Tag Archives: mother earth

Roots and Branches

I sit in front of a west-facing window when I work from home, under the branches of a great old Ash tree.  It reaches over and past the window, protectively shading the house and reaching up high into the sky.  I imagine it’s cooler up there in the topmost branches, and that the tree knows I’m down here.

These trees are becoming rare in the states because of an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer.  Cute little guys, they are a shiny turquoise and plum color with a kind of kaleidoscope finish like they were dipped in a jar of glaze. And they like to eat ash leaves.  Unfortunately for the Ash, the larvae of the borers eat the inside bark of the tree, making it hard for the trees to transport water up the trunk, which is how trees absorb water and nutrients.   The larvae spell disaster for the trees, and over time the Ash trees die of thirst.

We are fighting for ours; we hired a company to treat the trees in an effort to fight off the beetles.  It’s expensive but when I look at the tree that can’t be saved – the oldest, largest, most graceful of them, which was too far gone to be treated by the tree specialists when we bought the house –  my resolve hardens. 

These trees aren’t particularly huggable.  Some trees are, practically inviting you to wrap your arms around them and lay your face against them, but the Ash trees have a stand-offish air, seem aloof and distant and seem to want their space.  Still, they are my favorites, probably because they are struggling.

The biggest of them, with a trunk that is more than seven feet in circumference, has more than a third of its majestic branches defoliated.  It is hard to watch it decline; it exudes a kind of pride, even now, that is undeniable.  People come to the house and notice it – beginning to remark on its beauty, taking it in, looking more carefully – and then they stop speaking.  It’s like that.  A sudden realization you’ve said something offensive, or sad, without meaning to.

The trees around us have a kind of slow, deliberate presence and awareness, existing in a symbiotic relationship to us and around us, reaching up to meet the sky, joining the earth with the heavens. 

I would like to work from home more often. 

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Loving Gaia

On a starry, moonless night, there’s silence, except for some wind in the tree tops.  The bare limbs of the deciduous trees – usually imposing shadows lit by the brilliant cornflower-midnight blue night sky – are almost invisible.

This moon looks like other dark moons but today’s New York times featured an announcement that 2018 was the 4th warmest year on record – the 4 warmest being within the last 4 years.  I’m not a statistician but I’m pretty sure that is not normal.  The planet is warming up.  We could even say it has a fever.

As if to underscore the point, I saw a bird today that I’ve never seen before.  The feathers of it’s head had a pretty red sheen- a kind of sparrow or finch.  Not a cardinal.  And not a bird I’ve ever seen here. A newcomer to my feeder.  Perhaps she found her way here because of changing weather patterns?  Or perhaps I’ve just never noticed her before.  But that seems unlikely.

And while trees and bulbs know better than to blossom early,  I see kids walking around in summer clothes when Massachusetts temps reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit in February.  It’s a little surreal.

Okay, they are teenagers.  Not that surreal. But, still.

The dark moon favors sleeping, letting go, decluttering.  Making way for something new to grow.

Like a sense of deepening connection to the planet.   A personal relationship, even.

Every thing we create and the energy we consume comes from the planet and the elements.  And it returns to … the planet and the elements:  the water, the air, consumed by fire, or buried in the earth.

This dark moon seems to be suggesting that we cultivate more awareness and commitment to the planet.  That we let go of our need to consume every cool/adorable thing we see and maybe use less energy.  Our choices about these things are choices in our relationship to the one and only planet that sustains and nurtures us.

When I bring bags to the grocery and minimize packaging I imagine I’m blowing a kiss to the Earth.  And maybe not adding to the giant plastic pile floating in the middle of the ocean.  It gives me a little thrill.  Really.

If we break (up with) this planet I don’t think we are going to find a better one to live on.

And I am not sure she would give us a second chance.

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February 7, 2019 · 12:39 am

Winter Charms

Winter months are long – days are short, the air freezes your ears and bites your skin till it’s pink and chafed.  Still, it’s beautiful to see a field of snow beyond the glass, or rooftops blanketed in white.  I would miss the site if it didn’t repeat itself year after year, returning like a family member for a mandatory holiday.

And winter invites us to slow down and turn our attention in.  To our interior thoughts, our interior spaces; we are all encouraged to indulge our inner introvert and embrace cozy — this is something the Scandinavians are expert at.   I happen to be Norwegian, so I am a subject matter expert in this area.  🙂

Listening to freezing rain pelt the window from the a couch, blanket wrapped around you, is a giant perk of being human in this day and age, if you are fortunate and resourceful enough to have a warm and cozy home.  It would be a shame to pass up the opportunity of indulging in winter’s delights.

Among them, hot drinks, giant sweaters, snowboarding, knitting, hearty soups, adorable winter hats and … books.

Here, books fill a 10 foot tall bookshelf arranged in a neat row and then bearing stacks layered horizontally along the top of the row to reach the shelf that hangs above.  There are also cabinets filled with books – some behind glass, some behind wooden doors.  Topics vary – Rumi, Shakespeare, Engineering, Emergency Medicine, spell craft, the classics – Hesiod and Theogony, the Iliad, et al., modern witchcraft, Islamic poetry and philosophy, Early Gnostic Christianity, Flaubert, Jungian psychology, history, gardening books, astrology, Arthur Conant Doyle, the Dalai Lama …  and it goes on…

Standing in front of them brings me feelings of comfort, happiness and security.  So many hours of pleasure there in those books just waiting.  All I have to do is select one and settle on a nearby couch, wrap up like a burrito in a throw blanket, crack it open, and settle in.

The weeks between Yule and Imbolg, when the first seeds will stir, is a kind of gestation time, a tide perfectly suited to looking inward to take stock of where you are.  What you can be grateful for, what challenges and adventures you wish to engage when the snow finally melts.

Because it will.  The days are lengthening.  So savor winter – enjoy it in whatever way it speaks to you – while it lasts.





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