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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Jack-O-Lantern, standing (sitting?) sentinel for the night

Colcannon, beer and trick-or-treater goodies.

Tarot reading. It was confusing. It'll take some time to decipher.

Remembering the beloved dead and promising that I'd tell their stories

A prayer and dedication for myself, as well.

Cakes (pumpkin muffins) and ale (Harvest Moon) for myself, and an offering of thanks and remembrance

Is Halloween creepy because we make it so in our minds? Is it our culture, our psychology? I don’t know. But something about the first drop in temperature and rustling leaves makes you feel like something other is nearby, right at hand. Almost palpable.

Yesterday was like that for me. I don’t know if it was a real intuition or just cultural expectation, but the whole day felt a little…? I don’t even know the word. I could say “full”, because the air felt full of…what? I could say “breezy” because it was that, for sure, but there was also a different kind of wind, one that crawled up your neck and rested behind your ears, just on that spot that at once tickles and feels good.

Last night after we shut down our candy operation I went outside on our patio for a short prayer ritual. It took a bit of concentrating to get in the right frame of mind. Once there the night absorbed me for a while. I prayed and read the Tarot–a confusing reading–and I remembered my relatives. I sat in silence for a while, contemplating the…deity, I suppose?…that has been calling to me. Wanting it to be and wanting it not to be at the same time.

Anyway, so as I was engaged in this silent meditation–and the next thing happened in about ten seconds–I heard something. A rustle. My mind registered it. Then I heard two steps on the dry grass (I shit you not!).

Then? Then I freaked the fuck out and ran inside. My husband gave me a headlamp (hah) and sent me back outside to finish what I was doing. He’s a good man.

Anyway.

So the cakes and ale portion was moved up on the list and I settled into a more comfortable rapport with the deity I was praying to. The evening finished out beautifully. I came inside completely energized and refreshed, but it was the best kind of energy–grounded, contented.

When I have time I’ll talk more about some different spiritual things that have been moving around here. The lead up to Samhain was very important, but as I’ve dedicated myself to National Novel Writing Month I feel like I should honor that engagement.

This whole entry seems so somber! Really. I wish there was video of me freaking out at the possum/spook incident. Any other night I would have…what? What would I have done? Who knows. It sounded like footfalls, and it was probably a racoon coming to eat the pumpkin muffins I set out.

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Misty Mabon Morning (...I love a good alliteration...)

Autumn, as noted many times on this blog, is my favorite time of year. Perhaps because it makes me take notice more as I try to feel every cool breeze and see every turning leaf. These small signs are precious to me, and they begin as early as mid-August, though you really have to look for them. The first rainstorm where the breeze slides cool and silky over your skin. The first hard drop of autumn rain as opposed to the big wet splats of summer.

And, of course, the Pumpkin Spice Latté at Starbucks, right?

I spent this Autumn Equinox/Mabon mostly inside with Claire, but we went on a walk and I made soup and enjoyed it with some hard cider. I had planned to do a ritual outside but weather, then mosquitoes, prevented that.

The day started misty, the light having a certain diffused, liminal quality that makes you feel like everything you see is somehow on a different plane than you are. The mist burned off (and so did the cool breeze) by the time Claire and I made it out for our morning walk. Instead we walked in hot, humid, soupy heat with the occasional lavender raincloud offering shade as it raced to gather with others for an afternoon storm.

Fields of wildflowers have given way to tall, golden grass

We walk in a park not too far from our house. It’s a nice place where the city has made a little marshland trail. Birds love it and in the summer I’d see Blue Herons, cranes, sparrows and wrens happily munching on minnows and assorted bugs. As Claire and I strolled through Wednesday morning the skies were quiet, save for the flitting of the occasional dragonfly.

Over the past few days a blackbird has sat on our bird bath watching the house. It got to the point where I started looking up myth and symbolism of the blackbird because I’d see if everyday, on the bath, watching the house. Since Mabon, however, the blackbird has gone. I remember on Wednesday noticing that there seemed to be hundreds of blackbirds roosting in the oak trees, caw-ing as they do, but since…since I’ve only heard the passing call and seen none.

Mushrooms sprouted after our extremely wet weather.

Recently the weather has been so wet. First a tropical storm rolled in and now just persistent moisture. The air is full of water, weather cool or hot, and is by turns pleasant (cool) and awful (hot). This weekend our first cool fronts will pass by and the temperatures will drop into the eighties, accompanied by dry air. Dry air signals the beginning of autumnal temperatures in Texas and will be a blessed relief from this summer’s persistent humidity.

After our walk Claire and I mostly stayed inside. Several afternoon and evening showers dumped rain on us and by the time Jonathan got home I had begun to cook dinner. We ate a vegetable, barley and chicken soup and drank hard cider. After dinner I went outside to enjoy dusk. The lavender rain clouds were gilded gold by the setting sun and made for a beautiful twilight.

Acorns are all over the ground from the ubiquitous oak trees

Dusk on Mabon

All in all, a pleasant and quiet holiday.

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Last night Claire went down for a nap and Jonathan and I took a few minutes to clean up. At the time I was annoyed and irritated (just those vague feelings that usually accompany a lack of sleep or something you’re neglecting in your life). As I mopped I thought about what was irritating me.

I realized that before Claire, as I mopped I would think about cleaning out negative energies and thoughts, “throwing away” bad behaviors and making my home a more hospitable place. I thought about those things with ANY chore, because I hate chores and it made them feel more tolerable. Over time I actually began liking to do housework.

Last night, I mopped with a singular intention: finish before she wakes up. Midway through I realized that I wasn’t doing a good job, I was just becoming more upset and…well, if I’m just going to end angrier than I began, what’s the point?

So, I slowed down. I began to “mop up” those thoughts. When I finished I felt good. I felt like a small piece of myself had been restored.

If that’s all the spiritual work I have time for these days, then that’s fine. I have to accept that.

In other news, I’m excited for Mabon. I didn’t have the energy to give Lughnasadh more than a passing thought, but with corn and pumpkins growing in the back and I’m sowing beets, carrots, lettuces, parsnips and turnips today…Yes, harvests are in full swing and autumn is coming.

More thoughts on motherhood and spiritual walks later—I’ve been thinking a lot about pursuing a divergent (from my family) spiritual path and what that means for Claire. Lots of conflicting thoughts. Any comments or advice to consider would be greatly appreciated!

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The last rain sputtered out this morning. Rain dribbled, dropped, pattered, smattered, fogged and poured all weekend. The sun broke though this afternoon and now it’s cool and muggy.

Today’s plan is to crush up some incense (I bought a mortar and pestle! So excited!) and to plant my new fall herbs. Gardening is something that’s hard for me—I’m pretty scatter-brained and thus forget to water—but…I don’t know. I feel like this is an auspicious time to start a fragrant/healing herb garden on my apartment porch. Replace that dead basil.

All of this after the requisite Sunday afternoon nap, of course.

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Thank you, El Nino

It is raining today. The third rain in a week, the fourth in the past two. Drought has devastated Texas for the past three to five years and though this is just a figurative drop in the bucket, it’s still nice to be able to hear the birds chirping, the quiet, steady drops on the roof and if you listen closely, almost a sigh of relief from the earth.

It’s the exact kind of rain a parched land needs: steady, soft and persistent. The kind of rain needed for an epic fantasy novel, hot cider and gazing out the window.

Autumn is coming, coming, coming. And I love rain.

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You know, I really like this blog. I haven’t been able to update as much as I would like, but in the autumn life begins to slow down and become a bit more scheduled.

I love summer—how can anyone not? The freedom, the heat…(well, maybe not the heat so much…it’s too hot here)…the pool, snocones, cookouts, how daylight lingers into the evening.

Two weeks ago as I was walking to my car in the morning I felt it.

Autumn.

Just a whisp, a breath, of cool—very cool—air. For a moment I thought I imagined it but no—it came again. Sliding over my skin, promises of crisp mornings and luscious afternoons and pumpkins and hay and change and the coming death of the year.

Slowly, the shade has become cooler. The mornings are breezy, the afternoon’s dry instead of muggy and close. Autumn, my favorite season, is on its way.

One of the things that sets me apart from conventional, conservative evangelical Christianity (CCEC) is some sense of nature that I’ve always had. It sounds hokey—but I was, and am always aware of…the outside world. I’ve always been drawn outside as a storm is coming (even if I don’t know it). I feel  the seasons changing though my husband laughs and says, “Autumn? It was 105 degrees today.”

To Western, logic minded, nature-is-dead folks it sounds silly. To CCECs it’s silly and slightly dangerous. Nature is to be controlled and though they might make token statements about ‘steward’-ship, caring for the environment is all based in a Christian’s eschatology.  For most CCECs Jesus will eventually come back to restore all things, and meanwhile the world burns. That’s simplistic, of course but the gist of it.

It’s the same feeling that lead me away from the church before, that I tried to suppress during my evangelical years and that I still find unaccounted for. The evangelical voice in my head tells me that it’s silly and I give it too much weight. Sometimes that same little nattering voice tells me that it’s sinful, wrong and will lead me out of the faith and you know…on the path of hell/no relationship with Christ/God/whatever.

It sounds dramatic, but it brings up some good points about my spiritual life and life in general:

1. I let fear control waaaaaaaay too much of my life, even my thought processes

I was going to go on, but I think that summarizes it.

What am I supposed to do? Deny these feelings? Deny that I….while I believe that Jesus is a historical figure, and that his teachings are beautiful and difficult, and it makes sense to me that a Creator/Spirit would send an example of how we should live with overwhelming, sacrificial love…I’ve never felt that was all. I’ve always felt there was more.

I feel like a cat. I paw at the unfamiliar, circle and sniff it. However,  I can’t let go enough to pounce on it and sink my teeth in. I’m too afraid. Of what people will think…of what my husband will think, my family, my friends…I’m afraid of leaving my church.

I also vacillate on how much I care.  Some days it seems like nothing is more important than figuring this out and creating a place for myself. Other days I see it for what it is: foolish.

There is no box. I mean. There is, in a limited, dogmatic fashion. There is the box of CCEC beliefs. While not a box to some, it is a box to me. There is the box of I-Hate-Christians who are so blinded by their own bitterness (valid or not) that they can’t see into the deep beauty of the faith. There is the box of New-Ageism. Boxes of yoga. Boxes of our own fear.  Boxes of everything.  (Little boxes on the hillside…)

I confess: I like the box. It’s comfortable. I’m an introvert and I like crawling in with my book light, a cup of tea and an escapist novel, closing the flaps and chilling in my own little boxy world. It’s great. Comfortable. Comforting.

It’s not real, though. There’s a world outside the box. A world that is valid, that has something to say, that contains truth.

I think what I’m confirming, to myself, is that…I don’t (think) I believe there is only one way. How would that be possible? How can that be possible?

It makes me uncomfortable though. I don’t say this lightly, but I can’t deny that that is what I…feel…to be true. My feelings and instincts mean a lot to me.

I want someone to talk to. Someone—someone who questions. The only perspective I ever get is CCEC…it’s the community I’m in. And yoga, of course, but that’s different. We don’t really discuss religion and philosophy overmuch. Just in generalities.

Exhale.

It’s curious that Autumn always brings out the…discontent in me. It’s like that feeling pushes at me a little bit, whispers with the breeze: “listen to me, listen to me, listen to me; don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid; don’t be afraid.” I am afraid. But I think…I think I’ll start walking into that fear.
What’s there really to be afraid of?

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