turkey feathers

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. –John Muir

As I write this, the cicada brattle in branches that have grown tall enough at last (I can hardly believe it!) this summer to reach my 2nd story window, their percussive insistence a backdrop, or perhaps more precisely a summons, to the song stirring in me. They remind me of the summer my husband and I were married, when they rose from the earth in droves from where they had seemingly slumbered, forgotten, beneath the surface for so many years.

My garden continues to grow, tended or untended. Bidden or unbidden, the source of life, the course of life, flows, expressing itself abundantly. I ponder the way in which a garden is also a marriage-of-sorts between what is wild and what is cultivated/desired, and am aware of the tension between the two that can either create great beauty…or suppress it. There is the necessary honoring of the wild nature of a thing, and the giving it space to grow, to be. Perhaps that is one reason I languor long about this time of the summer, too much tending (in too many places) makes me weary. The garden can take care of itself. I need not control its growth.

I know there is something in me called to reclaim the wild. There is a deep sadness I experience when visiting (or living in) a place that is too man-aged, which makes me long to flee to the woods. (And so perhaps this is yet another reason I languishes, for my spirit has fled to the darkness of the wood, where it is cool and where the evening serenade of the katydid fills me. There is habitat here for winged ones). There is a deep peace, a soul-fullness, which I experience in the wild.

I ponder the way in which I was naturally, instinctively, drawn to planting native plants on this tiny plot of ground, the longing in me to let the earth here grow what it was intended to grow. I am aware that in some way there is congruence here, I am somehow expressing outwardly my soul’s desire to reclaim and express its own native and wilder, its soulful nature. Yet there is an aspect of chaos alive now in the garden, with its bit of everything, much like myself, with so many aspects competing for attention. I wonder, as time goes by, if some sort of natural selection process might occur……

…….And so the cicada have lured me outside. Sitting here now, my back to the willow tree, my cup of tea on the tree-stump side-table, I am breathe in the breeze, which brings to my cheek a stray branch that tickles even as the wind itself tickles the fuzzy-topped grasses in the field behind the yard (returning the favor I imagine for the countless times they are brushed through the fingertips of small children and child-filled adults, who delight in their sensuous touch). Oh how I am disappointed each time the field behind my house is mown. I am most certain that its swaying to some unseen caress nourishes me more than whatever creature is fed its light-filled greenery.

Still, I am willing to share. All is well.

It smells so green out here.

How I hunger for autumn’s arrival and these past few days are certainly giving tastes of what is to come! As I have mentioned, with the exception of the songs of the katydids, august is typically not my favorite month. I wilt along with the days, feeling abit withered. Typically my energy is about drained by this time of the summer and as we turn into september, i begin looking forward to the great turning inward of winter for rest and rejuvenation.

The coolness (getting out of the oppressive heat), the shortening of days, the revelation of color hidden beneath all this greening, the harvest of goodness that has been growing unnoticed throughout the summer’s heat….these are the things I cherish about autumn days. And of course there is the great letting go of what has grown so abundantly for the sustenance of others. The shelter I have offered falls away naturally and my own roots are blanketed at last in nourishment. May my letting go be like an enchanting waltz so the stars may dance in my branches and may the winds come to strip me should I cling to these clothes to relentlessly.

Even in writing this, I realize that I have begun ‘official’ preparation for the canoe trip to the wild-erness of Canada. Turning inward like this a part of that preparation for me… paying attention, noticing what is here, offering the harvest, trusting that there is great nourishment to be shared simply in being fully present. I am also sensing that this upcoming time apart, listening, will mark some sort of transitional shift in time and space for me, delineating my path in some way. There is much stirring in me, as I ponder this seasonal shift in my life, and i wonder at what might be coming next in my life.

Turkey has been showing up for me frequently lately, from a click in the woods that drew my ear, to a feather at my feet, to a dream, and moments between, she has come to offer her gifts and her lessons. In that space where I first heard her, I was walking a path, a path that represents marriage to me, between the cultivated land and the untamed woods. She, of course, was on the wild side, hidden, but she left her gift in the space in between.

There is something of my wild nature, my soulful self, that has also been hidden, yet seeking my attention for some time. What is the gift I am to leave here in this space-in-between?… this space of union between my feminine and masculine selves, this intersection of my wild untamed-and-hidden soul and its visible expression into time?  The feather left at my feet was a tail feather…one responsible for steering (direction) and balance. I shall keep my eyes open, listening for direction, seeking balance.

In reading more about the turkey, I find her to be a symbol of Mother Earth, of feminine energies, of higher (3rd eye) vision. She represents a coming season of abundant blessings and harvest. (Her power too is strongest in the autumn.) and of honoring 12month cycles. She is a creature of unconditional self-giving and sacrifice, however her energy is limited, short bursts of flight tap her quickly. Balance again is the key….and the giving of self must come from the recognition of all life as sacred, not from a sense of guilt or fear.

I have also learned what a survivor she is, the way in which she has hung on despite loss of natural habitat (her preference too is the forest). Like the turtle, a longtime companion of mine, whose adaptive prowess has enabled her to survive since antiquity (perhaps because she has learned to take her ‘home’ along with her), the turkey seems to be able to live through lean times by staying close to the earth, digging for nourishment hidden beneath the surface. A call to me perhaps to look beneath the surface, to slow down, to dig a little, something I’ve not been doing lately. No wonder i’ve felt so hungry. Sometimes it surprises me how easily I stray from what I know is nourishing to me.

Turkey also finds strength in community (sharing of nests and group protection). I do notice the call to community has been very strong for me lately, the deep longing for some time for a circle of women. I had not realized it was a necessary missing piece for the ‘moving out’ into the world (the masculine expression of soul) that I have also been longing to discover. I suspect the support of women friends might be the nourishing balance I need for the giving-of-self on the other side.

I shall keep listening.

all is well,
vicki

Keep close to Nature’s heart… break clear away, once in awhile, to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Carolyn Masters
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 12:06:19

    As my spiritual director, you have encouraged me to enter my own inner ecosystem through writings like turkey feathers, your poems, and our conversations. You have helped me enter it with the same respect and awe that you have entered the beautiful, outer wilderness which you love dearly and which has been your trusted guide into your own inner world. You seem the ideal person to help lead a canoe trip into the Canadian wilderness. My thoughts and prayers and joy and love will go with you. Carolyn

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