Blessed by the bounty of harvest here in Paradise Found this year, I continue to be humbled and deeply moved by the earths reciprocity and generosity, despite our human foibles and down right desecration of her intelligence, beauty and gifts.
In the aroma of dehydrating pears, the pop of apple sauce bubbling on the stove and the rich sensation of dirt under my nails an inch thick after garlic planting, there is an aliveness in these 72 trillion cells in these autumn days. In the gaze of willow and fern, stellar jays arguing over the sunflowers and the chill of autumn air, hair and skin come alive to meet the layers of sensory abundance. Even a hormonal fog cannot over invade the natural call to awaken, get outside and move among the green ones.
Morning air brings me back to life!
A month ago I opened a bag of potting soil from northern BC. As I slowly took handfuls of soil and placed them into a pot being readied for winter kale transplants, something moved.
I paused and waited. Something was stirring under the soil. The movements were jumpy and random, and I thought perhaps a mouse was in the bag! I waited longer, and to my astonishment a frog slowly and groggily emerged from the soil.
There were no holes in the bag, and I realized that this frog must have gone into dormancy in the darkness of being encased in soil inside a bag. Frogs, in winter, actually find a living space called a hibernaculum to protect them through the cold months of the year. Their metabolism slows and they sleep, as their body uses it’s energy stores. When the hibernaculum warms they awaken into the call of spring.
I opened my hand and to my surprise the frog walked, yes! – not hopped, but walked onto my hand. He was slow, blinking and disoriented. He reminded me of how i awaken some mornings after a night of deep dreaming, finding my way between the worlds and sheets out into the day.
Carrying the frog, I walked across the yard to the apple tree garden in the front of the house as he moved slowly along my hands which I placed one in front of the other to support his slow journey. I marveled at his growing vitality, his quickening breath and marveled as his body plumped before my eyes. The frog, then climbed up with his front feet onto my forefinger, and hung his long body down the inside of my fingers.
I asked if he would prefer to land in this garden, close to the house, or the food garden further a field.
I waited still. He tentatively brought his back feet up one at a time so that all four were now perched on my extended index finger. I continued to watch as he tottered slightly, orienting through his four feet, before leaping with vigor into the space of the garden. I called out “Welcome to Paradise!” as I lost sight of him in the hostas.
That evening as i returned to the house from the barns I heard frog song coming from the front of the house. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was actually autumn he had arrived into, as to him I’m sure this day heralded spring and a return to life. I laughed out loud at the perfection of his song of renaissance, and that soon he would tune into the chilling autumn air, and have to find a new hibernaculum. A short spring indeed!
As the hostas descended in all their golden glory, I imagined them falling over this little frog gently like a blanket, and that the composting green ones might provide a perfect hibernaculum for his winter dreaming.
I have a human hiberniculum, that we call the Dream Lodge here in Paradise Found. It has been a conscious practice of mine for the past decade to follow the mirror of nature when I can, and in this season to slow down as the days grow shorter and the winter solstice appears on the horizon. My practice includes a weekend of deepening into the mysterium of silence, rest and deep listening. I emerge with more space to breathe, seeds of future creative offerings and an ever deepening reverence for this precious human life. You are invited to join me here the first weekend of December.
See www.pennyallport.com – Darkening into Light, a weekend retreat if you feel called to join us.