Cycles of the Times

Mellow fruit. Leaves surrender. What had been out of tune seeks to go and, in going, gives itself away. The harvest wheat is coming home. Man does not live either unprepared or by bread alone, but what the mother of us all has made will sustain us through this winter. Let the grass grow, for it too must go away and out the windows of all our natures the sun still strikes the water like it’s warm. The eyes hold expressions of the soul. The heart remains all summer in the mind, and so lets go there again and again, and let us go there again and again and talk again over having the kids over for apples, whether they’re into bobbing or not the crisp clean and immediate of not too ripe yet fruit quickens the senses, and with cold weather coming it is our bodies that must supply what sunlight and warmth have done these active, busy summers. Is it we who follow the earth or the earth who follows us? We engage her as she’s going through the bound freedom of her orbits, and we somehow see arise from her earth the bread crumb trail of her endless, infinite journey. Or so it can seem to us, soup around some fire, something warmer than the air; remember to stay warm: heat generates heat. Eat the vegetable stones of earth, and leave the peels on. Thank God for all that vitamin d. It’s the special K in the special sauce. Pay attention to detail. Summer’s excess bandwidths’ ain’t around to clear stacks so read the rhythms of the weathers, stay outside when you feel like it but work to stay warm. Don’t lay around, layer your meals and your days with a meld of multiple flavors. Rich enough, but not too dear. Variety around the central fire is almost infinitely sustainable, like a single only dolphin in an eternal sea of single dolphins cresting the one wave, all together, in the light of the fall’s setting sun. Let imagination roam. Leave the ground floor, and find your way through the coming oneness of the forest. Do not lose the path through the trees of endless details. Pay attention. Again, like before, simplify. Now’s the time to simplify the simple meeting of daylight meeting night, and they shake hands or kiss and finally yet again become coequals. Prepare the momentous surrender of the dark. The remembrancer is he who remembers, and remembers the body is just a dream unless it’s moving so get outside when feeling good. Stay warm. Plan the harvests for next Spring. Planting time will come. Now is time for layering body on the body, from inside and from out. Again, foods should be rich, but not too dear. Tell stories. Listen to stories. Stories of action, of triumphs that don’t tear down. And drink ginger tea, light with cayenne and honey. Sage, to keep sinuses and root cellars dry. Stay wise, and plan to make it. Make it from what you’ve made all those midnight days of summer. The harvest is the gateway. Pearls before swine. Let the grown-ups of the summer care for the children of the spring. Let’s accept the gifts on offer, and prepare the remedies of sleep.

Summer of light and summer of heat and summer of air! Summer 2021, and the long seeds have opened, emerging from deep inside the earth: the root labyrinths of early Spring leading to the forces that like green-fuses drove the flowers above the ground and to this moment now, this moment of no turning back and ever reaching for the sun, the heat, the light. There is play in the free acrobatics of the birds and clouds of the air; in the colored-palette of water at play in the crispcrunch of lettuces, the wide-eyed colds of the cucumber, the dribbling joy of tomatoes, the sugary vibrations of corn. The earthbody, too, wants the vigor of getting out and brings her bright strawberry waters along, her raspberry companions of morning and noon. The heat bears down and mint, hibiscus, parsley, basil answer “we are bright lit waters too!”, and the body in her joy embraces all cooling waters and animal heats. The light is everywhere, and everywhere we see reflected our light. The reflection can be overwhelming: too hot, too much, torpor and exhaustion… Vigorous, sweaty movement; long hikes through sun-lit woods; kayaks and boats and canoes – vessels lifted by waters; music, and song, and the long limberings of dance: tempted to vegetate in the unconditional embraces of the sun we must remember to give our bodies back to the joys we have received. From the clam and mussel beds, from the nets of the sea, from the waving, walking, munching, pecking grasses we humbly partake of the Sun’s lights made Flesh, and hope to make him proud at how we have stewarded our strengths. As ever, the burnt offerings of animal flesh rise to the air, and the sun heads down in the west. Melons, and salts slake our day-long thirsts. The moon weaves mysteries and triumphs around the fire. We are her firefly children, laughing over the day, excitedly planning tomorrow, and our days after that. Full to bursting with adventure, it is hard to think of sleep; still, amazing, generous night gifts a few short hours here and there: we cool down, and wake up as in a hot, bright dream.

 Spring, 2021. A cold, dark winter. Shut down. Forecasts were dire. Little snow fell. The ground is frozen and the birds begin the call to their plant brothers and sisters to make the effort, to forsake the closed, dark, too familiar cold and emerge – trusting – to the light. Imbolc – the quickening of the year – fell on February 1-2, and the Spring Equinox is March 20. Shake off winter’s hoary locks and arise! Awaken! Make ready! The earth returns, revived….. In our individual bodies and lives it is time to stretch out the loosening of our lymphatic circulations, to open the windows and doors and air out what the liver has stored throughout the root cellars of Winter. Traditionally water or broth fasting is conducted at this time. Alternating heat and sweat with cold water and contraction limbers up the vasculature and the metabolism throughout the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is liver and gall bladder time, a time of detoxification and emergence from sleep; bitter dandelions, pungent radishes and rhubarbs, peppery arugula and like greens. Hippocrates teaches it is time to move bile, and nothing gets the gall bladder draining like bitter greens and tonics (noone said it was easy coming back to life!). Time of Aries, the Ram, manifestor of the New Years creative life force. Pisces, watery, dreamy, yields to Aries abrupt, groundbreaking fire. In the warm and light and sudden liberation it is important to remember to prepare ourselves as earth and sky prepare the ground: a time for strong winds and gentle breezes, drenching rains and drying muds, still spots of sun-warmth and chill nights; graceful action, purposive cleaning, due honor given to the times of rejuvenative darkness.  Look around. And pay attention, for now is not only the rebirth of free action and movement but also a time of planting, and of looking clearly forward. Winter’s long, dark and dreamy colds have prepared us for this: let us awaken, unlimber, and prepare our greetings. 
Imbolc dreaming, February 1 – 2