Archive for the ‘death and new life’ Category

Is the Divine Feminine Working on Wall Street?

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

woman in market

Seeing the global markets tumble is as unnerving as an earthquake. Beyond questions like, “Will I be able to retire?” and other understandable, personal fears, lie other more global and cosmic ones.

We’ve long suspected that the current way of running the world is not sustainable. And we know that if something isn’t sustainable, it won’t be long before it begins to crumble. We’ve seen institutions and systems crumbling all around us. With them,  we can watch the crumbling of our illusions that the very ground beneath us and the climate around us are stable.

One way to frame this is to say that the energy responsible for the trouble we’re in is the energy of the wounded masculine. The predatory, win-at-all-costs, short-term way of “winning” through force, oppression and marginalization is the masculine in its most harmful form.

Like the masculine, the energy of the feminine has many forms. She is responsible for birth, but also death. Her realm is all matter and the passages it goes through: from seed to flowering, to dissolution, to decay, to rebirth. And so in many traditions, she has both a creative and a fierce aspect.

She is sometimes Kali, who wears the necklace of skulls. She roars onto the battlefield with a sword and cuts off heads of everything false. With the dead bodies strewn around her, she calmly sits down to nurse her baby.

In western culture, images like this one disturb most people.  When I traveled in Nepal, I saw shrines to the Divine Feminine in her fierce form everywhere. In the midst of the marketplace, many of them were covered with filth, and then strewn with flowers. They were honored just as they were, right in the center of human activity. They were not neat or pristine or protected. Many of them were destroyed in the earthquake. They are icons of the Hindu faith in the process of death and rebirth, the faith in destruction of the false as a path.

And so I look at this photo I took of a Nepalese woman in the marketplace of a little mountain village, and I wonder some things. How did she survive the earthquake? Can she still farm her vegetables and support her family? How well is the world and the marketplace supporting her? Is her faith sustaining her?

She is a reminder to me as I glance at the paper or hear the frantic debates in the media. What would be the saving grace of the Divine Feminine in this situation? What are the falsehoods the fierce feminine would destroy? What is trying to be born?

We know that our economy is largely built on a house of cards that is too false to be sustained. Our own welfare is complicated. We are in debt to the Chinese, and everyone is in debt to someone else. So the falsehood of the “dollar” will collapse at some point.

And what is trying to be born? Wall Street may be the most difficult arena for this, but the Divine Feminine in her Creative aspect is a birther, a nurturer. She is at the heart of Creation, and is the heart of Compassion.

And so as she works on Wall Street, she might be seeding a question: what would a compassionate economic system look like? What would truth look like translated into economic terms? It’s time to consider these questions.

Those men and women who are devoted to the Divine Feminine within us all can be devoted now to her re-emergence in the world. She is surely at work in the massive shift we are experiencing. Let us take a stand for her. Surely that could be the revolution that could save us all.

Lobo’s Last Lesson

Monday, July 21st, 2014

 

 

L's bedWe owners know intellectually that our dogs’ lives pass by much more quickly than our own, but when they begin to fail, it’s utter torture.

Lobo wasn’t a big fetcher, but over the years, Jon had convinced him to go out to get the morning paper and carry it back to the house for a treat. This was always subject to Lobo’s mood that morning, and his periodic refusals were evidence that he could hold himself above bribery. Sometimes he’d go at it with real enthusiasm, throwing the paper up in the air or ripping it to shreds. Other times he’d decide to take it over to his outdoor bed, as if he was planning to lounge there with his coffee. But eventually, he just didn’t want to spend his waning energy on this ridiculous routine. He’d bark at Jon to remind him to go, but then he’d sit on the step and just wait.

Horseback rides with Jon were once a non-negotiable. It was evidently a manly thing to do to go out with the neighbor men, even when it meant trotting for miles, lying down in the shade and panting when necessary, and begging water from Jon. Even in later years when he’d be sore for days, he was not about to be left behind. When his arthritis became obvious, Jon left him once with me. He kept scanning for the horses in the distance and howling and crying. He knew he couldn’t do it any more, but it was as bad for him as it is for some elderly people to have their car keys taken away.

For years when we took him to our place in the mountains, Lobo would be delighted to take advantage of “ranch rules,” which allowed him to get up on the furniture. But eventually, leaping up on our bed was impossible, and he was relegated to the rug.

When he started refusing to take walks, we knew something was really happening inside that big dog body. He would lie on his outdoor bed and just stare at me with his ears down, a clear “No, thanks.” He would go with Jon up until the very end, when we had to agree with the animal communicator that he was getting ready to leave his body.

Lobo’s last lesson was how to die well. He did what he wanted, following his own instincts rather than our wishes. He was extra affectionate, approaching us almost every day just to stare into our eyes. He talked more, developing sounds that became an understandable language. And when it became clear that there were no options left except his suffering, he had loved ones around him singing and drumming and feeding him all the treats he wanted. I would love such a farewell.

We sprinkled Lobo’s ashes in his favorite places around the house. Some under the mesquite trees where he buried bones, treats and the horse brushes he had stolen. The  container of ashes had sat for weeks on a little kitchen shrine with a Day of the Dead dog figure with a paper in his mouth. Next to it was a card from the vet that always made us laugh. It was to Jon and Patty. (Patty was Jon’s first wife back in the 70’s. Someone’s records need updating.)

As I write this, Jon is away on a fishing trip, and the house is absolutely silent. No need to go out and remind Lobo not to bark. The house hasn’t been cleaned for two weeks, because there’s no dog hair. If Lobo were here, he’d be depressed and would be doing a lot of waiting up on his outdoor bed. And so I tell myself there are advantages. The squirrels and birds are happy he’s gone. But I haven’t been able to get rid of his outdoor bed. Sometimes when I drive in, I think I see him there, scanning the yard, making sure the area is safe for me.

Surely we’ll get another dog. And surely we will love that one, and cry again when that one dies. But I know we’ll never forget Lobo. Just like any member of the family, there are no substitutes.

He was indeed, my teacher.

Lobo

Lessons from Lobo #1

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

lobo by Tomar                                                Portrait of the young Lobo by Tomar Levine            (http://www.newyorkpetportraits.com/memorial-portraits.html)

Lesson #1

Lobo first came to me in a wild and mysterious dream. A dream unlike any I’ve ever had. It was 2004, I believe. The year I had my second bout of breast cancer. So perhaps I thought it was effects from the radiation. Or simple madness.

I saw the face of a German shepherd-like dog, presented up close as if in a picture frame. Which seemed odd (not the picture frame, but the breed.) I had been terrified as a child of the German shepherd down the street, who would throw himself against the chain link that gated his driveway, barking and baring his teeth. He was convincing, and I never would have walked that way again, were it not the only route to Joyce’s house. She was my best friend, and so I was stuck with the terrifying dog, who only lived a couple of houses short of hers.

So the face appears in the dream, but is not scaring me, possibly because of some wonderfully golden eyes that look kind and deep. The face is accompanied by a booming, low male voice. The voice of God, or at least a very good radio announcer. “My name is Lobo, and I will be your dog. And, your teacher.”

That’s it. Over and out. I wake up wondering: Is this a good dream, or not? But as a mystic, I am impressed. It’s memorable, at the very least.

At the time of the dream, we were dogless. We had lost Missy, and were still in mourning. I had almost become convinced that life without dog hair all over everything and everybody could have its advantages. We could observe how much we traveled, and wondered if it wouldn’t be kinder to the canine world to do without.

Then Vicky called. Their bartender at Joe and Vicky’s was at her wits’ end. The dog she had brought home from the humane society was terrorizing her Chihuahua. He had been living at the bar, but got too big for that, so Vicky had him at their house along with their two huge hounds. It was a three-ring circus. Could she bring the dog over so I could at least have a look?

I was reluctant on most counts, especially when she told me the dog was a shepherd mix. But then there was that dream…

It was a bit hard to contain him, even on our front porch. He looked to be a large version of a six-month-old lanky puppy, who came up about knee high. That wasn’t high enough for him, so he kept jumping. My gentle “no” and “down” had no effect at all. But he had kind eyes. Amazing eyes of gold, actually, that look like they go on forever. And he looked right at me for what seemed like a long second, right before jumping on me again.

The name on his tag said “Kenai,” but I knew better. Despite inner warning signals, I told Vicky that even though I had to talk to Jon, I thought we would be taking him.

There was no choice.

 

 

The Stunning Light of One Life

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I drummed as people gathered and took their seats, and then welcomed them and explained the parts of the unique event to follow. Creating a memorial service for a woman devoted to indigenous spirituality felt like a huge responsibility, especially when I worry about people’s comfort levels with shamanic practices. But the family assured me that everyone there would appreciate knowing more about this tradition that meant so much to…I’ll call her Sophia.

The family chose an outdoor venue known for its beauty, and we had chairs set up  across from a semi-circular outdoor “stage,” where we put a 6- foot table that would serve as an altar.

The table was laden with bowls full of seeds, candies, feathers, glitter, cotton, chiles, raisins, popcorn and piles of photos, special objects and flower arrangements, feathers, beads and Native fabrics. It looked like a combination of an exotic kitchen and an outdoor market.

First, we called in the directions and created a sacred space, me using my rattle and spirit water and saying prayers, as we stood and faced each of the four directions, and then by touching Mother Earth and raising our hands to Father Sky.

Then we began an adaptation of an indigenous Peruvian despacho ceremony. I explained, speaking especially to the children, that we would be making a present for Sophia, a package packed with our prayers, our memories and our symbols of all that was precious about her life. For our simplified version, we would create three layers of symbols on tissue paper, representing the lower, middle and upper worlds.

On the ground below the altar, we had placed the green and purple ceramic urn with Sophia’s ashes, and her photograph. On a hand woven green and purple Peruvian textile, I laid out white tissue paper, which would become the outer layer of the despacho. Then came red paper for the lower world-the world of the unmanifest.

“Sophia’s life was like a seed that will grow through her children and grandchildren,” I told them. “So I need some volunteers to place seeds and other symbols of Mother Earth.” All the grandchildren ran up.  

After making a traditional Southern Cross of sugar, the children sprinkled seeds, and then spices for the flavors of life: cumin, cinnamon sticks and chiles for southwestern heat. We offered rose petals for the beauty of the earth, seaweed to honor all sea life, plastic neon bugs for the creepy crawlers, raisins to honor the old wrinkled ancestors, and candies for the sweetness of the earth.

The family came up and offered  “kintus” made of trios of bay leaves, into which they had blown their prayers. It was a beautiful layer, and I invited people to come and look at it before it was covered. (We were demonstrating creation and death.)

I laid out green tissue paper for the middle world-the one we experience with our five senses, and therefore believe is “real.” Family and close friends had brought symbols and placed them on the altar, and now they came up to place them into the despacho and explain their meaning.

There were photos of outings, cards from favorite restaurants. Thread from Sophia’s sewing machine. A single dice and a playing card. The grandchildren all brought drawings or letters, some placed amidst tears. A co-worker placed a fetish made by her office, a heart wrapped with a crystal. A daughter placed a small elephant that had been a childhood favorite.The middle layer was a fine mess, like life. Full of treasures.

We covered it with blue tissue for the upper world. More kintus. And now the grandchildren tore up cotton balls to make clouds. They sprinkled popcorn to honor the lightening spirits. They sprinkled glitter shaped like stars, feathers for the winged ones, silver and gold candies for the rain and sun, angels.

It was time to wrap it all up. Sophia’s closest friend came up and helped me fold it all by holding the package—now white—while I folded it in the traditional way and wrapped it with a silver ribbon and a golden cord. I held it up and said a blessing for Sophia’s soul—may she fly.

The prayer bundle would be ceremonially burned by the family, and the ashes would be combined with Sophia’s ashes, and sprinkled as she had requested.

Now it was time for tributes and stories. People had written things, and people tearfully said things they hadn’t written. One of her daughters talked about Sophia’s beliefs, ending with her mantra—Walk in peace.

We closed the directions and the sacred space as I played my rose quartz crystal bowl, which produces a beautiful, reverberating sound that enters the heart. What we all wanted was to walk out of this ceremony and keep those hearts open paying forward the love we all felt. And so we listened to the reverberation, and I reminded us all that the heart’s love reverberates ever so much farther than this sound. We ended with, “May we all walk in peace.”

As I returned to my drum, which I played again as they made their way to each other, and eventually to food and drink and conversation, many whispered thanks. I was especially touched by one young man with full eyes, who said he had never experienced anything like this and that the power of it was almost overwhelming. And of course there were the children.

On my way home, my heart full from the love of this community, I had an extraordinary experience. I saw or felt a huge flash of light whip past the front of my car like a comet. It took my breath away. Tears came, as I felt this was an acknowledgement from the soul of this woman I did not even know. I could see and feel the stunning beauty of this one life, and the stunning beauty of each life. This light, this importance, this beauty of each life is what I want to always remember.

I came home and sat at my computer, and this poured out, along with my tears:

Oh, oh! The splendor of this one life!

It is like a star exploding!

And the whole cosmos applauds

As the fireworks resound throughout the blackness of space,

That is thirsty for light.

 

Oh, oh again!

Another burst of light as she transcends,

As she expands

Past her body

And flies

Free

Lending her light

To all who gather

At the well.

 

We earthlings have no idea

How huge this one life is.

Really, honestly,

How huge.

How bright.

How important.

How eternal.

How unforgettable.

It is awe-some.

Deserving of hands up to mouths,

In astounded speechlessness.

 

And this is just one soul

Making its transition.

 

Think of it.

What could yours be like?

 

Passages

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

 

In my 30’s I began to photograph in earnest. Now that was back in the ‘70’s, so picture me stepping out in a safari-like photographer’s vest and smoking brown More cigarettes. (The More bohemian and rebellious, the better.)

I set out to explore the other side of the tracks. Mind you, I was raised in San Marino, CA, bastion at that time of white privilege, the John Birch Society (sorry if some of these references are too representative of another generation) and suspicion of “others not like us.”

I feel shame as I write this, but it’s my history.

I had lived in NYC and taught public school there for three years, so I was well “over” San Marino. But now in my adult, parental state (and back in the state of CA) I had only moved four miles away, into South Pasadena. Lawns still looked green, houses gentrified, and attitudes were changing slowly. I was in the mood for a rebellion.

I went north, into the “ghetto” of Pasadena at that time, an area full of lovely old Victorians neglected because of poverty and segregation. My camera was my passport. And architecture was my proof that I was documenting unappreciated treasures. I gained entrance into a new neighborhood and a new form of education.

What was valuable about “the old architecture” in society and in my own being that had been neglected? And what needed tearing down and renovating? What was family about? What if all the races lived together and formed one? I photographed these questions.

It was a time of great opening for me. My Victorian grandmother had passed on, and so had her way of life and viewing the world, graceful as it was. My parents appeared confused: pleased to offer me two lamb chops for dinner at the mahogany dining room table, and willing to work hard for my excellent education…yet mired in the ‘50’s view of life. I was just now trying to emerge from it.

The photograph you see is just one of the many photographs I took during that period. I had a show at a hip Pasadena gallery, showcasing several years of 35mm architectural photography. I considered it a tribute to a history that was passing, evolving.

I chose to show you this photograph because I took it in a beautiful old Pasadena classic house that I admired. On the chaise, upholstered in the perfect fabric for that period, lay a book that had been seminal for me: Gail Sheehy’s Passages. After all, I was in one.

Out the window lay some other land, one that was natural and still impressionistic and undefined for me—but one that was beckoning me. So I colored it with Marshall’s Oils, to represent new life. The path ahead.

What is your ‘old world’ now that you wish to honor as it passes and evolves? What would you photograph to represent it? And how does the new one look? What will be your passageway into that new way of seeing, that new life?

A Tribute to Lives Cut Short

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

 

Ninety-five years ago this man, James Struthers Lochhead, was born.

I took this snapshot of my Dad in the late ‘80’s when I was an adult with my own children, He was visiting us in our house, and so it seemed like the moment for a photo. I didn’t think about it much.

But today, in the turbulent wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, I’m thinking about him.

My Dad became my Dad when I was 6 ½, having been without my biological father for 4 years. Robert Hale was a bomber pilot shot down over Germany in 1945, just before World War II ended. He left my mother bereft, saddled with a mysteriously troubled mind (many years later she was diagnosed bipolar) and unprepared for either the world of work or full time mothering.

My Daddy Jim adopted me, and my name was changed from Hale to Lochhead. He treated me as his own, equal to the son he and my mother would have together. I can’t imagine what my life and my mother’s life would have been like without him.

Dad was the rock. A classic optimist, his mantra was that we could be whatever we wanted to be. He worked hard, and provided us with a wonderful education. He barbequed the best ribs in the world, loved corny jokes, and cried at Lassie on TV. He drove old cars and saved his money, leaving me with enough to allow me to follow the work that is my calling.

After my mother died of cancer in 1990, Dad married one of her best friends. After I got over the shock, I saw them free to have fun together, to be equals, to harvest. But two months after their wedding, Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. He lived for 9 months. Life was cut short at 74.

So maybe I’m thinking of Dad because of all the lives that either got cut off way too soon, or altered forever by the pressure cooker bomb at the finish line in Boston. For a sporting event, this was not fair.

I see in this photo of my Dad his open and friendly manner, his love for me, and also I see tension in his jaw and a sadness around the eyes that speaks now of the disappointments he would never have mentioned then.

I changed my name back from Lochhead to Hale because of a circle I got to complete by getting to know my biological roots. And, the word “Hale” means “whole,” “healthy” and “hardy,” encouraging words for a two-time cancer survivor.

But today I raise my imaginary glass to the legacy my Daddy Jim gave me. He always said that he wanted to live in such a way that any day would be a good day to die. I feel him still, giving me that encouraging look about my journey.

I pray today that the spirits of those lost and injured in Boston live on so strongly that when their loved ones look at their photos, they will do more than remember. I hope they will feel the spirit of their precious one and know they are not alone.

My Daddy tells me he is held in strong arms, that he flies with the stars, and that he knows his smile can still be felt, even in the midst of troubled times.

All Saints and All Souls Day: Making Friends with Death

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

First, a bit of history about Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

This time of year was known as Samhain by the Celts, meaning “summer’s end,” and named for the lord of death who allowed souls who had died to return to earth on Nov. 1. Some who had been harmed during their lives returned as ghosts, witches, goblins and elves and haunted their living persecutors. Cats were considered sacred because they had been humans and were changed into cats as a punishment for misdeeds. To protect against these scary spirits, on the eve of Samhain, people put out their hearth fires and the Druids (priests) built a huge bonfire of sacred oak, offering sacrifices of crops, animals and some say even humans, telling fortunes of coming year by divining the ashes and remains. People wore costumes of animal heads and skins. They took fire from bonfire to light their hearths again.

Local traditions developed from there. The Irish held a parade, following a leader dressed in a robe with a mask head of an animal, and begged for food. And, they started the jack-o’lantern. Someone named Jack couldn’t enter heaven because he was a miser, and couldn’t enter hell because he had played practical jokes on the devil; so he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day.

Later, after the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, an autumn festival honored Pomona, the goddess of fruits and trees, connecting the apple with the celebrations, which were combined with Samhain.Christianity brought in All Saints Day on Nov. 1, honoring those who had entered heaven. Some of the pagan celebrations for All Hallows Eve remained, and took new forms.

During the Middle Ages the belief arose that it was the souls in purgatory who appeared on All Souls Day as witches, toads, goblins, etc. to people who had wronged them. This began the custom of feeding, honoring and appeasing the spirits. In addition, celebrations for the Feast of All Souls began in the early days of the church, for those departed who were in purgatory, hoping for entry into heaven. These celebrations have evolved in Mexico where graves are decorated on the morning of All Souls, Nov. 2. In Louisiana, relatives whitewash and clean tombstones and decorate them with garlands, wreaths, crosses and flowers.

If one of these traditions is part of your custom, then you have your own meaning associated with this time of year when the veils between worlds is thin. If not, what can we make of all this?

Well, I see it as an opportunity to make friends with death. First, we can remember our loved ones who have passed by creating our own ceremonies: telling stories, making altars, visiting their graves, or just by lighting a candle. We’re not only honoring them, we’re bringing the seen and unseen worlds closer together—not just for the spirits, but for ourselves.

Death is such a taboo subject in our American culture. Other cultures have fun with this time of year, and take it seriously at the same time. In Mexico, lots of cooking and preparations are happening right now, to honor those who live on in our hearts. Humor, whimsy, music and creativity are all part of the recognition of the part death plays in all of our lives.

In Tibet, it’s customary to begin preparing in midlife for one’s death. In yoga, we end our asana practice with savasana, the “corpse pose,” where we let go and allow our thoughts and our illusions of control to “die.”  When we sleep we let our day “die,” and hopefully our troubles too. We enter the land of the dark, closing our eyes to the seen world, and entering another world we only partly see in dreams.

In the morning, we don’t remember all of where we’ve been, just as we don’t consciously remember being in the spirit world while we’re on earth. Day and night, dark and light, life and death are the yin and yang of our reality.

In the shamanic tradition, we say that we don’t want death “stalking” us, which happens when we live in fear of it. So we make friends with it, knowing that we are, at our essence, eternal. Though we may have fears of dying, we live “beyond” our fear, because we know that our spirit will journey on when it leaves the body. This time of year is an opportunity to imagine that journey and to celebrate those who are on it.

May you find that the thinness of the veil brings you blessings this year.

 

About transformation…

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Blue Morpho

This is my favorite Costa Rican Butterfly, which I got to see again at a Butterfly farm, where the trained guide held this one in his hand for us to see and appreciate. The butterfly facts of life he shared were stunning to me, and made me think again about the subject of transformation.

Did you know that caterpillars have within them “imaginal cells” that carry the blueprints of their future lives as butterflies? I think of these almost like photographic negatives, and also like the luminous field that surrounds us all. This energy carries a blueprint of what we might become as well, and that’s why it’s so important to “clean” this field as often as possible and to keep gathering light energy around and within us. We want those blueprints or negatives to carry the highest and best possibility that we will then manifest in form.

Are we like imaginal cells in our society, who all carry blueprints of transformational possibilities for the planet? I like to think so. What do you think?

I found it amazing to hear that caterpillars also have wings! They aren’t visible, but they are incorporated into the caterpillar’s body. During their stay in the chrysalis, the wings begin to unfold so they can be available when the chrysalis breaks down and the butterfly emerges.

Perhaps we too have wings of sorts–forgotten angelic parts that are within us. When our time come to break out of this form, I like to picture those wings unfolding and presto!  Flight!

Finally, one more fact about the Blue Morpho delighted me. The wings are not really the beautiful sky blue they appear to be; they are transparent. From ground level, one can look up at the morpho and see that the wings are transparent. But the top part of the wing reflects the sky, and so appears to us to be exactly the sky’s color.

So we too may not be the “color” we appear to be to others. We are really light beings, and so we reflect what is around us. In reality, we are transparent, light-filled. And all our colors, though beautiful, may be illusions.

And so how is all this butterfly stuff useful? Well, for me it helps me to remember that there is “more than meets the eye” in every person and every situation. If much of what I see is illusion, then I must continue to train my inner eye to see the invisible, and to bring that vision into my life that I might see more clearly and use that vision to become a wiser, clearer, more loving human being.

A Message from the Sea

Friday, June 4th, 2010

This is Sand Spirit Insight Card #26.  I “drew” it for today by just picking a number and clicking on it without knowing which image would come up. This one has morphed over time. I used to see a woman in it, offering a gift to the heavens. I still can see her today, but more often now I see a face of a male figure who appears to be a wizard. He tells me he can see the invisible, see below the surface. He is warning us about the necessity for humankind to move away from the personal and the ego into the realm of greater consciousness and responsibility to the earth. He is talking about the tragedy of the oil spill as the most recent example. His left eye (his more feminine or intuitive side, connected to his right brain) is his more active eye. His right eye is focused on the heavens. This is his doing side, and he has surrendered to divine guidance for all his decision-making.

This is serious stuff, but how else can we respond to all that is happening now?  A volcano erupts in Guatemala, followed by floods and the appearance of a giant sinkhole in the capital. Oil threatens our ocean, our sea animals and a whole way of life on the southern coast. Whatever actions we must take, this looks like the time to begin them.

The card I drew coincides with my finishing Craig Hamilton’s course in integral enlightenment and moving beyond the ego. The shift we must make requires a new kind of effort–one that begins with surrender to forces greater than ourselves. We live within the Great Mystery, and it looks like it’s time to respect it again.

How will we each begin?

Winter Remembers the Spring

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

spring

I walk out into the desert’s winter, watching for signs.

The blonde brittle grasses part, giving me a glimpse of apple green beneath.

The hard ground softens for ants wakening to build spring mounds.

Black broken trees play dead, but tell me the sap is rising like warm honey in their limbs.

The mountains’ sprinkling of sugar pours down into liquid in the washes.

Wildflowers are plotting from deep within their seeds, imagining their riot.

And I thrill to the feel of my heart widening into the sweet flow of breath within.

The land is remembering me into new life.