Johnny Depp and The Bees

Johnny Depp and the Honey Bees

I don’t know him, but I do. Maybe it’s a past life thing, maybe it’s a brown eyed thing (we both have them). Or maybe it’s just a thing but I dreamed of him last night. He told me there was eccentric and then there was me; he said I was just crazy. Then he smiled. I said, ”That’s what everyone says about you, you know.” Then he laughed, said us crazy people have to stick together. We made love then he fixed breakfast while I attempted to fold the sheets. It was fun.

Dreams… Huh. I have my theories but first about the bees.

So I have been waiting for the honey bees to return. I had a couple of hives a few years ago but anyone that keeps up with environmental news knows that it’s getting really hard to keep them alive. So, of course, they died. But I’ve never given up. I have two trap boxes set out for them, one between my garden and a large field and one at the edge of my woods. They have been there for three years and have not seen any activity. In fact, during that time I have not seen any honey bees in my garden. There are plenty of native pollinators but no honey bees.

This morning after that dream I wandered through my garden like I do every morning. I went to check on the progress of my small pumpkin patch and found twenty or more big, bright yellow pumpkin flowers, their faces open like smiles toward the sun. The familiar buzzing of insects surrounded them sounding like a miniature chorus. Closing my eyes I let their symphony soothe my dream addled mind when I realized there was a new yet familiar song being sung around the pumpkin blossoms. My eyes popped open, wide, as I realized there were dozens of honey bees busy gathering nectar and pollen from my humble little pumpkin patch. Tears gathered at the corners of my eyes as the gratitude unleashed its self. I watched in awe as my old friends worked happily in my garden once more, their droning song filling the morning air. It filled me with hope, something that has been sorely lacking in my life of late.

Then I trekked out to check my trap boxes, put in some fresh lure – just in case.

So, what, you might ask, has the dream to do with the bees? It could, of course, be just the typical birds and bees symbolism, a very viable option. Or just a simple escaping the ordinary dream. Another viable option. My dream dictionary says that sex in a dream can be a symbol of two energies joining together and with a stranger can portray joining with one’s own anima or animus. In other words, he could simply be a projection of my inner self attempting to bring me some comfort. Well, all I know is both the dream and the bees made me feel – well – joyful! Both gave me much happiness and hope that life can still be good, fun – exciting, even. Feelings many of us have been thinking of late could be lost forever.

There is also the theory that sometimes when we dream our spirits travel, wandering through this world or others in search of adventure. So I will be forever curious. Did he wake up this morning and wonder, who was that crazy old woman I made love to in my dreams last night? Then maybe he shook the cob webs from his dream addled mind and heard some bees outside his window.

Dreams… Huh. You just never know.

 

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Winter Fire

Fire Goddess who speaks

in tongues of ancient ancestors,

we jump within

your folds of life

bearing your heat

out onto the ice

and dark and night.

We hold you deep within

the winter of our journey

this journey you put

us upon before we

could speak or walk

or be whatever the spark

you placed within us

became.

Fire Goddess who speaks

a blazing inferno

sustain us as we walk

out onto the ice where

we carry your words

of hope and peace

deep within this Solstice night.winter fire 1

 

Faerie Food

I love mushrooms. I love looking at them, painting them, searching for them in wild places. To me they are the symbol of all things Faerie.
Today I was planting some bulbs and came upon a familiar mushroom, two, in fact. The Wood Blewit is one of the prettiest mushrooms you’ll ever encounter. It comes in shades of purple and lavender and best of all, it’s edible. So I carefully picked these two little mushrooms and set them on my kitchen counter. Later in the day I set about cleaning them, gently brushing dirt from them, sometimes blowing dirt off that was stuck in their tiny gills. When they were sufficiently cleaned I set them down on a cutting board and turned to grab an onion when a flash caught my eye coming from one of the mushrooms. I picked it up to examine it and noticed a fleck of glitter on its cap. Then I noticed another and another and realized the entire cap of the mushroom was sprinkled with the tiniest specks of glitter I’ve ever seen, so tiny that I had missed them during the cleaning process. The strangest part about this was that they were very hard to rub off. I had to scrape them off with my knife.
Now, I probably don’t have to tell you that glitter is not a natural occurrence on any mushroom. Loads of scenarios flickered through my thoughts. I have been known to brush off my glitter laden clothes just outside my door where I enjoy the sparkle on my doorstep for months after. But the area I found the mushrooms in is nowhere near my door, not even near my house. I live in the middle of eleven acres of woods in the country so the idea that someone tossed glitter on my property wasn’t a viable one. Then there was the fact that of the two mushrooms standing within a few inches of each other only one of them was glittered.
My logical mind wants to find a practical answer to this conundrum.
My spirit knows the answer.
Nature spirits, which I choose to call Faeries, took glitter which they found somewhere – perhaps on my doorstep – and carried it possibly on the wind, possibly by bribing some insect to carry it on her back, then deposited it onto this one mushroom. Then they set about leading me to that place knowing I had flower bulbs to plant that would give them beautiful flowers to play with in the Spring. In my heart I feel they rewarded me for planting those flowers by giving me not only something to eat but a sign from them that they really are there.
So – does that make my mushroom Faerie Food? We all know we have been cautioned not to eat faerie’s food or we will be lost in their world for a long time, maybe even forever. Well I live with one foot in their world already.
Maybe it’s time to jump right in.

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Dirty Feet

Anyone who gardens in the north knows that this is the season for dirty feet. It doesn’t seem to matter if you go barefoot, wear shoes, sneakers, or mud boots; somehow the dirt from the garden finds its way to your feet. I’ve tried tucking my jeans into the boots, wearing them on the outside of the boots, even going so far as putting a rubber band at the hem of the jeans around the boot. No matter what I do at the end of the day my feet still look like someone has dumped dirt into my boot and rubbed it into my skin.
I blame the garden gnomes.
I saw a garden gnome some years ago. Not one of those statues of garden gnomes you see all over the place, which I believe give them a good laugh. No, this was a real, honest to goodness gnome. Did you know that what people think is a pointy hat on their heads is actually the shape of their heads? Yup, that’s what I saw.
It was a one moonlit summer night when he appeared in my flower garden. He stood about three feet tall and just stared at me as I stared back at him. I got the feeling he was just as surprised to see me as I was him. It was difficult to make out colors due to the blue cast the moon gave everything but I did notice that he was not wearing clothes and he was a bit hairy all over. And, like I said, there was no hat on his head, just that domed point with long, dark hair cascading from it. His facial features were quite flat, eyes that slanted toward pointed ears held close to his head, a wide nose with flaring nostrils and full lips below a large mustache that hung well past his chin and his skin appeared greenish-blue in the summer moon light.
The night I saw the gnome I was wearing my wellies due to a resent downpour which made the garden wet and muddy. When the gnome disappeared – and I mean disappeared, he just seemed to sink down into the earth on the spot he was standing – I finished the ritual I had been doing when he first appeared then I went back inside. As is customary in many pagan paths, I had bathed before doing my ritual so imagine my shock when I removed my wellies and found mud caked on the top of my feet and between my toes. That was the first time I made the connection between dirty feet and gnomes.
That was the only time, so far, that I’ve seen a gnome but I know they’re out there in my garden just beneath the surface. I know they are waiting for me every time I go out to weed or water, gather or plant. They are just waiting to use their own little brand of earth magic to somehow put dirt into my boots. Sometimes I make their job easier by wearing sandals or simply walking around the garden barefoot, letting the dirt toss up onto my feet, squish between my toes. I can almost see them smiling knowing I have gotten their message to not forget what is responsible for making my garden grow.
Now when I take my boots off and knock the dirt out of them heading for the bathtub to wash my dirty feet, I think of that gnome staring at me in the moonlight and smile.

 

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No Shadows

They were lost and alone with no shadows to guide their way, no sense of direction only the wind and rain. The sky had been grey for days on end and at night there was darkness so thick they huddled in a hollow tree with their eyes closed in order to glimpse a little light. They wandered in the rain seeking any glimmer of light; a candle flame, a little camp fire, a glow worm or firefly. But the rain was so steady it put out all the fires and the cold was so harsh the tiny light-bearers stayed underground. Without light there were no shadows, without shadows there was no direction and so they stumbled in circles from one hollow tree to the next.
The children listened to the stories of the elders who spoke of a time in the past when the sun and moon had grown tired of all the complaints of the people and so refused to guide them until they stopped their grumbling, fretting and whining and once again found their joy. The elders warned the people that this had come upon them for the same reason and encouraged them to be brave and find something to be joyful about else their days of wandering with no shadows would continue.
The people grew sad many succumbing to tears which only aided the task of the rain and the sobbing at night frightened the children to tears as well. All hope seemed lost as the people pressed close in a mass of anguish and despair within the damp void of a large tree.
Then one darkest empty night the people were awakened by the sound of a reed flute and the tapping of a small drum that pulled them all up from their fitful sleep. The darkness was so dense they had to rely on the sound of the music to guide them. And so holding onto each other they ventured out into the cold dark rain in search of the sweet sound. As they drew closer to it some of the people began to smile others to hum along with the notes that filled the night air. Some even found they had not forgotten how to dance, the soles of their feet itching to step to the beat of the tiny drum. By the time they reached the source of the music all their sobbing had ceased. Most of them had smiles on their faces and the tiniest glimmer of dawn lay flat against the rain soaked sky. They gathered around a piper and drummer who sat upon a wet mound of green moss playing the most joyous music any of the people had ever heard. Before long they were all dancing and singing, laughing in spite of the rain and dark grey that filled the sky above them.
The elders smiled at one another as one of them slipped a silver coin into each of the pockets of the musicians, then moved toward their people to join in the celebration as a tiny sliver of golden light could be seen on the eastern horizon.

 

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Vampire of Trees

Many years ago I did a ceremony to become one with trees. The first phase of the ceremony involved going deep within the woods and listening to the wind in the trees to discern which one was to be my sire. I found her, a maple, near a stream, standing alone on a moss covered berm, the wind whispering a soft serenade through her branches.
I set my pouch down that was filled with the tools I would need to accomplish the ceremony and then I undressed. In order to become like a tree one must cast off all the encumbrances of the human body. I was first to become naked as a tree, my skin becoming my bark.
The next step was to gather some of her fallen branches that proved easy since there was one leaning against her trunk. I broke it into tiny pieces making a little stack of them within reach of the tree. Then I dug a hole at her base with a knife from my pouch just large enough for my feet to fit into, stepped into it and placed my arms around her in a hug. We stayed like that until I could feel her life force and she mine. I curled my toes into the soft earth at her feet. I felt a hum of life emanating through her bark, entering my heart, climbing up through my feet, a slow steady hymn of life and love as I asked her permission to become one with her spirit. A breeze sauntered through her branches, I looked up, she nodded her assent and a trickle of affection joined her hum of life entering my body. I thanked her, stepped out of the hole and knelt at her feet to begin the final phase of the ceremony.
Into the hole I placed a drop of my blood and the tiniest pieces of her fallen branch, lit them with a match – the only fuel allowed in the ceremony – and fanned them with my breath until the flames took hold. Then I began feeding the fire while humming a tune, whatever came into my mind, a love song to this beautiful tree person. All of the wood I had piled up was fed to the fire and burned to ash. Then I stood and stepped back into the hole while it was still warm from the fire. The ashes from her spent and burned body covered my feet, squeezed between my toes and I felt the warmth of them like the caress of a lover. I put my arms around her again and we stood there, a single entity bound by blood and fire, standing together between Earth and Sky.
Since that day my love and connection to trees has grown to nearly obsessive proportions. At the time of the ceremony I lived in town with a few trees in my yard. Now I live in the woods surrounded by them. I hug at least one tree daily, talk to them as often as possible and plant more of them yearly. But the most interesting thing that happened to me after the ceremony was the overwhelming desire in the spring to drink the sap of the maple tree. The desire is so strong I have begun to feel like the vampire that is in need of the life blood of another human being in order to continue living. But in this case it is the craving of a human who has become part tree by ceremonial transmission needing a yearly transfusion in order for that element to stay alive in her. When the craving first started a neighbor was tapping trees in his yard to make maple syrup and would share some sap with me. Now I have my own trees.
I tapped two trees a couple days ago, with their permission, of course, and today I collected two gallons of clear, sweet liquid, the blood of the maple tree, my friend, sister, lover. She freely gives me her life blood so that I may continue to nurture my tree self. I drink and feel renewed.
I am sure a psychoanalyst could have a field day with this situation but I know what I am. I know that one day a long time ago a tree sired me and made me one of Them and now I am a tree vampire. I can’t help myself, I must feed to stay alive, to continue being one with the trees.

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The Strength of Love

Love is more than
a feeling you have –
it’s more like a tree
standing tall and strong
it’s more like the rain
giving life to the earth
it’s more like the sun
giving warmth and comfort
it’s more like flowers
filled with beauty and grace
it’s more like the ocean
with the power of ebb and flow
it’s more like the sky
too large for us to fathom –
Love is stronger than life
and death
and the universe
And every time someone
truly loves
they become stronger
for having done so.

n&o3

Winter Solstice Chant

Solstice fire

burning bright

Give us back

the sun’s pure light

Smoke and ashes

taking flight

Turn the wheel

and make it right

Yuletide blessing

flames of might

Dance with us

this Solstice night.fire 1

 

Dead Things

I’m wandering from the house to the garden and back again gathering the last of the summer’s bounty. Tomatoes, some ripe but most in shades of green, emerald, jade, piling up in the woven basket hooked over my arm. I snip the few okra left on the plants and mourn the last of their flowers that will never mature. The corn was finished a month ago, the beans two weeks ago and all the squashes, summer and winter, are safely tucked away in the pantry and freezer. All the herbs are drying to be put into savory dishes through the winter months or steeping in alcohol to be made into medicines. The last struggling watermelon now the size of my fist will never be eaten.
And then there are the flowers.
Masses of marigolds, zinnias and cosmos still bloom in patches all over the garden. My house will be overflowing with vases of their beauty for days as I work at picking as many of them as possible. Morning glories, blue, pink, red, white, still cling to the fence so heavy they threaten to topple it. There are new buds on the rose bushes that will never open. This life still teaming around me defies the inevitability of the death I know is about to descend. Jack Frost is coming with his icy scythe to cut down all the life that I and his brother Jack In The Green have toiled to bring forth.
I use to hate Jack Frost. I would envision him as a mean old man all bent over with anger and malice whacking away at all the beauty and bounty of summer. I thought of him as the enemy brutally killing his younger brother Jack In The Green with every swipe of his deadly instrument taking a piece of my heart along with him. Some years he would plod along bringing an agonizing slow death to everything I cared for. Some years he would strike hard and fast smashing my green world into snow white oblivion over night. But every year the results were the same. The death he brought was absolute and all encompassing. There was nothing I could do to stop him. I would work feverishly bringing in all I could, potting up some flowers, searching frantically for the last vestiges of life to save from his icy fingers. It was almost as much work as building the garden had been through the spring and summer.
Jack Frost and I have since made our peace. I know now that he is not that old ugly being I once thought. He is young and strong and has a job to do and does it well. He works to break down all the green into fertile brown soil that will give life to the new plants of the next spring. His wisdom of death brings life. We, his brother and I, welcome him. We watch in awe now as he takes the life that is left in my garden, gently, lovingly lays his crystalline fingers on it putting it to sleep, readying it for the transformation from life to death then back again.
Dead things are not truly dead, not in the way we humans think of death. According to Jack Frost and Jack In The Green life and death are intricately woven together to create all that we know as existence. Death is just the other side of life just as life is the other side of death. Below the surface of my garden in the dead of the cold white winter life rests in the arms of death – waiting.

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I think I’ll make green tomato jam with all those leftover tomatoes to give as Yule gifts.