Saturday, January 31, 2015

sacred trees

Trees are beautiful in winter, their bare branches tracing a lacelike pattern against the winter white.  The texture of bark on the trunk to he fine and delicate tips of branches, much of which had been hidden by leaves is now a new source of wonder.   And I do wonder  a lot, and often I wonder about trees

Trees, who stand there silent, year after year after decade, after decade, often century after century,  held a fascination for my youthful mind, I was sure they knew things, sure that they knew secrets, and sure they heard me when I talked to them.  I was sure they had knowledge of what went on around them and sure they had a memory.  I can remember looking for their eyes, none were to be found,  and my youthful imagination could provide little help. 

Trees appear  to be dead, though they are just dormant in winter, in some climates the roots grow until the ground is completely frozen. I wish I could conjure the magic of what it was like when I first realized that with the warmer weather, the tree would again have leaves.

I have had young ones tell me that the bark of a tree was it's  skin and, and  would bleed sap if you cut it.  "Who told you that?"I would ask, and more often than not the answer  would be something like "I saw it".   Seeming to die and be reanimated each year gives trees the appearance of magical beings, silently observing, they provide food, fuel and shelter, and I wonder still if there are things we don't so readily see.

 words and pictures are shared from Human Odyssey
Trees have been revered as sacred monuments since the prehistoric era. Our ancestors may well have been inspired by their annual cycle of decay in the autumn fo...llowed by a luscious rebirth in the spring. To the primitive mind, these trees became symbols of life, death and rebirth.
There was one tree in particular which achieved mythical status throughout all world cultures. It is known today as the 'World Tree' and according to our ancestors, it was truly epic in scale. Its branches were said to reach as high as the heavens, while its roots plunged deep into the abyss of the underworld. Because of their association with celestial realms, these trees were regarded by many priests as gateways to other dimensions.
• Yggdrasil was said to connect middle earth (Midgard) to eight other realms (some made of fire and ice, others of darkness and light)
• The World Tree of Mesoamerica was seen as a gateway (aka axis mundi) connecting the planes of the Underworld and the sky with the terrestrial world
• The 'Sky Tree' from Hungarian mythology had a series of branches which reached out to seven worlds. Each branch was said to touch the sun, the moon, the clouds and other celestial spheres.
• The Dawn Tree from Baltic mythology was depicted with a golden trunk, copper roots and silver leaves. The trunk represented life in the present, while the past was embodied in its roots (life that has passed). The branches, however, represented future choices yet to be made
It should be noted that in nearly all depictions of the ‘World Tree’, a great serpent is said to reside at its base. These serpents typically guard a forbidden knowledge which only a select number of mortals have ascertained:
• It was Adam and Eve who attained wisdom by eating fruit from the tree of Knowledge (Judaism/Christianity)
• It was under the Bodhi tree that the Buddha was said to have gained enlightenment (Buddhist mythology)
• The Kabbalah represents the tree of life (the other legendary tree of Christian mythology). Legend says that to learn the secrets of this mystic tree is to know the secrets of life itself
• The Druids were priests of the natural world whose name was said to mean 'knower's of the oak' (Celtic mythology)
• The Cosmic Tree of Latvia was a highly symbolic image. It was said to hold birds in its branches (enlightenment), mammals at its base (instinct) and serpents in its roots (wisdom)
The most common theme found in world mythology is the 'Tree of Life' which is said to both create and prolong life. In many cases, our ancestors believed that these great trees gave birth to the Gods and even to to humanity itself. Many pilgrims have searched for this mythical tree throughout the ages, but only the most worthy have been able to find it:
• In Tengrinism, it is said that humans were descended from Trees, as well as other spirit entities and lesser gods who lived for hundreds of years.
• A tree of life belonged to the Goddess Iusaaset who was said to have conceived the lineage of Egyptian Gods through the trees life giving properties
• The Kalpavriksha tree from Vedic mythology was said to produce an abundance of life giving fruit for those who wished for it

Thursday, January 29, 2015


awaken to the snow
swirling round me as I swing
I'm a snowflake

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"My Grandma could make a bowl of rocks taste good."

Wind, snow, short days, floors cold to bare feet, icicles hanging from the eves, sun dulled by clouds, yet here in the deepest , dreary part of winter, when the suns glow is almost totally for show, the warming pot of homemade soup,  sitting perched on a glowing burner, warms ones soul and well as ones body.  It fills the air with welcome savoryness, as it gently simmers creating  a steaming blend of colors and memories.
that's my wooden spoon over the pot so it doesn't boil over 
Friday was always soup night when I was growing up, but I seem to get up every wintry Saturday morning and think, "Lets see what I can find in the fridge that I can make soup out of."  And if I am really ambitious, I make some bread to go with it.  I keep a container in the freezer to collect leftover carrots, corn, green beans, peapods, even leftover mashed potato, just anything that might be good in soup, and there are always cans of light  and dark kidney bean cannellini bean, butter beans, navy beans even fava beans under the counter to enrich the pot.
However I was out of onions and you can't make soup without onions.  Wrapped in several layers to keep out the chill of a nearly a sub zero morning, I went out to my car and much to my delight it started right up. And I drove 14 miles into town under a frosty sun for a bag of onions, a big bag of onions.  Actually I did buy a few other things, also.
The staff was busily stocking shelves and I picked out several things I needed, and a few I didn't need but wanted.  There were very few customers, but then most people aren't even awake this early on a Saturday, at least I don't think so.  Several times I wished I was back home in my warm bed.   'Are you making soup too?" a voice said from behind me, I turned to see a well dressed older woman reaching for a can of mushrooms, "Yes" I replied as I retrieved a can for her.  "Why thank you." she said " Nothing warms you up like soup."  "That's quite true, and nothing tastes quite so good on a cold day." I said."My mother and my grandmother always made soup especially over the weekend.  And it always tasted so good.  they didn't have a recipe just took what was  left over." 
She looked down at her cart then up at me and said,  "I can still taste my Grandmother's spetzel soup.  My Grandma could make a bowl of rocks taste good."  And of down the aisle she went, to be meet up with a couple who  called her Grandma."  I was hoped she told them about the "bowl of rocks", it is something I will remember.
On my way home I thought about what she said, I wondered what her Grandmothers kitchen looked like, if she cooked on a wood or more likely coal fired stove.  Did they have biscuits or bread with their soup, I was feeling a warm glow  like being in my Grandmother kitchen by the time I got home. 
I decided that my soup needed some spetzels as well as onions, so I blended 2 large eggs, salt, pepper, some dill, or whatever you would like even some grated cheese or bacon crumbles  will work, set that aside and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  While I was waiting I blended a cup of flour and  a generous tablespoon of melted butter into the egg mixture.  the water came to the boil and I scooped up forkfuls of the mixture and stirred them into the boiling water, they float almost instantly meaning they are now tender little bits of dumpling or gnocchi like yumminess.  I usually stir them directly into the soup,  they enrich and thicken the soup.  However I wanted you, my dear reader, to see what they looked like before I scooped them out with a perforated spoon and plopped them into my soup.
The amount of fragrant steam this generated made photography a challenge,  the soup was more good.  I  ate and watched the snow drift down over the silent garden and dormant forests, though about when I read "Stone Soup" to my son, and smiled.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

passing the time by thinking about the passing of time

With each passing day we are one day closer to Spring than we were.  The sun sets a little bit later, and travels a bit higher in the sky, but bitter cold is still the order of the day. 
We are much closer to Spring than we were on the day of the first snow. When even  I paused to admire the first delicate flakes of the season drift  gently across the landscape. " I" , I said haughtily,  " am one who doesn't buy into the warmy fuzzy notions about winter" ....oh! wait yes I do.   For those few minutes,  I drifted into the snow globe of drinking hot chocolate as the snow swirled  across the lawn.  Reading a novel whilst curled up in the rocker.  And of enjoying the warm glow of Christmas lights as big beautiful flakes flutter past my window.  Notice all of theses things happened indoors. Snow  at Christmas, we yearn for a white Christmas.   The Christmas season is brief, but the snow lingers and get deeper as the chill strengthens.   This is something I have always wondered about, was winter perhaps shorter in past centurys? 

And let me bring to your attention that winter has two distinct parts, the lovely, cozy, candle glowing, nostalgic  Christmas card part that lasts if one is fortunate into the first week of January, where upon it turns into the realistic, cold, slippery, windy, gray, sleet, slush and dirty snow, of true winter.   Where did all the all the charm and magic go to so fast?    

No where it is still here.  I can only speak for myself when I say that a part of what I like least is caused mainly by my impatience with it's length; and secondarily  being indoors far more than I want to be.   And the inevitable need to tug on mountains of clothing to go outdoors in relative comfort.   

Time filled with reading and doing taxes, planning the garden and general day dreaming.  Wistful thoughts of warm spring days and flowers,  which give way to hot humid summer days. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

silent sunday at Awosting Falls

~~~all photos by   Gone Hiking  Photography
visit them on Facebook

Monday, January 5, 2015

Some thoughts on the Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon, so named because hungry packs of wolves once prowled  the woodlands and edges of settlements in search of an easy meal, and still do in some places  The full moon happens early in the month this year and if it were later, as the lengthening days and deepening chill  made food even more scarce, the wolves would most certainly have come even closer to farmsteads and villages. 

A full moon on fresh snow is almost bright enough to read by and certainly bright enough to see the yard and woodlot beyond, if it weren't so bitter cold it would draw me out into the frozen garden so I could look up at the stars that are not masked by the moons icy glow.   But sometimes like now I prefer the warm glow of the fire and to dream of the warmth of spring while I am wrapped in the warmth of my quilt. 

  january's moon has other names, Ice moon, Breaking trees Moon, and the Moon after Yule.  Since we are still in the Yule Season, ending with TwelfthNight on the 6th.  I think I the  Moon after Yule,  is most appropriate now, the twinkling stars are so like the twinkling lights on my Christmas Tree.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 page 1


Someone wrote, "Tomorrow is the first page in the book "2015" what will you write on it?" and that started me thinking, how is a year like a book?  It has a definite beginning and end and it does have a story line.  And then I got more than a little hung up on the idea of keeping a diary or journal, being like writing a book.  I used to keep a journal and it very much resembled this blog.  But that was  long ago, there are times when I wish I had it here still to reread.

So here goes, page 1.   Brilliant sunshine, just a touch of snow and bitterly cold.  No that would be my gardening journal, which is dull as ditchwater.
 I have heard it said that what you do on New Years Day you will be doing all year long.  So that would include, talking with friends, sharing memories with my family, working on my blog, admiring my Christmas tree, napping, and working just hard enough, not too hard.  Enjoying the quiet, not thinking too hard either, reveling in the strong and peaceful essence of my home.  You could say, and I would not argue that that is a part of that old belief.   You could also say that writing down what you want is a method for making wishes  come true, and I wouldn't argue with that either.  Does verbalizing a hope make it come true?  

Page 1
The calendar page turned and here I am ready to step off into new adventures, no matter how humble they might be, they are still my "adventures of everyday life."   Ready or not, like do I really have choice, here I come.

                                                ~~ARTS Oil City

slightly wordy Slent Sunday on a road

Not every picture is worth a thousand words, but the memory it represents is.