Tell me a story. Tell me the story of the river and the valley and the stream and the woodlands and wetlands, of the shellfish and finfish. Tell me a story. A story of where we are and how we got here and the characters and roles that we play. Tell me a story, a story that will be my story as well as the story of everyone and everything about me, the story that brings us together in a valley community, a story that brings together the human community with every living being in the valley, a story that brings us together under the arc of the great blue sky in the day and the starry heavens at night, a story that will drench us with rain and dry us in the wind, a story told by humans to one another that will also be the story that the wood thrush sings in the thicket, the story that the river recites in its downward journey.
--Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
|Red Admirable (Vanessa atalanta) on purple coneflower in our garden. August 2012.|
Slowly but surely, as nearly imperceptibly as the season shades from summer into autumn, things are changing, things are shifting. I feel old attitudes dissolving. I find myself making new plans, testing new ideas, becoming interested in things I have never been interested in before. Although I still find myself shifting, day by day, from optimism and a belief that I am on the right path and change is occurring, to a despairing conviction that nothing has changed and everything I have ever done in my life is wrong, and then back again. I am afraid of what the changes may bring, and often I find myself wondering whether I will ever be successful; there are so many people trying to be writers today, so how will I ever be able to compete and stand out from the crowd? I wonder, and wonder, and come to no firm answers, even as, slowly, gradually, just under the surface, things continue to change, to shift. Even when, and perhaps even especially when, I feel that nothing is changing at all.
I have been neglecting my butterflies this year. In previous years I could not resist a single one that fluttered by me, and I would be off, chasing after it, camera in hand, but this year I have been, perhaps, too focused on my own life to spend as much time with all those other small lives. The Red Admirable (sometimes also called the Red Admiral) in the photo above lighted on a purple coneflower in our garden the other day and, amazingly, actually stayed put long enough for me to race downstairs for my camera and snap a few photos before it settled in a more inaccessible position behind some leaves. Sometimes, if you don't come to them, they will simply come to you...
I have a million thoughts skittering around in my head that will need to be written about at some point, but for now I'll just leave you with these links:
- Moma Fauna celebrates the fact that the magic is here and now, all around us on this Earth, everyday and everywhere. This is something that I very strongly believe myself - and her photos of fungi and slime molds are lovely as always.
- I love sunflowers, so I also love this photo of sunflower fields, singing, from Bo Mackison. I've never seen an entire field of sunflowers, but I hope that I will one day. Bo's blog, Seeded Earth, is well worth following, by the way, as she takes exquisite nature photos and posts nearly every day.
- For more amazing photos, check out these of mushrooms and fungi. I wish I could take macro photos like these with my camera, but I think I'd need a new camera for that. We haven't had many mushrooms this month because it's been so dry, but we had lots this spring when we had so much rain.
- At No Unsacred Place, Lupa discusses the dangers of talking plants in a well-balanced post on the value of science to nature spirituality. I would love to see more discussions of this kind taking place in the pagan community, since I feel that many pagans either do not really understand the scientific method or dismiss it as something that takes the wonder out of nature. My own studies of science in university have only deepened my spiritual practice, and I have found that, far from "de-mystifying" the world, science only reveals more and more mysteries and reasons to find awe and wonder in nature.
- At The Druid's Garden, some useful tips for saving seeds from spinach and lettuce. We never used to save seeds, but we've started saving some seeds from annual flowers (such as marigolds) this year, and I definitely want to start saving more seeds in the future - maybe not this year, but definitely when I have a garden of my own and hopefully even before that.
- Finally, Marcie Scudder celebrates the value of practice - whatever it is that we do, we practice not so that we can cross it off our to-do lists, but simply to do, to be, and to begin again, day after day.
That's all for this month! I didn't write as much this month as I hoped and I'll probably be doing some travelling in September so posts may continue to be light for a while... but blogging is one of those things that I can feel shifting and changing, so who knows what may happen. The blessings of the autumn (or spring) to you, wherever you are in the world.