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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

tinder box



my friend alan.(ghost of the woods)sent me one of these today..i always liked the look of one,and this turns out to be brass..thanks al..

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

games

I come to this place at dawn, particularly eager to start the day. It seems that I come here less and less often, and yet here within the wall of this forest is my sanctuary. All around are the reds and yellows, blues and greens of nylon, and yet the occupants of this mass of tents still sleep. In their stead I share my company in the presence of others - deer and beaver and a great blue heron. I prefer it that way as they do not ask for conversation to break the silence of the morning, only a respect for their right to be there as well. Even more than mine, this is their home. We greet each other quietly in passing and continue, each on our own way. A tone of understanding runs between us, they know that I come today not to ask of them but simply to enjoy the colours that nature’s paintbrush has left.

Botanists can talk at length of how the leaves change colour - it has to do with a decrease in chlorophyll production, and the absence of green highlights the colours of the carotenoids and other isomeric hydrocarbons that were always present. That may be, but I prefer the old native way: in the autumn as the trees prepare for their winter sleep, they change their leaves to the colours of fire - red and yellow and orange. As the wind gathers the leaves from the trees, it uses the leaves to form a thick blanket over the ground. When the icy winds of winter blow and the snow covers the ground, the leaves work to protect the lives of the little people, the insects that live on the forest floor. Without the help of the insects and others, tree flowers could not be pollinated and the trees’ roots would not receive the nutrients that the breakdown of the leaves provide. A magical circle - the tree people and the insect people provide for each other, and in turn for others. The flowers, once pollinated will begin to conceive fruit that will nourish migrating birds, squirrels and many others. The insects will survive the winter to continue their work when the spring thaw comes.

There is a road here at first, hard packed and rutted from years of use. The road seems out of place here in the dawn light, much too large for what is required for feet to walk on the Earth. After a bit the road changes to a trail, but this too has been groomed for unsteady feet. An interesting paradox - I used to think that cities were great for other people, for it kept them out of the woods. Unfortunately, if people don’t experience this place they won’t care for it and it will be okay to cut it all down. So, I tolerate the presence of others in ‘my’ woods; they must likely do the same of me. I have a destination in mind though, somewhere those of tender feet won’t follow.

Past the picnic spot that has been so carefully laid out, I continue to follow the creek that flows here, heading upstream like a salmon returning home. Continuing past the beaver ponds (there are three, but at this time of year the water is so low that the lodges are almost on dry ground) I arrive at the spot to which I have come so many times before. Far from the maddening crowd as it were, I am alone. Not truly alone, but rather away from humans. In a way, I live for these moments; here I am at home. I have no great dislike for all humanity, only those who have placed themselves in front of everyone and everything else. We live in a web of life, by exploiting the Earth we ultimately do damage to each other, ourselves. It may be that we will realise this too late to change, having passed the fulcrum point on our way to a steep downhill slide. Still, I remain hopeful for the coming generations; maybe they will take the control of the Earth from our hands and admonish us for tampering with something of which we have little understanding.

For now, I can be at peace with myself, in the presence of the friends who are gathered. There are many young trees here, ash and maple, but few parent trees. The birch and poplar looked after them while they were young, and then left them to their own. I have found no evidence of fire, and even fire would have left some of the elder trees to counsel the seedlings as they grew. Therefore I am forced to surmise that the trees were all taken from here before we managed to protect it from ourselves. Maybe these trees will live long enough to offer the proper words to the younger generations.

As the sun starts his long climb across the sky, the wind comes by with its basket to collect the leaves from the trees. Occasionally a leaf will jump from the basket and fall slowly toward the creek. There, the fallen leaves provide a bright contrast to the darkness of the water. The current tugs at the ropes of the Lilliputian boats, and they glide effortlessly across the surface of the pool. Here the grade changes, and the leaves are whisked swiftly through the tiny rapids. Caught with fear, some of the leaves clamour for shore and pull themselves from the flow. Others, more adventurous, ride the center current, daring the water to go faster so they can go bumping, careening over the rocky path. Some will end their ride in a side-pool, or trapped finally beneath the water and held pinned against a rock. Others, however will take the high ride through the caves and over the falls and rapids down to the lake below.

I ache for such a journey myself, and so I step tremulously onto the center of one red maple leaf and pull up the stalk to make a sail. The wind obliges my request, and a puff of breeze sends us quickly to the end of the little pool. Here the current takes reins from the wind and pulls us down the steep incline of a waterfall. Through the lobes of the leaf, droplets of water reach up to snatch me from my perch and I am forced to hold tightly to the edges of my maple host. Using the leaf stalk, I manage to manoeuvre the leaf away from the rocks that lean over to block our way. None of us are serious in this endeavour; it becomes a joyous game for all.

At the next pool, I step from my leaf and return to the edge of the stream. It is becoming midmorning and the campers will be arising soon. These games they would not understand. I turn briefly to wave to my friends, then turn back to the stream that will guide my journey out of here, back to my house and away from my home.

deer spirit.

The night sky dawned crisp and clear, the blackness brushing away the last vestiges of twilight and tucking the sun finally to bed. I looked up at the pinpricks that had formed in the velvet covering the dome of the earth and saw our Grandmother, Nokomis hanging full and bright - a reverse silhouette in an autumn sky. Gathering my implements, I headed out into the chill of the night air to seek an audience with her. The time of the full moon is seen as a time of strength and solidarity for women, and although I do not menstruate in this lifetime, I wanted to pay homage to the female side of myself.

I started off down the road, wrapped in my own thoughts, when I heard a rustle to my left. Spinning around, I saw a flash of white as the tail of a buck danced into the night. I stopped and spoke to him, and he too stopped. Speaking softly, I told him who I was and not to be afraid for I would bring him no harm that night. We shared a moment, standing there, and I joined my spirit with his and we ran together. I could feel my legs tighten as we ran, cells crying for oxygen. My heart and lungs screamed with exhilaration. On and on we went, gliding quietly through the forest, whispering past trees. In time we emerged into a clearing, a place to rest. Thanking my friend, I returned to myself and continued my journey down the road. As I walked, I remembered the spirit deer that came to me first at the Petroglyph site. I was intrigued by the thought that although my spirit is that of the wolf, it is a deer that watches over me. It seemed to represent a kind of balance, the deer feeding the wolf and the wolf keeping the deer strong.

Turning from the road, I continued down the path leading to the forest and began looking for a place to sit. As I entered the woods, I saw a place where a break in the trees allowed our Grandmother to shine a white circle on the forest floor. It was there that I set down my blanket and arranged my things before settling myself to the ground as well. There was hardly a whisper of wind, and the candle flame cut upward, illuminating the night. I laid out my pipe, looked up into the night, and began my conversation.

life, death, and renewal.

The sharp cry hung still in the air for a moment, then settled slowly to the ground below. Above the field, a red-tailed hawk circled - watching intently for any signs of movement. Her call had been intentional, its purpose to frighten one of the voles, shrews or mice that she knew to be living in the grass into panic - sending it scurrying away from safety and into her clutches.

Spring had come at last to the valley, but it had been long in coming, and winter was not quite prepared to release its grip. The hawk had survived several winters, but this one seemed the worst of all. The snows had piled deep in the valley - making hunting difficult, and there were days when the wind seemed to blow right through her - the layers of feathers offering little protection against the wind's cold bite. She preferred not to migrate, as most hawks did, and had managed to survive quite well in the woods and valley over which she now soared.

In staying, she had managed to maintain her hunting territory and nesting site; warding off advances from newcomers as they returned in the spring. Her mate had died last fall, but maybe she would allow an approach from another this year. She had given birth to several chicks - each year some would not survive, but the others she tended and fed and taught to soar and hunt as she did now. She was proud of her offspring, and occasionally she wondered over which fields they might be soaring now.

Catching her mind adrift, she pulled her attention back to the task at hand and began scanning the grass below for movement once again. Hunting was hard at this time of year - though the sun shone brightly, it offered little warmth and the uprising thermal air currents that she used to help her soar were not present. She was forced to flap more and this drained her depleted resources even more. She had not hunted successfully for the last few days, and the cold and the wind were beginning to take their toll. She would have to find food soon or she would not see another spring . . . Finally, a small grey form scurrying through the bent grass. The hawk folded back her wings and prepared to dive.

Unseen by the hawk at first, a young fox also plied the edge of the field. The fox had been born only the previous spring, but disease had decimated the foxes in this area and she already had a litter of her own to care for. Her mate had been taken by disease, and although she and her pups had so far been spared, she had five young mouths hungry for milk and their appetites seemed insatiable. Working slowly, silently, through the bushes at the edge of the field, she heard the rustle in the grass some eight feet away. Gauging the distance and direction, the fox crouched, her feet under her, and prepared to spring.

One vole could not be shared by two such hunters, and this time the fox won. The hawk had to break out of her dive to avoid a collision. Another time, and she might have tried taking the fox as prey, but if her attack were not perfect there would be a fight and she was too tired for that, too tired. There was no point challenging the fox for the vole, as the energy expenditure would not be justified by the reward. Besides, the vole disappeared into the fox's mouth and was gone in an instant. Breaking out of her dive, the hawk climbed once again to her hunting altitude and continued her search. However, she could not maintain her flight for much longer, and she was soon forced to come down again, this time landing in the welcome arms of a maple tree.

After landing and settling her wings, the hawk's thoughts journeyed again across the valley below. How well she knew this field and the woods beyond - after several years it was as though she knew the names of every blade of grass, every leaf on every tree . . . She had known many trials and many triumphs here - had borne witness to the very cycles of existence. She closed her eyes and dreamed - of sunlit valleys, of young fledglings slowly testing the strength of their wings, of warm updraught currents that could carry you so high the ground seemed a dot - one you could easily cover with a feather . . . Overcome with exhaustion, weakened by starvation, the hawk's talons released their grip on the branch and she fell, lifeless, to the leaves below.

The next morning the young fox passed by again, continuing her hunt. The groundhogs on which she preferred to prey were just beginning their annual sojourn out of their burrows after a long hibernation, and on a cold day such as this were just as likely to stay underground. Most of her prey at this time of year would be squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks, mice, shrews and voles. The former were quick and hard to catch, and the latter did not provide much sustenance. With five hungry pups demanding her milk, she was close to starvation herself. It was as she walked around the maple tree that she came across the carcass of the hawk.

The wind had not been right, and so she had received no warning of the surprise she had now come upon. Frantically hungry and yet ever cautious, she seemed in a quandary as to how to proceed. She approached the hawk slowly, wary of a trap, and ready to rebound in a split-second if necessary. After a quick sniff she retreated, then began her slow stalk from a different direction. She retreated and approached, retreated and approached until she had walked up to the hawk from all four directions. Only then was she satisfied that there was no danger. Overcome with hunger, the fox tore into the carcass with a fury, sending feathers scattering every which way. In her gorge she tore the wings clear of the body, the neck remaining attached to the head with only a flap of skin.

After she had eaten, the fox picked up the remaining carcass and carried it back to her den. Her pups were not yet eating meat but the legs and claws would be good for them to teeth on (better than her foreleg), and there would be teachings about the bones of birds - how they are hollow and could splinter - causing injury or even death if care was not taken.

All that remained of the hawk under the maple tree were the wings and some scattered feathers, On the leaves covering the ground were a few splatters of blood, but these were washed away by the first spring rain. The wind gathered up some of the feathers and scattered them; some were caught in branches and others came to rest between the bent stalks of last year's growth of grass and wildflowers. Other feathers were gathered by the little people, the mice and voles to line their dens, and some of the downy feathers were collected by the chickadees to use in nest-building.

Eight days after the fall of the hawk, another hunter arrives on the scene. He wears the skins of deer, wolf, and beaver, and feathers stream down from his hair. He is far from his people, but at times he too must travel far in search of food. Arriving at the maple, he is confronted by the remnants of the hawk's wings and the rhythmic waving of the feathers, being taunted into movement by the whispers of the wind. He crouches by the remnants that lay there, and his eyes scan over the ground in search of clues. What he sees before him reads the story of the hawk and the fox and the interplay between the two. He hears the voices of the wind, and as the birds relate to him the details of this final chapter he despairs for a moment over the loss of such a bird. Still, he pulls a small gift from the pouch around his waist and gives thanks for the gift of the feathers before setting about the task of collecting those he can see. Some of these feathers will be given as gifts or fastened to sacred objects as a way of showing respect for the hawk and to ask her spirit to watch over him. Some of the feathers might be used as fletching for his arrows, allowing them to fly straight and true. The deer his arrows bring down would go a long way toward feeding his village - the death of the deer bringing life to him and his people. It was a circle he knew well - the cycle of life, death, and renewal.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

barking roe buck

A buck stood his ground this morning,not prepared to give up his ground,until he saw zeus,and realised i posed a threat..

video
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