Aug 23, 2015

Wildfire Harvests and Full Moon Renewals

The red tractors were in the hay fields yesterday. As I drove by I watched them trace lazy, winding circles around the pastureland gathering the cut hay and transforming it into massive rolls that looked like the shredded wheat my grandfather used to eat. I love the drive over to the next valley. I pass small lakes favoured by the local fishermen, and then ranchland dotted with cattle, and finally orchards, farms and vineyards that are pulling in harvest after harvest at this time of year.

August evening sky, pre-wildfire haze.

I'm glad I went out yesterday morning, before the wind changed direction. At some point in the afternoon the wind swept in from the south and brought with it thick smoke from the fires burning just below us in Washington state.  Today, I still cannot see more than a block in each direction - there is only a wall of haze. Unless the air shifts, there will have been no sun today at all. More than that, if the smoke isn't blown out off the valley floor soon it could damage the grapes growing in the hundreds of vineyards dotting the hills. 

It is a bad situation all around, but those who have the worst of it - the ones forced to flee their homes, and the wildlife running for their lives - have my most fervent thoughts and wishes for safety. There has already been tragedy east of here where 30 homes were lost, and straight south, across the border, where firemen have lost their lives. We can deal with smoke and haze and sunless days. Our tourism industry has taken a hit this past week and as of today, you could likely stand at the highway (if you could stomach the smoke) and watch the line of tourists heading home early. Revenue and crop losses are not good. But we still have our homes.

I'm heading up to my friend's ranch this afternoon to check in on her and her corn harvest. I'm not sure what the smoke will do to the beautiful sweet corn she grows. She is a farmer though, and used to trials. Last year birds devastated her field. She tried every trick and invented a few of her own to keep those birds away, but they were legion. This year she got ahead of them and put "corn condoms" on the cobs - coffee filters held in place by an elastic. It allows air in to the cob, but the birds don't see the tops of the corn and therefore don't land on the stalks to pick at it. She is brilliant.

We all create our own ways to traverse what life throws at us (whether fire or plague or something a little less dramatic). Of late I've found solace in chanting - something I've played around with over the years but never really committed to.  A few simple mantras have become favourites. The familiar om mani padme hum and the Green Tara mantras have been wildly helpful in bringing me to a place of calm.

The second full moon in July stripped me bare. This time it was a cold fire, refining me. Nearly a month later as the moon grows toward full again, I feel like a new person. I'm finding peace more easily than I have before. I'm sleeping better and finding new ways to stretch my body in yoga class. I've eaten something out of my yard and/or gardens every day. I have been swimming - full-on swimming, not just wading - in the lake for the first time in years. And just like that, the sun moved in to Virgo today - my birth sign. I am all set to renew my life for another year.

 Second full moon of July in the arms of the cedars.

Coinciding with my birth month, I'll be kicking off another year of magic making with the marvellous Briana Saussy as I dig in to her course Spinning Gold. In Bri's words:
This year-long course provides the principles and practices needed for a life of wholeness, holiness and healing. As a student, you'll access and enjoy real teachings from practicing sacred artists, and a sacred arts community full of love, support, and real accountability.
You can reserve your spot in this incredible journey by heading to Briana's site by August 31st.

Also of note: I've had a few exciting conversations with some brillant magical folks about conjurings for October. If you are new here, make sure you stake out a spot during the most magical month of year - there all all kinds of books coming your way in the yearly Great October Book Giveaway! And there are a couple extra surprises too...

I hope the sultry months have been kind to you, and that you too have sampled local harvests and found adventure whenever you could. My thoughts are with those of you in wildfire areas - continued safety to you and yours.

Summer is still here - it hasn't lost its grasp yet. But there are cooler evenings creeping in, and the sound of geese on the wing is already being heard. Kiss your summer loves and hold them extra close - these hot, heady days won't last forever.