Full Moon at 7° Aquarius, July 31, 2015, exact at 6:43 am EDT
As I’ve noted before, the full moon marks the halfway point of the new moon cycle. This Cancer new moonth so far has been quite up to the Age of Cancer’s destruction through rains and floods, with emotional loss on a very personal level for me.
During the last nine months I have come to a place, for the first time in my life, of contentment. My life is simple, contemplative; I don’t worry and inwardly agitate as much as I used to – a habitual state for most of my life. I cultivate faith and trust in a benevolent Goddess rather than the punitive God I grew up with. I am happy.
Through most of this past year domestic peace has reigned with two very special women with whom I share a house. They have done a lot to heal a lifetime of domestic strife ptsd. Added to this is a special Teacher Tree with whom I have spent a huge amount of time. This particular relationship with ‘my’ Tulip Poplar tree has opened me to many of the innate gifts that I tried so hard to stifle to make others comfortable throughout my life.
I have painted and photographed my Teacher Tree; shared tea, meals, star gazing and lovely, long quietude. The muggy summer months along with the mosquitos have shortened my visits in the past few weeks however, and I feel the loss of close proximity to her. This summer so far has given my area of NC some much-needed regular rain through wonderful, mostly evening, storms – one of my life-long joys.
Two nights ago another storm came through about 6 pm. We were all three of us at home watching and remarking on the need for rain and how much we love thunder. Recently it often sounds to me like tigers growling while they circle. Suddenly the wind got fierce, whipping the rain against the windows, lashing the leaves and plants like crazy. When we next looked, the beloved tree had broken in half. A branch, thicker than many trees in the neighborhood, lay down the bank, across the driveway and into the neighbor’s yard. It’s funny how close the tree is to the house – about 30 feet – but I don’t remember hearing or feeling the crash. Or maybe I did and thought it was thunder. Although a branch hovered over the trunk of my car, the car remained completely unscathed. The Tulip Poplar has been guardian of this land for 150 years or more.
The Tulip Poplar has been sick for some time. All beings grow, live, prosper for a time, then die. I had known for several months that she was ailing. I feel that may be why our relationship became so powerful just now. She was passing on to me what wisdom she could while there was still time, while I was receptive.
I felt her struggle as spring initiated another growth season and that her energies were sluggish during the flowering process this April. A quietness had settled over her in the weeks that followed. Although I knew she was starting her death process I put it firmly out of my mind. After all, she was my friend, mentor and teacher. She would be around a long time to guide me in my arduous task of living.
No, she won’t. She is much further along in her process than at first imagined. I am heart broken at loosing yet another dear, valued friend. Something I am well acquainted with since very young, but not something that has been easy to go through – ever.
The morning before the storm found me remembering something I hadn’t thought of in many years: I, and my then-husband, had moved into our new house in August 1994. One afternoon in late December of that year there was suddenly a huge thud and the house shook. It didn’t take long to discover that a dead tree from the woods surrounding us had fallen straight toward the house across the yard. It wasn’t quite long enough to do any damage, but there were three scratches on the window. It was close.
We had purposely chosen to build on land that would be selectively cleared only at building time, and I had gone before any of that started to perform ceremony asking the spirits of the trees and land to forgive our cutting and intrusion, and that we all live together in harmony and peace there. Indeed when, two years later, Hurricane Fran slammed through North Carolina we were again untouched. Our neighbors suffered much property damage, but even with the tornadoes that accompanied Fran across our yard, flattening many trees, the only thing amiss was the ground-end of a gutter that got knocked off when a pine fell neatly in the narrow gap between the house and my car.
Shortly after this tree that scratched the window in its fall, I had an idea for a photograph involving the downed tree. I called it “The Goddess Sleeps.” So, the morning of July 21, 2015, before the breaking in two of the Tulip Poplar, this image came back to me, echoing down through 21 years of time….really only a moment away. I wondered if I was supposed to paint it; why it had suddenly come into my mind. As the day carried on, I forgot about it.
Soon after the drama, the rain stopped, and a guy came out, after hours, to clear the driveway (a minor miracle itself) and I was able to make my acupuncture appointment the following day. It wasn’t until I was on the table that I again remembered “The Goddess Sleeps.” I was stunned as tears spontaneously streamed from my eyes. In that moment I realized it wasn’t so much a memory as a communication using memory imaging. The Teacher Tree was telling me she was going back to sleep now – not dead, but only sleeping.
I was humbled, moved beyond the feeling of great loss and felt poignantly her acceptance of the rhythms of life. There was no regret, or clinging. No sadness or despair; simply the truth of the matter. What a lesson in true detachment.
Now, estimates will be sought, tree removers hired and she will be gone. We’ve saved three round slabs we asked the chainsaw man to cut so that each of us has a piece of our friend and the rest of her wood will be burned in sacred fire pits by more than one household. Carol, who owns the house, has been here for more than 20 years. Jane, her best friend for over 40 years, has lived here three different times over the years and is moving to Mexico in a few days; another devastating loss for us. I have been here for nearly three years, but it somehow feels now like the sundering of the Fellowship. Who knows what this storm blew in to our lives – where we will all end up? Times are changing, things are shifting. The Ages of Cancer and Leo were all about uncertainty, devastation, loss and survival. Some things never change…..
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