GCW speaks, continued

These words of Grandmother Cottonwood’s are continued from the previous post…

This Earth, this home is so very dear to me… Words cannot capture all I know, all I feel…

I know, too the flow of the stream, the flood in spring, the ice in winter, breaking and grinding during a thaw… I know the rocks and sandbars of the creek, the elegant s curves of it’s southward course, the downed trees, uprooted by the current, changing the flow of the water .

I am familiar with the creatures of the water, the tiny silver fishes, the earth hugging turtles, the insects that skate and float…those that come to drink.

Spider web

I know the worms of the soil, the fungus that consumes rot, the spiders patiently weaving their silver webs, the bright butterflies and nodding wildflowers full of nectar, the sharp trilling call of the red winged blackbird in early spring.

My world is made beautiful by the deep shade of my companion trees in summer, the bark of the sycamore, dark and rough near the roots, creamy white and peeling near the crown…I know the cushiony moss, growing in the cool damp places, a green to remember.

GCW and sycamore

From my home, I feel and know the heartbeat of the city, the town, the homes and all those creatures inhabiting this place. I feel the rushing and impatience of some, the peace and contentment of others.

I experience the students who hurry past me on their way to school, their thoughts and attention elsewhere, forgetting the lesson that life is lived in the moment, one breath at a time; that hugging a tree will help them feel better.

Come to school with GCW and you will learn an age-old yet always fresh curriculum – Observe without judgment. Breathe. Notice what you are feeling. Notice what happens in your body.

Be present to what you see, hear, taste, touch feel, smell – be present and allow yourself to know what you know, to be who you are. Become friends with your own self. Listen to your heart – the dreams of your heart.

Now, put the shiny blinking thing down, for if you let it, it will block out everything but itself. Turn it off for a little while and just be.

Know that you too are a part of this magnificent tapestry! Above all, hug a tree.

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Grandmother Cottonwood speaks

Because of my rooted nature, I am by necessity a homebody. I observe and experience my world…and I am never bored!

I am exquisitely tuned to the shifting air currents and breezes, the temperatures that rise and fall, that are different at my crown and my roots.

I know minutely the angle of the sun as it moves through the yearly cycle of seasons, I know patterns of bird migration, seasons of nesting, hatching, fledging, the first flight; the burrowing habits of the fur bearers, the call of the owl, the secret places they drop their feathers, the movements of the deer at dawn and dusk…

I am witness to the patient gliding and flicking tongues of snakes in warm weather as they embrace mother earth with their bodies; the buzz or quiet wing beat of insects as they go about their business of crawling all over me… or nesting in the soil nearby.

I know the prairie grasses, from their first show of green in early spring to the late summer when they’ve grown taller than a man, seed heads heavy and nodding, swaying in the wind.

Prairie grasses

I know the exquisite blue of the sky, sometimes perfectly clear and fathomless, sometimes holding storm clouds that move swiftly to the south, sometimes holding clouds slow and heavy, blotting out the sun, stalling over our valley for days.

From my height, I feel the sunlight gilding my upper branches on clear mornings. I know the gentle swelling and unrolling of my leaf buds in spring, the effortless growth of my bead-like seed pods from tiny and tender to dry and brown and bursting with tiny seeds.

Cottonwood seeds

I know the flight of my cottony seeds on spring winds. I fill the valley with my white fluff. I know them all. I know every leaf on the crowns of my offspring.

From my chosen place on this great planet, I observe the beauty, the variety, the oneness of all things and I am richly blessed!

GCW’s speech is to be continued in the next post…

Cycles rhythms and seasons

I sleep in the dark winter months after letting go of my cloak of golden autumn leaves, waking as my sap rises in spring and my buds unroll to soak in the sunlight…. It is my yearly cycle of life, death and life again. This is who I am! I am at peace.

Observe the age-old cycles of the moon, from full brilliant light to complete darkness, then back gradually to full light again. Each phase of the moon is necessary to the next, an integral part of the whole pattern.

She teaches patience, timing, renewal, shining brightly, allowing herself to rest in darkness, then rising and shining again.

Almost full moon

Do you as a woman resist the time of blood each month, call it a curse? Do you fear the change of life, fear that you will be finished, washed up, that you will be invisible, a dried up husk?

Do you as a man fear the time of life when your physical strength diminishes, when you slow down?

We are all creatures of Earth’s rhythms and cosmic cycles, each species with its own patterns and timing. You too have your seasons of growth, death of the old, rebirth, and regeneration.

Your ever present breath, like waves on a beach; your constant heartbeat, your rhythmic footsteps; your patterns of waking and sleeping accompany you all your days and nights on this earth.

Let your rhythms soothe you, let the breath and heartbeat carry you to sleep at night. Let them calm you when you are anxious.

Let your footfalls and the easy swing of your arms grace your day as you move about your business. Can you slow down and pay attention to these subtle movements within you?

Dear one, this season you find yourself in is your reality now! You are precious as you are! You are as you are meant to be!

When you know this, you will learn to live in harmony with the cycles and seasons of your life, large and small.

Climate change

The earth and her weather reflect her creatures; what is going on in the human heart and mind, the clouds of unexpressed emotion, the storms of toxic anger and fear, the build up of heat with no release valve, no outlet. The explosions of wars and genocide, the burden of thousand of centuries of violence, injustice, inequality, terror…

The earth reflects human pain in her own language; weather, natural disasters, tsunamis, mega storms, extremes of drought, flood and fire.  

Are you feeling weighted down by the emotional burdens of your ancestors, and your own life, anxious, nervous, depressed, unable to move forward?

What are you weather conditions? Anger storm ahead, drought, no growth, too much rain, wildfire destroying everything in its path…

Please face the truth of your life! Learn to feel your emotions, clear yourself and continue to clear as you go forward.

As more and more humans regain clarity, heal emotional burdens, let go of fear and resentments, the Earth will begin to reflect this new energy, the web of all life will be rewoven and restored.

This is what you can do to help! Heal yourself, heal the earth.

Long winter’s nap

Take a tip from the animal community and hibernate a little while – otherwise known as taking a long winter’s nap…

Also the society of deciduous trees recommends that you go dormant awhile. Let go of excess baggage & rest during the dark and cold months when you feel the need.

Can you let go of racing thoughts, to-do lists and rest when your body signals the need? Can you let your awareness dissolve into dreamspace for a time and renew, repair, and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit with high quality sleep?

Does your brain command you to do, do, do and give you no time for rest or relaxation? A revving engine in a rusted, broken, worn out body will get you nowhere!

So, take good care of your body! Take it in for regular maintenance! Sleep, wholesome food, movement, fresh air, relaxation! This is your soul’s vehicle on earth. Surrender to its needs, pay attention to its rhythms and messages.

The wisdom of your body is subtle. Pay attention and come into balance, body, mind and spirit.

Take Care of Yourself!

Dear ones, please take time during the busy season to rest and take care of yourself.

 In this season, there is so much human busyness – rushing, doing, trying to beat the clock, meet the deadline, make the holiday celebration perfect, trying to please one and all, beat the crowds, put on a magnificent feast.

Red door and evergreen wreath

You run yourself ragged and you wear yourself down! You override your body’s natural rhythms and needs, pushing yourself over the limit of endurance. Another word for this is “stress”.

Can you pull back, breathe, regroup, rethink, and slow down? 

 Find your center.  Bring your awareness to your heart and breath. Tune into your innate wisdom. What is most important to you this year as you celebrate your holiday?  What can you let go of?

For your health and sanity, let go of the elaborate expectations and preparations that you do not enjoy! Let go of extra events and “must-dos” you have to squeeze into your busy schedule. If others expect things you do not want to deliver, let them do the work, take the time, make the effort!

What activities will satisfy your soul and connect you with love to family and friends without overwhelm?

 Do those things! They can be so simple and easy!  Play a board game, sing songs, read a book together. Go for a walk, have a heart to heart conversation.

 Remember the real heart of the season, gathering with those you love and enjoying each other, greeting the sun, creating light, love and warmth together.

Let yourself be the peace you wish for!

Have you been touched by frost?

Late autumn frosts come with lace edged beauty, cruelly cutting down grasses and wildflowers, insects, tender life forms. But frost cannot destroy those living perennial roots deep underground that sleep in their dark bed of soil.

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Frosty wildflower leaves

If you have lived more than a few decades on this planet, you have known the icy fingers of frost. You have experienced the tender green shoots of life frozen by loss, hurt, trauma, betrayal…

When you fear all is lost after a freeze, life springs again from your roots, sending green shoots and leaves toward the light.  New life and growth and inspiration gives you new energy, new hope and courage to reclaim your power.

If your heart still beats in your chest, your roots can gather strength and you will live fully once again.

Dear one, you must have patience and allow the season of winter its full due. Take heart. Winter is a season of life, a part of each soul’s journey no matter where you live.

If you’ve been touched by frost, let yourself rest, conserve energy, let your roots gather nourishment and strength . Come spring you will feel and know the new growth within you, unfolding, reaching toward the light, inspiring you to live fully!

Falling leaves

Do you have a moment to watch as sun-struck amber and golden leaves dance, spiral and flutter to to the Earth in their final act of letting go? 

There is peace, beauty and grace in letting go.

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Autumn leaves

Let the trees teach you the gentle yet powerful art of releasing. For them, it is time to let go of all those dying leaves that have served their purpose.  The trees time of letting go may inspire you to release your grasp on the worn out thoughts, the beliefs and patterns in your life that are stale, no longer helpful, that keep you stuck in the past.

After releasing comes a time to rest  as you gather your strength once again.  Then when you are rested and feeling strong and conditions are favorable for growth, it is time to start over again.

For the trees in spring the angle of the light, the temperature and rainfall support and nurture tender new growth as millions of new leaves unroll to the bright sunlight.

When you let go of the old, you make room for fresh new life and insights to light you up and move you forward. 

Let yourself be clear and open to the new life that wants to flow through you when the timing is right!

Let the truth of your underlying spirit, the structure of your soul be exposed to the light of love as you gather up nourishment and strength during your long winter’s nap.

 

Late summer

Growing things seem to pause now. Deep green leaves of ash, maple, and oak hang still in the humid air.  Butterflies frantically feed, flit and dance among late summer wild flowers…

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Late summer prairie grass

The new growth and excitement, the twittering birdsong of spring is a memory.  Now the grasses bend, top heavy with seed.  Dragonflies dart and zip above the prairie, sunlight reflecting from their glassy wings.

The new bird generations have all fledged and flown – Empty nests all around.  The insects sing their late summer songs, the chirp, the buzz, the whine of cricket and cicada, the tempos slowing as nights grow cooler.  The tree frogs chorusing their trance like rhythm into the wee hours, night after night.

Flowers that were bright with summer’s colors just a few weeks ago now fading, browning,  going to seed.   Still blooming, the magnificent plumes of goldenrod, masses of them,  swaying gently in the breeze.

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Goldenrod plumes

All the green rooted things hold their breath,  soak in the light of the  southward sliding sun, before the final days, the yellowing, the browning, the final dropping of seed and leaf, the dying down to the roots, the cooler autumn wind that will soon come and bring frost with it, and death.  The great letting go, before winters long nap…

Stand here on the cusp of change, knowing what is passing, knowing what is to come.  It is time for a late summer  rest.  Lie back under a friendly tree, soak up this still and timeless, day, this moment, before the sun turns to autumn once again.

 

 

Big Bluestem

I am the deep rooted tall prairie grass that you call big bluestem.

My commission is to send my roots deep into this rich black soil, down through the fertile layers deposited over many thousands of years, from the decaying roots stems and leaves of my ancestors, to draw in sustenance from all the elements of the earth, to anchor myself firmly here as my stems and leaves reach toward the nourishment of the naked prairie sun.

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Big bluestem

I grow taller, absorbing the joyful energy of the light and atmosphere, swaying gracefully, bending, in waves with the wind. I have learned to be flexible when storms roar through and lightening strikes.

Then, when the sunlight begins its slow late summer slide toward the south, my flowers appear, bloom, and quickly develop into seed heads.   Next spring, the age old cycle will repeat itself.  It begins with one seed!

I feel the feeling that you call “joy” as I grow taller than a man, spreading into the vast sunny space under the prairie sky. The roots of our community interweaving, holding the earth, gripping the soil, forming a vast deep network, a wreath of intricate connections across this wide open land, anchoring all the grows here.

Know that I love this life – I am a native- I belong here! This is my home!

I drink in the life giving sunlight and rain, swaying and dancing in the wind with a million others like me; we who grace this timeless landscape.