are wonderful, but the sun is masked by the canopy of trees above and I felt that Friz and I both were craving more sun-time.

As we started that familiar trek, I looked down beside one of the cars outside the courtyard and there stood black and white cat.  He is getting braver and braver. Now he is within 10 feet of our condo.  Hmmm…wouldn’t surprise me to see him curled up in the courtyard one morning.  I will have to make him up a sleeping box under the patio porch.  As this thought plays across my brain, the motley crew of a little blue chihuahua, a black and white cat, and a middle aged witch in his cloak head out on an adventure by the pond.

When we arrive, you can smell the sunshine as it caresses the blades of grass.  I leaned against that old oak and could hear it asking me where I had been.  My senses seemed to super sensitive this morning.  The smells, the sounds, the sights all around me were much more vivid and alive.  As I waited for Friz and Black and White Cat to make themselves comfortable in my lap, I quietly thanked Brigid for the warmth and beauty of the fire of the sun…for the blaze that I could feel her stirring in my own spirit.  I thanked Cernunnos for keeping that wild part of me alive that I might experience newly the power of outdoors and the strength of the animals.

I sat and just listened for the longest time.  I heard Mama Crow, of course.  It seemed as though I was getting another lecture.  Maybe this time it was for being away from the pond as long as I have.  I looked overhead and saw four Canadian geese flying.  That unmistakeable honk from the lead goose and the rear goose were penetrating the morning sky.  As I looked around, I could see the beginnings of daffodils springing up.  Here in Georgia, they show there leaf shoots in late January and early February…which still amazes me.855587-shoots-of-spring-flowers-daffodils-in-early-spring-garden

As I leaned against my friend Oak, I could feel the sun’s rays warming me from head to toe.  I watched as it glistened on the coats of Friz and Black and White.  I put my hand on their backs thinking I could feel the warmth of the sun through them.  I did, however, feel the peace of sleep and the warmth of their bodies absorbing that sun-strength.  I watched as a sleepy yawn escaped Friz and Black and White stretched so long that he just about fell off my lap.  As he raced toward righting himself and looking at me with his, “You did not just see that” look, we all began our slow walk back to the condo.  Of course, Black and White disappeared the way he always does just shy of the condo….probably to do his morning hunt (even though he did just devour a half a can of cat food).  What can I say, we like our food around here.

As I opened the condo door, I could see one more creature who was craving the sun this morning.  Merlin.  He sat on the edge of the end table chattering away through the window.  I have always said that when he does that, he is talking to the fairies.  He looked at me with eyes pinned by the sunlight, said his customary “Merrrp” in greeting and went right back to discussing what he needed to with the fae.  Of course, all the picture frames and anything else that was in his way was lying down on the table.  I just decided to clear the space for him…after all, we all deserve to have our place in the sun.2013-01-20 09.27.08

Blessed Be!

The Egg and I

I am sitting here this afternoon watching, “The Egg and I” with Claudette Colbert and Fred McMurray.  I love this movie and had not seen it in a very long time, until I got it for Christmas.  I have watched it many times over since then.

I grew up in the country.  Some people cannot appreciate farm life.  Some people don’t like the thought of chicken poop and dirt.  I happen to like it and miss it.  I have been transplanted to the city.  Atlanta, to be exact.  There are days that I get very homesick for the solitude of country living.  I miss getting stuck driving behind a tractor rather than caught in traffic.  I miss riding a tractor versus a car….and there is something to be said about the feel of driving a pickup.

The country affords kids a chance to do things that city life doesn’t.  Growing up, I wasn’t a bad child….but I was very very mischievous.  My mother told me the other day that my great nephew is just like me….they might had better watch out.  I simply took the time to enjoy my surroundings and many of the animals around me.

I remember visiting my grandma’s house when I was just a young fella.  She still had an outhouse.  Nobody liked to use it, but it was the only bathroom.  I enjoyed that outhouse….it was the source of many afternoons filled with laughter and exercise for me.  That old outhouse had a hole in the wall real close to where the seats were located.  As a matter of fact, the hole was just below seat level.  I loved catching green snakes or any other kind of critter I could get my hands on.  My aunt, at some time or other during visits to grandma, would have to go pee and I was typically camped out behind the outhouse waiting with the critter du jour.  My aunt was not a small woman at all and I would wait to hear the wood groan under the weight of her substantial rump and then I would feed that green snake up through that hole.  As soon as it was in a good ways, it would inevidibly send its forked tongue toward her butt.  She would jump up screaming and chase me down the hill with her pants down around her ankles……I laughed the whole way.  I got many a swatting for that, but it was so very worth it.

I also learned the value of not peeing on an electrically charged fence on that farm.  I was standing at the entrance to the back pasture and had to go badly.  I had no clue that the fence was charged.  So I did what we boys always did.  I took it out, and started to pee.  I was knocked so far back after the electricity travelled up the stream of urine.  It was worse than any groin kick I have ever experienced.

As I got older, I had learned to love working with the chickens and goats and rabbits.  The only thing I never grew to love was when I worked the pig farm one summer.  Really kind of took away my taste for pork for a while.  That is as much as I will elaborate on that.

Pop let me buy my first chickens when I was sixteen or so.  I chose Ameraucanas or as they are commonly called, Easter Egg Chickens.  I had twenty one chickens in my flock, including a rooster.  I loved going out in the morning to gather eggs.  It was always blue, green, or pink eggs….I never knew until later that the color of the chicken’s earlobe determines the color of the egg.  Most of my chickens were pretty tame and would come to me when called or follow me around the coop.  Most of them…..except that rooster.  That rooster was the meanest thing I had ever met.  I got spurred more times than I can count.  Sometimes I dream about what it would be like to have a small flock in the courtyard…..but I guess the neighbors in the other apartments might not like it as much.

Springtime with the chickens was always my favorite…..the time for chicks.  I loved watching the hatching.  All those fuzzy little boogers peeking their little heads out of the shells for the very first time.  I loved going to visit the brooders and teaching the little ones how to drink for the first time.  Watching them change on a daily basis was fascinating…seeing the down slowly replaced by feathers, watching the combs grow out, and seeing what colors the chicks would become. It was incredible seeing what nature could do. 

Yes, I fell face first in chicken poop more than once….but back home they used to say that the smell of chicken sh** “was the smell of money.” I didnt so much like that smell of money.  I miss having fresh eggs. 

I can relate when I see Fred McMurray’s face when he talks about the chicken farm and gets all doe-eyed about it……I do miss my chickens.