Yesterday the moon was full and the sky poured rain all night. The woods are mulchey and green with yellow leaves spinning lazily off tall trees, and the air is fragrant and clean as a whistle. Last night Saroj called from California to say they’d been broiling under 110 degree heat…
I must have known that hard stuff was coming, which may be why I decided to leave—just in time apparently—although, come the Vermont winter I will no doubt get mine!
Like all of you, I have been thinking a lot about earth changes, both the kind we humans are responsible for, like clearcutting forests and damming up rivers, and the ones the planet does in its own time, like Ice Ages and global floods that wipe out whole species and cover up the vestiges of advanced civilizations.
Here, I go walking every day through dense, dark woods of great trees, over ground thick with leaf-mulch and the ferny undergrowth of a true forest ecosystem, but I am told that Vermont forests have twice in recent history been cleared for farming and sheep grazing! And twice it has grown back into what appear to be thick dark forests, convincing me they have been standing there forever. But they haven’t. Kathy told me recently that the dense woods surrounding her house high on a forested ridge not so long ago were an open ski slope for a winter resort situated right there!
This story is of regeneration after wholesale destruction, and that gives me hope. If a forest ecosystem can restore itself in a relatively few years, then why can’t we?
Last night there were massive rains that pounded the ground and watered every growing plant around here, and this morning the sky is blue with floating clouds and the air smells sweet and rainwashed, as if the world has been renewed and is again strong enough to withstand whatever is coming next. I feel reassured, and glad to be right here hearing the wind in the trees and the brook, refreshed by last night’s rains, burbling against the stones in the little waterfall outside my door.
The news from California I received just this morning was of high heat and two small earthquakes close to where I lived. I contemplate this as I listen to soft winds riffling the high-up leaves in the woodland trees, the ground here green and saturated, the air fragrant with late summer flowers, and I wonder what’s going on?
All I know for sure is that it’s time to get ready for making the right changes on every level, all of us, for what we are doing to ourselves and the earth is destroying us ever more quickly. Why ever did we think it was OK to poison the very ground we live upon—for profit? I mean, we humans are smarter than that, aren’t we?
Day by day it reassures me to be back on home soil—the Northeastern woods of my girlhood where I loved the feel of the ground beneath my feet and the fragrance of Balsam boughs in the sun, where I swam in a sun-dappled lake and studied the flute and learned to dance with Donald McKayle at Deerwood Music Camp. What has been a wistful memory for years is now a daily reality of sungold on green leaves, and shaded glades on forested hillsides.
I’ve come home.
Yesterday, I went to the actual house I will be living in once the cold snaps in and the snows start, an old New England manse surrounded by stately oaks that was once a Rectory for local itinerant priests that was purchased—finalized just yesterday—by two rather amazing women wishing to create a small community of ‘mystics’ close to Putney village. Friends of friends, they have invited me to join them, and yesterday I chose my suite of three rooms on the ground floor of this stately old home. The priests have left behind all the amenities, so we women—all of us mothers and grandmothers—will hold happy sway here, sharing schemes for how to embrace the larger issues of our time and making good things happen in the world!
I’ve met my match, I’ve found new home, I’m where I belong and the winter will be contemplation time as we collectively imagine ways of healing our shared planet.
Quietly. With laughter. In community. Women and men wishing to help heal the world for our children, and yours, in the tiny village of Putney, Vermont, a short walk to the Library and the General Store.
I am grateful.
May we each find our place to stop, take a deep breath amongst friends, and send prayers to the world that sustains us;
May we allow the seeds of all the “forests” we have mindlessly destroyed be watered by our care and emerge as seedlings sprouting from seed still fertile in the soil of our lives;
May we live well and laugh well;
May we adore one another and be adored in return.
May it be so.