google-site-verification: googlecfaaf308aaa534f1.html
 
Search
  • Mj Pettengill

Hope and the Buried Moon


Moonlight, Clouds, Serenity  (Public Domain)
Moonlight, Clouds, Serenity (Public Domain)

Despite my melancholy and disquiet, I welcomed May with an open heart. The greening was somewhat behind schedule, but it finally did arrive. As I gaze upon the wooded hills behind the old farmhouse, I hesitate. I admit that my battle with Lyme disease last year has cast a shadow on my free, former self, diminishing my way of being. These woods, fields, ponds, and streams are what I require to thrive. I have lived in other places—mainly in the mountains and woods—but I returned to my childhood home for a reason. One of the first realizations here was not only that I remembered the land, but it remembered me. The purpose of my journey home was both external and internal. The external is my reconnection to Earth Herself. The internal is in gathering fragments of myself that had been left behind at the hands of trauma.

Initially, when I came here, I wanted to turn and run away, but I knew that it was essential to stay. We cannot heal that which we refuse to look at or acknowledge. Nor will we become whole if we operate out of fear.

During the first winter, the wind called out to me, just like it did when I was a child. At first, I wanted to pull the quilt over my head, as I did back then. When it howled so loud—when it called out my name—I used to shout, “I’m not afraid.” How wrong it is to lie to the wind. You may think that you’re getting away with it, but on those nights, when the moon shines brightly on fast-moving clouds, the truth always tumbles through the spaces in-between. You can see it if you dare to open your eyes. If you don’t, the howling increases, rising from the lowest register to a regrettable scream.

I expected the winds to arrive in March, as they always do here. They may have shown up but wearing a different cloak—one I had never witnessed before. I sensed them in the undercurrent while searching for crocuses poking through the remnants of snow. They lacked their usual strength and presence.

Time works differently when waiting for the unknown. After another winter of decomposition and decay, it seemed to rush by and not pass simultaneously. I lose track of it and remind myself that time isn’t real.

April was also outside of time as I remember it—the greening paused long enough for me to doubt its intentions. I awaited the offerings with patience, as one by one, the flowers and wood frogs arrived.

Every day throughout the cycles and seasons, I make my way out to the bird feeding stations. I know when it is time to bring the feeders in at night, keeping us—the bears and me—safe from each other.

I have always loved the changing of the guard. I look forward to when the migrating birds visit. Each species brings with it hope for what is to come. They are unique. The red-winged blackbirds are delightful in both sight and song. They have been here for about a month now. A few days ago, I placed orange slices on the roof of the smokebox. The orioles came in yesterday. I sprinkle nuts and seeds on stumps, the ground, in-between bushes, and trees. With only a few feeders, I create a foraging situation for all. It is not limited to chosen birds. In time, those that are considered pests, like weeds in the meadow, I have come to know better. Many of these unloved and misunderstood creatures—chipmunks, red and grey squirrels, blue jays, and crows, are welcome here. Our mutual understanding has taught me to appreciate the subtle beauty that each has to offer. It is May. The wind howls and races over the green landscape, rocks, and budding trees, leaving untold stories behind. The pond—shimmering and full—makes it impossible to imagine sinking quickly past my knees in the thick black silt that threatened to swallow me up. Instead, it shared its secrets: when the water is gone, there is no reflection. Know where to place one’s feet before stepping, or you may disappear into the fertile womb of Our Mother.

Now, the moon is buried behind the shadows of the night. I promise that instead of looking to the heart of the field, I will venture there. I will not hide, fearing a tiny insect—a proven health threat. I will trust that secrets are waiting to be revealed. I will not know unless I return to where there is truth to be uncovered. Staying away is staying lost, dwelling in dark corners. It serves me best to be a bright light rather than a dying candle. ________________________________________________________________________ Lyme disease is a serious condition. Last summer, I was bitten by a Lyme infected tick. I was fortunate to have found the tick followed by the bullseye rash a few days later. I underwent intense treatment. I have had a similar experience when bitten by a brown recluse spider. The treatment is harsh on the human body, especially someone like me who rarely takes allopathic medicine.

I followed up with (my own) wildcrafted herbal treatment consisting of plants gathered here on the land. I have stepped up my protective measures. I make tinctures and now a tick repellent to address this. I have barely ventured out, which is odd for me. I am usually out foraging for wild edibles and medicinals. I have been on the safe outskirts.

I am taking baby steps, overcoming this anxiety surrounding Lyme disease—a manmade, tick-borne illness.

And the pond? I continue to heal the back and hip injury from my mud incident last summer. I am making progress. Between the global events and what I mentioned here, hope is what is remains. MjP