Monthly Archives: September 2017

Exploration

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Being still and sitting with what is, is not always easy, especially when life feels like it is unravelling. It has been for a while, but admitting it to myself has not been easy. Sitting now in the uncertainty of possible changes in so many areas of my life: relationship, home, work, etc., I find moments of clarity here and there, as if clouds are parting and suddenly I can see the brilliant blue sky beyond.

Change is in the air. The Fall Equinox is happening as I am writing this at 1:02 pm here on the West Coast. Summer has ended. You can feel it in the cool crisp air and see the leaves turning bright yellow and brown, some letting go, gently drifting to the ground below. The theme of the Equinox of finding Inner Balance, as the sun enters the sign of Libra, certainly speaks to me in a big way and my sense is for many others as well.

Looking at the passing clouds and watching the interplay of different layers, shades of grey and their transformation before my eyes, gives me the opportunity to view change not through the lens of fear, but with openness and wonder.

 

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What I love both about photography and writing is that it exposes unseen layers, discovered through both the stillness of the image or the words and having the opportunity to dive deeper into what is being shown. Often I may see something that I couldn’t see before, revealing a deeper magic and a much wider perspective on things.

It is in these layers and different textures of life as well as the spaces in between, that I slowly find the clarity I need to move forward on my path. Exploring all that is happing and taking time to look from different angles, close up and from a distance, creates a field of vision that is needed to see a more complete picture and also allows me to open up to what is being uncovered. Some of it is easy to see and some of it is painful to receive and be with.

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As I witness my inner restlessness pushing and pulling, I am reminded of one of my favourite poems by Mary Oliver “The Journey“, whose words describe so well that deep inner calling to step out of the familiar and into the unknown. For now I soften into the restlessness, the not knowing, the fears and the dreams, trusting that love will guide me on this journey, wherever it takes me.

 

The Journey 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

 

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In response to the Daily Prompt: Leaf  and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered

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Owl Medicine

The day was drawing to a close, when all of sudden I had this sense that I needed to go outside. I had been captivated by a novel for most of the day and was happily lounging on the couch, when this feeling to go outside nagged at me. I put down the book stepping out of the world of fiction and into the Here and Now and out onto our deck, just at that mysterious threshold of dark and light.

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Pulling the fresh sea air deep into my lungs, I gazed at the beauty of the familiar surroundings. And that’s when I saw her! Forgetting about my breath or anything else for that matter, I looked closely at her sitting on the lowest branch of a Fir tree in her beautiful grey plumage, very close to where I was.

Standing transfixed and gazing into her black eyes, I knew that she had been the one calling me silently. I sat down on the top of the steps and we continued our dyad holding each other’s gaze. Time stood still. In fact everything faded away as the bottomless blackness of her eyes drew me deeper and deeper into the Mystery.

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Suddenly a movement on my left caught the corner of my eye. Breaking the spell, I turned my head to see what it was. It took a moment to figure it out, as I watched something move zigzag in and out of view from beneath the house. Finally coming to a still-stand, just a few feet from me, was a rat.

Astonished by this development I turned my head back towards the owl who was now completely focused on the rat with such an intent, that I could feel the tension rise in me. The rat, protected somewhat by the overhang of the roof, seemed totally unaware of either our presence and began grooming herself. I have to admit she looked rather cute and innocent in the waning light. My gaze went from owl to rat, back and forth, wondering what will happen. I could feel both the rat’s relaxed way of being and the readiness of owl waiting to pounce at the perfect moment.

Then the rat moved out into the open and straight towards owl. Holding my breath I stared at both of them. In the next instance rat turned back, perhaps now sensing the danger, zigzagging back beneath the safety of the house. Taking a deep breath in, I felt both myself and owl relax once again. We looked at each other but without any tension. There was just a deep presence welcoming me, holding me in the black pool of her eyes.

A moment later she dropped silently into the Salal beneath her. Again no luck! Taking off to a tree by the water, I was amazed how P1170814my eyes had adjusted to the dark and I could see her land. Rising slowly from my seat I felt deep gratitude and wonder.

The next evening she visited once more. First I heard her hoot, then saw her land in a tree not far from the house. Dropping everything, I grabbed my camera and ran outside. She let me come very close, but as soon as I lifted the camera owl flew to another tree. I just had to follow her. Noticing that I had forgotten to put any shoes on, I continued on barefoot. Owl led me up the hill towards the bluff, then disappeared out of sight.

Being this close to one of my favourite spots, I decided to climb down the hill, making my way carefully with no shoes. When I got to the bottom I lifted my head and to my amazement there she was again right in front of me. Once again I felt deeply drawn into the dark mystery of her eyes.

As I stood barefoot before her, memories arose of past encounters like when she came a few weeks after my father had transitioned. I was sitting outside with my dog journalling and I had noticed the owl sitting on a post not far from us. Engrossed in my writing I suddenly felt her big wings right over my head. I could feel the power of the wind from her wings and Frodo jumped up immediately to protect me and barked at her. Owl swooped down over him as well. It felt like she touched us both with her wings. I wondered at the time if my father, who had been very fond of Frodo, had sent her. It sure felt like it.

I remembered other times, too, but the one most dear to me was when owl sat outside my window in the pouring rain for hours, watching me pack with a heavy heart getting ready to move to a new place. Her presence was so comforting at the time.

Once again it feels like a time of transition for me and I am glad Owl has come to guide me through it. My sense is all I have to do is trust and know I am being guided!

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Weekly Photo challenge: Waiting