The Garden is Rich by Chinook Psalter

Pastor Melissa O’Brien posted this wonderful prayer on her Website for The Peru Church at https://www.theperuchurch.org/sunday-gathering

The garden is rich with diversity
With plants of a hundred families
In the space between the trees
With all the colours and fragrances.
Basil, mint and lavender,

Great Mystery keep my remembrance pure,
Raspberry, Apple, Rose,

Great Mystery fill my heart with love,
Dill, anise, tansy,

Holy winds blow in me.
Rhododendron, zinnia,

May my prayer be beautiful
May my remembrance O Great Mystery
be as incense to thee
In the sacred grove of eternity

As I smell and remember
The ancient forests of earth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

A tree through history

It all started as a child. I used to go to Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, New York, to sled. My father knew how much Saratoga memories meant to me as I grew older and worked afar. In 1982, he took pictures of Union Avenue where canna arrangements line the avenue in August. At the bordor of Circular Drive on Congress Park and Union Avenue there was always a spectacular flower arrangement. Often it was shaped like a horseshoe, or words would have been spelled out in flowers. Always a stunner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne photo I looked at yesterday showed the trees that stood directly behind the arrangement. They were there to provide a privacy screen for the park and the road that went no where in front Canfield Museum. Last week I was riding on a local bus and while I was talking to a young Skidmore student who knew tree chemistry, the bus driver Pat said, I have a tree story.

He said, “I was driving along Circular Street when I noticed a piece of a pine tree that was cut down. It called to me. It was shaped like a heart.” He continued,  “I asked a young man on the bus to get off and get it for me. The piece is now under a seat. I want you to take the piece home. I am supposed to give it to you today.” At first I declined, but then I realized it meant something to not only the driver, but that it had a message for me also.

seed bombYou see, I had a sacred tree long ago in the foreest in Southern Maryland. It was in a Chesapeake Ranch Estates, in Lusby.  Tia, my dog, and I used to walk the horse trail a few times a week. Within this forest was the sacred tree. I won’t write about it now or this story will be too long.

Anyway, I took a beautuful part of a branch that fell from the tree. I loved the virgin wood that was exposed. The fragrant wood ended up being part of an alter that I maintained in Minong, WI. The tree always spoke to me. Tia and I would go visit the tree, before the branch fell. It was a large tulip tree and was burned by lightening fire long, long ago. This had significance for me because it meant that the medicine of the tree was strong. In Southern Maryland, after I brought it home, I kept it under a shed out of the rain, wind, and snow. There was no place in that house to display it. The house in Minong, WI, however, had a fireplace mantel and it was here where I placed the beautiful shaped wood and set up my alter and lit a candle in the morning to do morning offering.

The Eno River in full bloom.When it became time to leave Wisconsin in 2012, I knew where I was moving to had no place for the alter. I had to leave it behind, along with several other sacred objects. I won’t name them. I took the wooden alter and sacred objects to a place near my home where several women and I would get together and do sacred water cememony. This was a sacred site to me and no one knew of it, expect those I brought there. It was here I did my last Water Ceremony and bid goodbye in the last ceremony. I placed the alter here among the sand dunes and Jack pine that was moving in. These sacred objects had been part of my life in Venezuela and Peru. These were objects that I carried with me after I no longer lived in South America. They had been part of my life since the 1970s.

In Saratoga Springs, I don’t have a sacred wooden alter. This wood is about the right size to place on a wide window ledge. Once again I will have sacred wood around me. I can smell the beautiful scent of pine in my bedroom now as the wood ages. In January, I will give it to a woman who’s husband is a master workworker. He wll sand it down and put a light protective coat on it.

Isn’t it amazing how Creator comes to us and offers something that is highly significant to each of us? I am honored to know this young man, Pat, the bus driver and to know he recognized the importance of the story, even though he hasn’t heard anything about why.

Monarch Butterfly Chatbook – Butterfly Garden

CREATING A BUTTERFLY GARDEN

 Butterflies need water to drink. An inviting butterfly garden should have a shallow water dish set in the ground, no deeper than ½ inch. A bird bath is too deep. Mostly male butterflies like to puddle in damp sand or mud which contain salts and minerals they need for reproduction. They like to wait here for a mother butterfly to stop by. Allow some moistened soil for puddling. Place a few rocks around the butterfly watering site. This will allow butterflies to perch before and after drinking.

Monarch butterflies also have an appetite for rotting fruit. In season, I often place overripe squashed bananas out in the garden for pollinators.  Butterflies can drink moisture from fruit. Melons are a good source and juicy rinds are appreciated also. All creatures need good nutrition.

If you plant a butterfly garden be sure that there are some shrubs and trees nearby so the butterfly can fly to cover if it needs to. The monarch butterfly is very light and weighs about the same as a maple leaf or about half a gram. I have seen a monarch fly to a tree when it started to rain. Even a rain drop can dislodge a butterfly where it hides among leaves. Sometimes a butterfly can recover if it falls to the ground but more often than not, a wet monarch will be too heavy to fly. A butterfly needs sun to have dry wings.