Today I woke with sun in my eyes. It was an extra wonderful thing after countless grey days made dismal and bleak with the ongoing roaring wind effect. When the sun shines after a pronounced absence I especially love those times when I have an opportunity to free-float through the day on - not so much a whim as a very strong intuitive nudge.
One nudge after another I made my way to the back dooryard by mid-morning. Paused on the deck to do a bit of intent staring at the ice-filled 'replacement' planters that were too shallow to grow truly thriving flowers. But a few day's back I realized how they could be used quite productively. And also add new experience to my container growing repertoire: using each one as a separate container garden 'seed bed' for various biennials. Am finalizing my seed list at the moment but need to integrate my shopping list with what's viable and on hand in my seed collection box. Should have done it last night but was too tired from the day's activities far out-pacing my organic energy level.
I need to come down to this spot with my better camera to properly showcase the small cluster of river bushes and striplings that I love. I don't visit them much because they need to keep their wildness there amidst the mossy rocks. But I do move upstream a few times during no-ice phases of our brown months. just to make sure that particular congregation isn't burdened by windfall branches. Later I'll have to go out in clothes better suited to yard work. Fleece isn't very compatible at all I have found.
Today I spotted my first land-based skunk cabbage of the year. It's worrisome how early I started seeing new growth pushing out of the stream bed. Usually I don't see anything in the water for another month's time. It's often the beginning of April before the plant's leaves unfurl in the land-based colonies. Seeing the new life above so much sooner into the year evoked mixed feelings. As a human who is finely tuned to green forms of life it's an automatically exuberant moment. It's also a life-long habit. I grew up near any number of streams and was lucky to have guided tours of a few on an ongoing basis over the years. Heralding fresh signs of a new year's life force by searching out the earliest growths of skunk cabbage plants holds a deep experiential taproot in my soul.
One very kind and extremely good humored (yet perpetually poker faced) elder-man my family knew used to call me Little Miss Sharp Eyes. We'd walk along that property's stream and he'd announce something he could see. I'd locate the same thing. But it wasn't always in the same place he'd seen it. In which case he'd smile and tell me I'd won.
For quite awhile (seemed forever in young child terms ...) I'd accept this without a clue of what I'd won. So I finally asked and he told me I'd won my sharp eyes a little more fully. And he certainly did his part to show me innumerable ways eyes could See and search-out detail when outside walking. He also taught me to address the sun as Grandfather and the moon as Grandmother. I once asked him what he liked most in the world - expecting a wonderful nature story. He grinned wide and spoke around it.
Years later he and his wife were on a plane that was held hostage on the runway. It was somewhere in Europe during that window of time when such things appeared in alarming news breaks as the very worst form of terrorism. Their involvement made it personal - a local story of great scope and ongoing conversation. They were trapped on a plane at gunpoint in a foreign country for a significant number of hours. When they arrived safely in NYC the press was waiting. Local papers posted pictures of them that were taken as they left their initial government debriefing. She looked shaken for sure but far more she looked hell bent and determined to have QUITE a word with any number of someone's Manager(s) before all was fully said and done. He merely looked like he'd seen new things. Undoubtedly with poker faced aplomb. To this day I wonder if that experience dampened his enthusiastic love of planes.
The (very) gentle-man who taught me how to walk along a little stream so as to find innumerable tiny universes along the way also taught me a concept he called Power Station Bingo. Upon reflection (and I mean in terms of the level of reflection I held around the time they'd been trapped on the runway during my early high school years) I don't think what he was talking about ever had that name. I think it was something he may have made up on the spot when some insatiably curious kid he was trying to teach to love the woods bedeviled him with questions he did not want to answer Just Then - for whatever combination of reasons.
I could have been that kid because the questions I felt pressing enough to insist on immediate (and complete!!) answers never stopped at that phase of my life. But I was just one of many who did not have a paternal presence in their life but were also lucky enough to move within his circles of community awareness.
here's what he taught me about earth energy and how it moves:
Sometimes you go into a quiet little corner of a place and find four rocks. Right in the center of the rocks you'll find an evergreen. Sometimes you find the evergreen first but you'll also find rocks beneath its lowest boughs.
All evergreens and rocks enjoy this arrangement but it becomes important to recognize with respect any time you're passing when the rocks are directly aligned with the compass points. When they are both tree and rocks can sing but our ears don't remember how to hear them. Other creatures do. They are Everywhere.