I had a wonderful experience on Sunday, celebrating the summer solstice with a group of Bangor area Pagans who call themselves the Fellowship of the Wild, and who are focused on DOING things and doing them OUTDOORS and for REAL. Now, I have no issue with those who, for whatever reason, cannot spend much time outside, whose bodies no longer allow walks, cannot tolerate chills/wet and so on. But along the way on my path, it's been my experience that most of the folks I have met prefer to do their spiritual workings indoors. There is definitely a time and place for that in my world (the dark of winter, in the northlands, calls me to long sessions by the hearthfire, indoors, for study and contemplation and spinning and weaving), it is my considered opinion that those who avow an "earth- or nature-based spirituality," who do not spend at least SOME time in outdoor ritual, meditation, contemplation and simple observation are really missing the boat.
They remind me of Christian friends who seem to think that attendance in the church of their choice on Sunday -- at least some of the time -- is sufficient to cover their spiritual needs. Maybe it is, I am not them and do not walk in their shoes. However I have read in entirety their Book -- more than once -- and my "take away" was that their Gods want them to DO stuff... walk their talk, as is sometimes said. It is, I think, one think that my Gods have in common with theirs. They want me to DO STUFF.
There are probably those who scratch their heads and wonder, though, because the more I step into the Crone, the less inclined I am to do those things out in the world, in public and focused on collecting like-minded spirits and attempting to educate the masses. I have walked many miles on my path, over many years and much of my younger life and energy WAS outwardly focused as an environmental activist in the '60s and 70s, in community organization and in community organizations through the "mommy years." During those years, it seemed like I had the ability to tap into a boundless pool of energy, to just keep going and sharing and doing... Now, looking back, it seems like I was borrowing that energy from the Universe and not getting recharged, as many, if not most of the people I "served" in my activist days, took the energy for granted and did not in fact allow it to balance by sharing as well.
Yeah, the garden looks weedy. I am doing things differently this year, as we and our equipment both age and change. Rather than allowing, needing, expecting the weed control between rows to be managed by Tractor Guy and Fergie (both of whom are having increasingly long down times) I have planted closer together with the intention to hand-weed. And yes, #OneStepAtATime it is getting done... between
the paper weed block and hand work when the soil is damp. While I am working between the pea and onion rows (onions with weed block paper) I am pulling the weeds that are fighting to compete with the onions by poking up through the onion planting holes. The first planting of lettuce has been weeded, the second is holding its own, thanks to my having turned the soil manually before planting and the third planting is just beginning to sprout, under a light in the kitchen.
The spinach second planting is doing good, as well. These crops -- peas, onions, lettuce and spinach -- were all planted in soil that had not seen plow or cultivator since the previous year. Fergie was down and things NEEDED to go in, even later than usual on account of our prolonged early damp and cold spring. So the weed pressure on this early part of the garden is much worse than "it should be."
As you can see from this potato patch, which was planted in soil that Fergie worked with her cultivator, which was then loose enough for me to easily hit with the scuffle hoe early on as the potatoes were just beginning to emerge and the weeds were only 1/2" tall, the later plantings in turned soil are doing much better in the weed department.
Because of my massive allergy attack which did its best to emulate the viral illness that has been plaguing folks here abouts this spring, I lost a good two weeks of productivity -- and mis-allocated over $200 towards a small drum carder, when I allowed myself to order it while I was ill, not firing on all brain cells and therefore failed to notice that the check for the electric had not cleared. Ouch! Hopefully, more hex orders will come next month, as I am finally managing to complete the last of the current backlog with the intent to ship them this week.
And as I sometimes struggle to put one foot in front of the other (both literally and figuratively on some days... though the knees work well -- and I can even use my step stool now that I have continued to gain strength -- the rest of the body is still old, arthritic and stiff and lets me know a day or two after I plant 10 trees or spend hours with a hoe.... as I struggle I appreciate the efforts of my younger colleagues to step outside of their comfort zones and stand in the rain, on a cold day in June, in a woods in Maine, to welcome the turning of the wheel of the year yet another notch. We all struggle with something. Being out in the rain is not "natural" for town-raised youth. Finding one's place in the chain of life -- between the ancestors and our progeny; finding one's way through the middle years, through the mommy years, into and through aging... there are no directions and the few signposts that our forebearers may have left are hard to find and falling by the wayside as the rate of change in the world tries to make them irrelevant. May we all continue.