Here in the Now

All our personal griefs
(I remember standing by a grave)
prepare us for this now
(a casket being lowered)
this time of crisis
(a marriage ripped apart)
the known torn asunder
(a beloved gone).

The old normal swept away
in storms, fires and floods.
We can’t go back to what was.
What was made what now is.

The life that we knew
with all its joys and laughter
no longer there to hold us.
The familiar injustices,
the predictable inequalities
exposed now for all to see.

Changing with the climate
here now at the brink
we stand on hallowed ground,
the creative power of transformation
birthing in uncertainty.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2022/01/17/earthweal-weekly-challenge-native-to-the-now/
Working for the best present, this shifting, dysynchronous, pre-apocalyptic nowThat is your challenge this week. What does the landscape of this look like where you live and celebrate your being?”

Embracing the hybrid

Embracing the hybrid
Elen of the Ways* sprouted antlers.
Antenna attuned to the cosmos
she travels the mythic pathways.

In the southern alps
with the mist wraiths swirling,
the white stag trees* on the skyline,
– memory keepers of ancient fires –
become the eagle’s perch.

Between the old and the new
betwixt and between realities
the hybrid straddles the breach.
Strapped to the ship’s wheel
the sailor becomes the sea.

DSCF0806 - copy.jpg
This digital image was constructed from a photo of a spirit doll I made in 2018. The doll was made after a vision I had while recovering from pneumonia. The background of this digital image is a photo I took in Ireland.

*I have written about Elen of the Ways before on this blog https://mappinguncertainty.wordpress.com/2020/02/29/the-way-back-is-the-way-forward/
Here’s part of that post:-

Elen traces her roots back through Norse and Slavic mythology to the original reindeer shamans of the far northern lands of the Arctic circle. Many of these shaman were female. They wore headresses made of reindeer antlers for the reindeer herd is led along the ancient migratory track ways by an older female reindeer.
As an archetype Elen can be seen as the guardian of the sacred pathways – a guide who comes to us in dreams, meditations and intuitive imaginings to lead us back to those ancient understandings of humanity’s connection to the natural world and the interconnection of all life.

*White stag trees are old dead mountain ash (eucalyptus regnans) that tower above the forest canopy in the mountains of south east Victoria (sometimes referred to as the southern alps). Many of these trees died in forest fires over a hundred years ago. Hollows within these trees provide habitat for arboreal mammals and birds.

Prompt: https://earthweal.com/2022/01/03/earthweal-weekly-challenge-a-queer-nose-for-a-ripening-world/

Nadir/Zenith

As the rich get richer
creating eco products
that greenwash capitalism
a rumble is heard.

Day by day it grows louder.
The system is collapsing.
Its foundations crumble,
the corruption is revealed.

The powerful are scrambling.
They’re tightening the screws.
Clamping down on dissent
they dominate through fear.

Outside in the distance
the storm clouds are breaking.
QR codes and mandatory vaccines
can’t stop climate change.

Here at the end of plague year two
haunted by the spectre of omicron
we catch our breath at the solstice
separated, isolated but not alone.

Our legions are many
the numbers swell everyday.
As the edifice of power cracks
we see the light in darkness.

Counting our blessings
we gather by the Yule tree.
We’ve learnt much these past two years.
Bit by bit, we’re growing stronger.

We know now to stockpile supplies.
We’ve learnt to hedge our bets.
We’re not defeated. They haven’t won.
This story is not over yet.

Retreating to our houses
(they think we’re complying)
we’re finding the loopholes
while we build the light body.

Storm riders, way finders
talking in code across the airways.
Supporting each other
we fly with invisible wings.

For eons now the dark has triumphed.
We remember enslavement.
We fear for all life.
Our DNA’s stained with ancient defeats.

Life hangs in the balance,
It could go either way.
We get to choose which side we’re on.
Do we go down or do we rise up?

It starts in the heart,
in gardens and forest,
meditation, shadow work
and dreams before dawn.

Hold on, hold on to the light.
The times are intense.
There’s more danger ahead.
Stay strong. The Earth needs us.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/12/20/earthweal-weekly-challenge-solstice-nadirs-and-zeniths/

Two Weeks of Trees

My visit to the silver tree on Friday inspired me. It’s that time of the year when the huge old North American Ash Tree in my garden gets its full leaf cover down here in south eastern Australia. Despite the brutal pruning the tree endured last summer it has developed a dense leafy canopy this year. My little house has all but disappeared beneath it.

To celebrate the beauty and enduring strength of trees I’ve decided to spend some time up until Christmas posting photos, poems, art and stories about trees. A lot of them will be reblogs from my previous blog ‘Being in Nature’ but there’ll be some new stuff too. I can’t promise to blog every day but if you’d like to join in add a link to your blog posts in the comment thread and I’ll come over and visit. All kinds of posts about trees can be linked including of course, the seasonal symbol of renewal, the Christmas Tree.

To get the ball rolling I’m reblogging a story about a tree I wrote in May 2019

THE TREE OF LIFE

Looking back the tree couldn’t say for sure when it had become aware of itself.   It had been a gradual process.

For ages it had the organic consciousness that all trees in the forest have – that interchanging of information about weather and soil conditions through the fungi on their roots, but beyond that – nothing. 

Over the years the clear felling of parts of the forest and the reduction of habitat for the animals sent shock waves through the tree. This may have prompted its initial leap into self awareness. As the forest reduced in size humans were able to penetrate deeper in.  When they discovered the tree with its exposed roots they took countless photos and posted them on social media.   The way the roots intertwined led people to call it ‘The Tree of Life.’    A cult following grew on the internet and people began to visit the tree to hold rituals and ceremonies beneath its spreading branches.   Later the tree wondered if this veneration had also contributed to its evolution of consciousness. As the tree awoke so too did the other plants in the forest.   The animals were also evolving.   

Awakening, the forest and its denizens came to understand that climate change was driving their evolution.   As the world got hotter some species of insects that were unable to adapt, became extinct. As a result birds had less to feed on and had fewer young.   That meant there were less birds to spread the seeds of berry bushes.   Fewer berries meant less caterpillars. That, of course, meant less butterflies and so on and on it went through all levels of the forest’s ecology.

As these changes to the forest’s ecosystem became more noticeable humans began to realise that their actions were behind this change in the environment.  Those that came to venerate the tree now came with greater intent.  Their rituals were more focused and they sought genuine connection with the tree’s consciousness.

Warmed by their attention the tree opened up to them.  As the people slipped into deep communion with the tree many expressed deep grief at what was happening across the planet.  The tree felt their pain and opened even further to them. The heartbeat of the people slowed and they tuned into the natural pulse of life that surged through the tree. Slowly their grief gave way to something new.   A greater understanding of the place of humans within the ecosystem of Earth began to awaken within them.

“We are the children of Earth,” they murmured to each other.   “We have a role to play as caretakers of the planet.   We have to find ways of living that do not exploit the earth’s resources to satisfy our own greed.”

Some people left then to return to the cities and start action groups.   Others stayed on and journeyed even deeper into nature consciousness.   “We are part of nature here on Earth,” they said. “The Earth is part of the larger cosmos.   Everything is interconnected.   The indigenous cultures know this, the Buddhists speak of this and the old Mother Cultures understood this.   We need to listen to these voices yet we also need to use our technologies to invent new ways of living on the planet.    Everything is changing – the seas are rising – the storms are increasing in intensity – it will be thousands of years before the climate stabilizes even if we take drastic action from this time on.    What is needed now is clear eyed resilience.   The future will about the survival of the most adaptable.”

The tree whispered its acknowledgement of these ideas in a gentle shaking of its leaves.

Link below if you want to celebrate trees – you can post as little or as often as you like.
Tag your post – Two Weeks of Trees

The Great Remembering

re-wilding – mixed media on paper

Trapped, caged.
Left for dead.
Relegated to the forgotten realms
the human wild self
withers.

Eons past the human mind came
into awareness of itself
out in the natural world
where wild animals roam free.

The indigenous people remember.
They know the ways to live
in tune and harmony
with the wild Earth songs

Encultured now
the modern human lives behind walls
– physical, mental and emotional.
Cut off and oblivious,
removed from the plight
of others beyond the walls,
taking whatever they want,
never stopping to count the cost,
ignoring the warning signs,
the wild is endangered everywhere,
within and without.

From deep in the human being
the call comes,
Remember now,
before it is too late.
Embrace the wild self,
turn to the forgetting to remembrance –
the Earth is our home.
Humans are part of nature

FROM MY UPCOMING ECO NOVEL:

A woman wearing a headdress of coloured feathers took to the podium. ‘We, the indigenous people of the Earth have not forgotten,’ she said in a voice that rose to the rafters and echoed round the room, strong and proud. ‘We know that when we humans lay waste the Earth we despoil our home. When we cut down the trees we kill our elders. When we hurt the animals we harm our brothers and sisters.’

She spoke then of her island home sunk now beneath the sea. Her voice grew soft as she talked of the grief of her people as they crowded onto boats and fled their ancestral land. They had no idea where they were going or if they’d ever set foot on solid ground again. All they had were the few belongings they clung to. The birds, plants and animals they loved as friends were left behind. All perished now. All gone.

Her voice dropped to a whisper then ceased altogether. A silence settled over the room like a prayer, a requiem for those kindred spirits that had departed the Earth forever.

Samhain or Beltane?

I have nearly finished the work I’m doing away from this blog so I decided to take a break from that and respond to an Earthweal challenge –https://earthweal.com/2021/11/01/earthweal-weekly-challenge-all-souls/

Deep in my DNA
in my white folk celtic roots
All Hallows Eve lives.
The ghosts of the past walk.

Shadow land Australia –
Black folk on TV
tell the true history.
Remember, they say,
you stole our land,
you took our children,
you killed our warriors.

November dawning.
Southern summer skies,
light, bright and clear.
Magpies warble –
black and white on the breeze.

Is it Samhain
or is it Beltane?
Maybe it’s both.
Or none.

Here in this ancient land
the rainbow serpent writhes,
Bunjil the eagle screeches
while Mother Mary weeps.

Global warming, climate change,
it’s one world now.
The old Gods stir.
The Goddesses awake.

Kali, Pele, Eris and Freya,
the Seven Sisters in the heavens,
all speak with one voice.
Work to heal the Earth –
the deep, dark wounds,
psychic and physical –
or cower now in fear.
This is the time the ancients foretold.
Karmic retribution begins.

Video by Soothing Soundscapes found on Youtube

– The Rainbow Serpent is the aboriginal creator being in central Australia. Bunjil the Eagle is the creator being for the part of Australia I live in. He sometimes takes the form of an eagle. The Seven Sisters Aboriginal Dreaming Story is connected to the Pleiades star cluster https://indigenu.com.au/the-seven-sisters-story/

mixed media on paper

Active Hope

Thinking back to what motivated me to write the post on fear earlier this week I see it as hitting a personal rock bottom – the nadir of my being. I’ve been actively seeking to climb out of that pit since. On a practical level I’ve set the ball rolling on some difficult issues that have been keeping me stuck – including getting that plumber to come and sort out the blocked drains behind the house. He came yesterday and cleared the blockage quickly and easily.

Clearing the mental blocks is harder. It’s so easy to give up hope these days when the news is unrelentingly unpleasant and people are so polarized. The news on climate change is frightening and I have absolutely no faith in the Glasgow Climate Summit achieving very much at all.

To find my own way forward in these difficult times I am looking beyond mainstream ideas and solutions. Here’s an interesting video about Active Hope by the Deep Ecologist, Joanna Macy.

Fear

Fear. It’s like a drug so many of us are mainlining now. Fear of Covid. Fear of Vaccinations. Fear of Climate Change. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have some degree of fear about one or all of these things.

Then there’s the personal fear. Will the plumber come to unblock the drains behind my house today or will I have wait another day? That’s the problem with living in a rental. You can’t control stuff like that.

Blocked. Now there’s another subject I could write on. Blocked drains. Blocked options – are there no rentals anywhere in Victoria, Australia in my price bracket that are anything other than brown brick units set in a sea of concrete? Seems not. Rents went up with Covid. The fear is they’ll just keep doing that and I’ll have no option but to stay on in a rental with blocked drains. Then of course, there’s writer’s block and the fear I’ll never finish the book I started writing. The story has gone stale on me and I’m fearful it will never come alive again. But hey – then again – do I really even care? I fear no one will ever read it anyway.

The underlying fear of course is that I may have turned invisible. All these lockdowns – iso our State Premier calls it as if it’s some kind of game – the thing is – I fear I’ve disappeared from view so long it become habitual.

Fear of being seen,
fear of never being seen
– spinning on a dime

pen and ink with collaged elements

prompt:https://dversepoets.com/2021/10/25/haibun-monday-10-25-21-fear/

Postcards/Artist Trading Cards Swap

Over the past year or so I’ve been swapping postcards with some of my online friends. Here’s a selection of cards I’ve received.

My mail box is down the end of a long windswept driveway. Some days walking down it is like walking down a wind tunnel. Opening up the mailbox and finding a card or two from someone on the other side of the world is a real buzz.

A couple of us have decided to do another round of cards. We are wondering if anyone else wants to join in. If you do, please email me at suzanne_593@hotmail.com

There’s no pressure. The idea is you make some cards in your own time and mail them to the people on the list. The other people on the list do the same and, one day when you don’t expect it, you find some cards in the mailbox.

Did I miss something?

Over here in Victoria, Australia the State Government continues to pursue its objective of zero Covid cases. To do that they impose strict lockdowns and restrictions. It worked last year with Alpha variant but Delta is proving harder to eliminate. I live in regional Victoria. We went into our 7th lockdown with 90 minutes notice on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile the Federal Government has announced that Australia’s borders will re-open when 70-80% of the population are fully vaccinated. The way I read the figures we are now around 25%. They tell us that the 80% vaccination rate should be achieved by December. In response the Victorian State Government announced this morning they may not reopen the State even when we reach a rate of 80% fully vaccinated because their modelling shows 25,000 people will die if they do. Does that mean Victorians will be locked down until Covid is eliminated?

Did I miss the announcement as to where all these vaccine doses are coming from? Last I heard there wasn’t enough vaccine in the country to vaccinate such a high percentage of people.

I also must have missed the announcement about how the government is going to convince the anti- vaxxers to get the jab. I have family members in this group. They are adamant they aren’t getting vaccinated. They are otherwise rational people and I’ve learnt not to argue with them for they have an answer for everything. I must have missed the scientific proof that the virus is a hoax and that the vaccines are untested.

Rolling out the vax
despite logistic problems
– how’s that working out?


Of course it could be said that all this argy-bargy is just a smoke screen for Australia’s refusal to do anything constructive about climate change.

More machinations,
the big wheels keep on turning
– the world gets hotter

I’ve been thinking about all the things I hear and wondering what’s going on. I explored the idea that Australia has gone mad but then I got to wondering if something else is in play.

All these scenarios are based in fear.

The Victorian Government appears to be scared people will die of Covid and that they will be voted out of power as a result. The Australian Government seems fearful that if they do anything to change the status quo the economy will suffer, people will lose jobs and that their government will be voted out. I may well be missing some of the finer details here but the end result is the same – incompetent governmental bungling, mixed messaging and lack of compassion.

The anti-vax position looks to me to be fear based too. People are worried they will lose their freedom and that they are being manipulated by an insidious and powerful elite that seeks to control them.

The denial of climate change is also fear based. The fear is that recognizing climate change as a clear and present danger means that our current way of life will be threatened. People are fearful they will lose their jobs and that they will not be able to continue with their hedonistic, consumerist lifestyles.

A lot of climate action also seems to be fear based. Many activists fear that we’re all doomed, that’s it too late and that we have passed the tipping point. They are fearful their message won’t be heard and that governments won’t act in time.

I’m wondering if the way through all this is to acknowledge the fears as real but to move beyond letting them control us. Maybe the future lies in finding ways to live with fear and uncertainty. Maybe we need to move away from top down governments that impose their authority on the people. Maybe we need to put in place forums that ensure all voices are heard in decision making processes. Maybe we need free and easily accessible access to information so that people can make decisions based on objective facts. Maybe, maybe, maybe… Perhaps I’m missing something but…

all this fear based messaging coming from so many divergent viewpoints polarizes people. You can buy into brand A fear based messaging or you can reject that and embrace brand B fear based messaging. Then again you can reject both brand A and B as being mainstream manipulation and align with the alternate fear based messaging of brand C which is cleverly disguised as a non-brand. The end result is that no matter which fear based messaging you chose to believe you are opposed to other forms of fear based messaging.

All this polarization makes any kind of cohesive collective action for the betterment of all impossible. We are too busy being frightened and arguing with each other.

Climate change is bigger than any polarized position. To find ways to mitigate its effects we will need to work together.

Future realities –
dystopian or healthy?
– It depends on us

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/08/23/earthweal-weekly-challenge-big-wheels-turning/