Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Island Gratitude

in Island Life

island garden 2006

(View from my front porch on a sunny Sun-Day morning.)

This morning the Beautiful Sun came streaming through my east window and woke me early. The forecast was for rain, so I am doubly grateful that I can spend time on my “day off” in the garden. I’ve sitting on the front porch in my rocking chair as I write this, alternately drinking water and coffee, soaking in the morning light and enjoying all the personalities of the herbs, flowers and native plants in my garden. I’ve planted almost all of these myself in the six years since we built the house. A hummingbird darts back and forth between Lavender, Lilac and Hawthorn; its ruby throat flashes like a sparkling jewel. Honeybees drink deeply of lavender nectar. Native San Juan Sage has grown a foot in the past week, I swear! I love its distinctive, earthy scent. And let’s not even discuss Brother Comfrey, who seems to grow a foot a day. Half the time I expect to hear him belt out a Broadway show tune: “Feeeeeeed me, Seymour!”

Robin and Song Sparrow serenade us, gulls scream, geese honk, a pileated woodpecker raps a beat in the distant woods. Sister Swallow swoops in circles overhead. Far above, Brother Red-Tailed Hawk dips and sails with the wind.

I look up to see a doe gazing at me from just beyond the garden edge. She is clearly annoyed to find me here, as she knows I will shoo her away if she starts to munch on my tulips or columbines (her current favorites, judging from their bit-off stems). We exchange a glance or two, then she calmly heads off for greener pastures across the road, where the neighbors are sleeping in.

I stayed up late last night dancing to a raucous bluegrass band with friends and neighbors, our elementary school gym transformed into a hoedown-dance hall for the evening. It was a fundraising event for our island heritage trust, who will use the funds to purchase more land that will be saved from development. As I sat out a few of faster dances, I looked around at the “odd bedfellows” represented in the room — lots of Blues and lots of Reds, old-timers and newcomers, grannies and toddlers all out on the dance floor or eating homemade pie and ice cream. Small-town life at its best. No matter what their politics are otherwise, almost everyone on this island supports the work of the heritage trust as it works to keep large areas of land preserved and undeveloped forever.

Last weekend’s Scorpio Full Moon brought some of the highest and lowest tides of the season so far. My Friday night sisters and I headed out to a wild spot for a magical night of moongazing. One of the women, who owns a native plant recovery nursery, has been reforesting part of this land. She took us up to a lovely meadow surrounded by woods in her four-wheel drive truck. With no sign or sound of human habitation nearby, it was easy to believe we were out in a remote wilderness, or had stepped through a threshold into an earlier century. A herd of deer greeted us calmly as we arrived, then moved off softly into the woods. We hauled in firewood and a copper/iron fire pit so we could have a fire (along with buckets of water and sand for dousing it afterwards). Night creeped in slowly, Jupiter sparkled like a beacon in the southeast sky. The ancient spirits of meadow and forest made their presence known. We drummed and sang and gazed into the fire. We watched La Luna Bella sail across the sky for hours. Soft wispy clouds made streaks against the starry sky, shapeshifting into patterns we read like an oracle. We drank in moonlight, firelight, the soft flapping of owl wings and the rustle of leaves and spirits in the woods behind us. I tumbled into bed around 2 AM, my hair reeking of wood smoke and my body shimmering with moonlight. There’s no better way to celebrate a Full Moon.

This morning I have to offer up a prayer of gratitude that I live here, as I have done so many times before. I give thanks for sacred solitude, sacred community, sacred place. Blessed be.

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • JLB Mon - May 22nd 2006 12:44 pm

    Oh Joanna, posts like these get me positively DROOLING for my home in the woods of Washington! Thank you for sharing, as always. 🙂

  • Cate Tue - May 23rd 2006 5:04 am

    Joanna, a glorious morning and thank you for sharing it. Is there a spare rocking chair, and may I join you for coffee?

  • Andy Wed - May 24th 2006 4:00 pm

    We have a monster comfrey as well. We have lots of comfrey but one in particular is crazy. It grows to incredible proportions, then we chop it right back – with an apology and explanation as to why, of course – and use the leaves for various things including fertilizer and as a salve. x