A female Monarch who eclosed last night rides my hand to the field and climbs on vibrant New England Asters. Sunlight pours through her wings like a stained glass window.
A flock of geese honk to each other as they travel south overhead, a sure sign of fall. What will I do in dark cold days of winter in this stay-at-home life?
I’ll have the dogs, local friends, and my son in the neighborhood, but no purple flowers in the fields, no Goldenrod and Sun Gold tomatoes, no butterflies. I hope to see my North Carolina son, but we’ve been unable to travel because of NY covid quarantines.
Pondering turns to fretting, so I bring my focus back to this morning, this blessed world of green, gold, and purple with orange butterflies. I live in a world without fire, a blue sky instead of orange smoke, and cool clean air. My trees and home are not burning. I’m not packed to evacuate.
Still, I need to find purpose and hope for the winter months ahead during a painful time for politics, justice, and climate. When this pandemic began in March, I looked forward to spring’s lengthening days. Now we’re heading toward cold and dark. Winter can be long and dismal here.
I’m grateful to rejoin the mythology class after a 6 month break. I’ll tolerate exhausting Zoomy hearing via cochlear implant because I need this group of women. We began studying mythology around 1990, although many of us meditated and studied together before that. I want to see their faces, even if only online, know their struggles and triumphs, and study the Egyptian Goddess Isis with them. (The ancient Goddess is not related to recent political names or groups!)
I plan to continue a weekly writing class I began in 2009 and follow my teacher’s suggestion to spread my Monarch writings and favorite photos on a table, all four years of them. Something might inspire me when I’m the guest in my guest room since no one else comes to stay. Monarchs teach me about transformation. I wonder about the symbolism of being birthed as an adult with wisdom and strength to ride the winds to Mexico.
I’ll make soup from vegetables I froze this summer and share it with friends. I’ll walk twice a day with the dogs and sometimes a friend, sheltered in the forest from the howling winds. I’ll load the wood stove and keep the house cozy, but the days of tea and conversation on the back porch end soon. I’ll sit near a warm stove and read with a dog or two at my feet.
I have beautiful nature cards from Lisa Baechtle, perfect for writing love notes to dear ones suffering to breathe and threatened by fire on the west coast. I’ll also write to those who live closer but feel almost as far away.
I’ll explore dreams with my therapist as I have since 2008, the year Vic died. She walks beside me in the Underworld and helps me find meaningful paths through Darkness and Light.
Comforted by possibilities and ready for breakfast, I head home with the dogs and look for the Monarch I released half an hour ago. She’s gone, riding south on the wind or sipping flower nectar to fuel her journey.
Like me, she waits for favorable winds.
How will you prepare for coming changes in your life and where you live? I pray for safety for those who struggle with fire, smoke, drought, and other climate catastrophes this year. For my piece about transforming with the seasons, see The Green Man’s Guide to Life published in The Edge Magazine. For a piece about studying goddesses, see Lessons from Artemis, Goddess of the Wild.