The mighty oak and other tales

Today I ventured a little farther down the road that goes by my sister’s old farmstead. It is a steep hill; each day I venture a little more down the road. This way I am able to test my breathing and build endurance in hill climbing to return home. The forest was loudly making her presence known today. Acorns were dropping on the forest floor. How mighty the old oak trees are with maple tree companions.

I am always amazed to observe plants along the way. There is lots of poison ivy growing in the ditch area and I saw darling jewel weed growing near the ivy. The sweet flower is the antidote to poison ivy. You rub it on infected areas and it clears up itchy skin patches. How do remedy plants know where to grow where poisonous plants exist? Do plants communicate? I believe they do. Plants release chemicals and essential oils. Trees are known to communicate when they are about to be attacked by predator bugs. They release chemicals that warn a companion tree colony that danger is headed their way. I suspect that all plant colonies have this chemical defense mechanism. How good of the jewel weed to come and grow near the poison ivy.

A few days ago I received a call from Mike Carpenter, caretaker, Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI. We had planted a three sisters garden at the habitat. It was growing profusely when I left WI on July 11. Well, it was growing so well that deer thought we had planted it just for them. Mike mentioned that the deer were coming in a night, making beds and sleeping at the habitat. They didn’t have to go far to forage. Deer have helped themselves to all the squash and baby pumpkins. Hungry critters have also eaten all the beans except a handful.

I think Mike made the gardens extra inviting by feeding the plants with fish juice all summer. He’s a fisherman and doesn’t throw anything out. I never saw our vegetable garden looking so good. Mike said he wants to put up a night hunter’s motion camera so we can see who lives in the habitat at night.

Long view of secret gardens

Aldo Leopold bench

Aldo Leopold bench

Yesterday afternoon I took the mail out to the Aldo Leopold bench which is under a maple tree and near a trail in the woods. This is my own secret garden now. I was content to sit there and read the mail.

Joe Pye Weed

Looking up I could see Joe Pye weed, one of my favorites. I love the story that goes something like this. Long ago a group of people who came over the big water from Europe became ill. A Native American came to their rescue and gave them a tea to drink. The pilgrims got better. One of the sick asked him, what is the name of that plant? The Native American said, “Joe Pye Weed.” You see that was his name. I can just imagine Joe Pye walking away after saying this.

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Meditation Walk

Today, I received an email from Worth Cooley-Prost, an artist in Alexandria, VA. She asked me to send thoughts to her of what I see and she asked that I pray for her Glass Exhibit called Portals. In response, I went on a Meditation Walk around the loop, a dirt road near my property. Along the way, I stepped off the beaten path into the sand dunes where we hold Water Ceremony in Northwest Wisconsin in season. The first thing I noticed was beautiful miniature soldier moss with their dainty little red hats. Some moss was already laden with the first signs of frost. As I strolled into this sacred space, I encountered deer foot prints and possible wolf scat. As I approached the sacred circle where we hold ceremony I saw a female adult deer near Jack pine who casually walked away and hid among fur trees and hard wood forest to the south. Then from the west,  I heard a crow at about the same time as I smelled the aroma of sweet fern that was a dense colony and climbing over the dunes from the west.

It was here that I whispered Worth’s intentions for the Art Exhibit – Portals. Thinking on the meaning of portals I thought of  dimensions, doors or gateways. First I realized that a female deer silently passed though a portal between Jack pines; an unseen crow flew through the air through a space portal and signified sound as it cawed. The sweet fern that now was growing over the sand dune came though another portal. They came through soil and aroma portals. There are all kinds of portals above us, below us, around us and within us if we open sacred space within, around and beyond us. We can even pass through portals to other dimensions that exist in the Universe. We can be thankful to those beings whom we can not see.  There are portals beyond our understanding. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Sometimes in our human existence we can be hindered by our own thoughts. I pray that all my portals or gateways are open and that I am a conduit of understanding.

As a parting thought, I gathered a few sprigs of sweet fern to represent aroma, a dash of white sage to represent the sacred and furry native small bluestem seed to represent the feral cat I also saw as I walked around the loop a little later. Black and white, it paused long enough to gaze at me from a safe distance resting on a downed tree and camouflaged by leaves. I talked to the cat and told the animal that I loved him/her. I said a prayer that the creature would find food, warmth and shelter this winter. I hope to encounter the cat again. I will start to carry some dry cat food as I walk this way again in another Meditation Walk.

Now I will package the nature gift and mail it to Worth. She deserves my thoughts, reflections and intention.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

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