Equinox Sunrise

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[remember to click upon the images to beautify your world]

For perhaps  18 years now, I have been conducting sunrise vigils on the Holy Days of the Earth, the Solstices and Equinoxes. For about 13 of those years I have been coming to this particular hilltop from which the pictures above were taken. As you can see, this vantage point offers a most spectacular view across the Minnesota landscape of prairie, woods, and lakes. The land itself is not quite public, which is to say that my pilgrimages here would be considered by some (most) people to be trespassing.

The land to the west of the hill is a residential area comprised of rather lovely homes on winding lanes. Years ago, on my second trip here, I had forgotten to look at a map before hand, and so I managed to get lost in the maze of streets as I looked for the lane where the trail began up the hill.

As I wandered about in my car, a dutiful police officer took note of my rather suspicious activity in the pre-dawn darkness and pulled me over. As he shown his flashlight upon my outdoorsy albeit rather scruffy appearance, he politely inquired if I lived in the neighborhood, and if not, what was that I was up to, driving so slowly up and down the streets at this hour of the morning. I explained matter-of-factly that it was the summer solstice and I was wanting to observe the sunrise from the top of the hill, but I couldn’t locate the cul-de-sac where a trail began.

With a rather blank expression upon his face, he studied me for a moment, scanned the interior of my vehicle with his flashlight, taking note of the mountain bike stashed unceremoniously in the back. Looked at me again, and said, “I think I know the one you mean. Follow me.” It turns out he did know the one, and within 3 minutes I was at the exact parking spot I had been looking for. So, with the aid the police officer I was able to carry out the trespassing that I had been plotting.

Since then, I have been up the hill many, many times, and know exactly how to get to the parking spot. And while I no longer require a police escort to get to my ritual site, each time I park outside one of the fine homes and wander up the trail, I wonder if another inquisitive officer might not be waiting for me when I come back down.

 

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Equinox Ritual

drummers, all in a circle
each one equidistant
upon this equinox
from the sacred center
each beating to the march
of their inner drum
a communion of resonance
percussion penetrating
all fibers of being

drumming to release
the constricting grip winter
drumming to invoke
the resurgent flow of spring
drumming to awaken
our indigenous souls

under a night sky
of wafer-thin clouds
backlit by a waxing moon
the humble shaman
washes us in the smoke
of sacred herbs
that rises to kiss the heavens
where snow white wings
appear upon white clouds
tundra swans
in delta formation
the structure of change
we are awash in the ecstasy
of their musical call

honking to release
the constricting grip winter
honking to invoke
the resurgent flow of spring
honking to awaken
our indigenous souls

snow melts
as we pass through the veil
to place our yearning prayers
secure within that unfathomable well
that is far beyond wishing
and tulips blossom
in the palms of our hands

 

 

footnotes:

The Delta Symbol: The upper-case letter Δ can be used to represent:
*The Change in any changeable quantity, in mathematics and science.
*Delta is the initial letter of the Greek word διαφορά diaphorá, “difference”.

The Circle:
*A round plane figure whose boundary consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the center).

Groundhog Days ~ And Nights

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For those of you with a touch of Groundhog energy, here’s some new info to flesh out your understanding…

Woodchucks aren’t forecasting the weather when they emerge—they’re looking for love

The Truth about Groundhog Day
http://www.nwf.org/news-and-magazines/national-wildlife/animals/archives/2006/groundhogs.aspx

Stam Zervanos, a biology professor at Pennsylvania State University’s Berks-Lehigh Valley College has made a discovery that could, um, cast a shadow on Groundhog Day. Male woodchucks, as the animals are also known, aren’t checking the weather when they wake up in early February, says Zervanos. They’re scoping for potential mates.

Yes, Groundhog Day is more like Valentine’s Day. When a male groundhog wakes up in February from its three-month-long hibernation, he leaves his burrow and goes for a stroll around the ol’ territory—a tract of about 2 to 3 acres. When he comes to a female’s burrow (there may be several within his territory), he ducks inside and stays the night. The next morning he continues on his tour. “Each male visits two or three females,” says Zervanos.

But he is pretty sure the sleepover parties are tame. “We know they are not mating because no baby groundhogs are born in early March,” he says. (The groundhog gestation period is about 30 days.) After the February cuddlefest, the male goes back to his own pad, rolls up in a ball and sleeps for another month.

So what’s with the rodent sleepovers? “They’re a chance to bond,” Zervanos suggests. The February visits may serve as “getting to know you” sessions—obviating the need to spend lots of time exchanging biological details in March. As far as Zervanos knows, this speed-dating behavior is unique to groundhogs. “I think it’s a major find,” he says.

When the groundhogs wake up for good in March, the males drop in on the females again for a week of wild groundhog mating.

Zervanos still has questions about groundhogs. He wonders if females are ever visited by more than one male

Leaves of Last Season

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Reunited once more
in their reflections
upon the still water
are the trees
and the leaves
that were parted
when their season
came to a close.

Leaves, lamenting their fall
would cling once more
to their high estate.
Trees, lamenting their loss
would claim once more
the life they cherished.
Though Trees and leaves both
surrender to the new growth
which cannot be denied.

 

Courtship

 

Horned Grebe  in breeding plumage

Horned Grebe
in breeding plumage

 

Zenith Arc
My Sunrise Sadhana

April 25th: Day #21

So many signs of courtship on my walk this morning…

After days of poor wooing weather, we have a beautiful, clear & calm morning, perfect for serenading, and the Robins and Cardinals and Chickadees and Song Sparrows are out in force, singing with every once of libido in their bodies.

On Lake Harriet, the Loons are calling; Horned Grebes are parading about, dressed to impress the ladies; and the Red Breasted Mergansers, taking a very proactive approach, are engaged in their erratic, but presumably erotic, courtship displays…

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Red Breasted Merganser

 

Their display includes stretching the neck and bobbing the head, wing flapping, crest raising and tail cocking.   To see them in action, see this youtube:

 

The Terns and Herring Gulls were raising a ruckus, as usual, but I’m uncertain if that was courtship.

 

I did not take the pictures of the birds, but these were taken with my iPhone this morning:

 

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A very fine mist that hung over the lake this morning cast pastel hues over everything.   Is was all very serene.

While watching the grebes, an older couple approached me, asking what the birds were.  As always, I was pleased to share (show off?) my knowledge about the natural world.   We talked for a bit, discussed how much more waterfowl there is on the lake this year than is typical.  They live in the area and have walked the lake for years, and had never seen Horned Grebes before.  We agreed that there were more Loons and ducks than ever.  In a few days, however, the Loons and Grebes and Terns and Mergansers will all be gone, continuing their migration to more northern nesting grounds.

In all, my experience this morning felt more like that of a remote wilderness lake, than our humble, but hallowed, Lake Harriet located in the middle of the metro area.

 

 

 

 

 

Surfing the Light Waves

Zenith Arc
My Sunrise Sadhana

April 18th: Day #14

In addition to all of my other intentions described earlier on my Zenith Arc page, it has occurred to me that rising and taking my walk each day before the sun rises above the horizon has another provocative dimension to it.

That being that I am bringing my presence to the same moment of each day, but not the same time. Despite variations in cloud cover, I am abiding in the same light each day, dwelling in one phase of the continuum of  phenomena that make up the entire day. I am subsisting in a period of stasis within a dynamic system of astronomical proportions.

Each day on its journey to the solstice the sun rises earlier, and thus I rise earlier to walk in the light of the dawn.  Each day, I revel in the moment of dawn,  and the moment that the sun actually rises, but the time on the clock is of course changing. And the season is changing; with it the plants and animals around me are changing.  The inclination of the earth’s northern hemisphere toward the sun is changing. And the earth’s position relative to the sun is changing as it makes its journey around it, which is of course what is at root of all the other changes that I experience around me.

Beyond that, the earth’s relationship to the moon and to the other planets in the solar system is changing; and the relationship of the solar system  to the galaxy is changing as it rotates within the galaxy, and solar system’s position in the galaxy is changing as the galaxy itself rotates around the massive black hole located at its center. And the galaxy’s position in the universe, and its relationship to the other galaxies,  is changing as the universe expands ever outwards.

By doing my moving mediation at the same moment of each day, I am inhabiting a still point amidst cosmic change.

Light, of course, displays properties of both a particle and a wave; it can be measured as either, though not simultaneously.  But by immersing myself into the same moment of light each morning, I now visualize myself as a particle of light, surfing upon the crest of a light wave, being carried forward to some unknown and distant shore.