First day of autumn. And with it - rain. All through the night. Such a welcomed sight, sound, smell. In between the gusts of wind and shaking leaves, a collective sigh can be heard. A kind of 'ahhhh' as the water soaks into the trees, flowers and earth.
The temperature has also dropped. Being a born and bred New Englander, I don't go much by the southern hemisphere's idea of seasonal change dates. Here, the new seasons are heralded in on the 1st 's- 1 June; 1 September; 1 December; and 1 March - autumn. In my bones I know the seasons change on equinox and solstice dates. So when people here say things like, 'This isn't much of a day for the first day of summer!' I hold my tongue and think, 'Give it three weeks.'
Old timers in the parts where I grew up used to say that if you look at the weather on the equinox, you will get an idea of prevailing weather for the next six months. I have got to say, the times I took note of this, it proved eerily accurate. What no one wanted to see on March 21 or September 21 was the weather blowing a strong nor'easterly gale. The old timers also used to say that winter wouldn't come until the ponds were full. In other words, if there wasn't sufficient autumn rain, then the winter would be mild. Another observation which proved its truth many times.
These bits of Yankee wisdom were told to me by old timers who lived their lives on a small island, 14 miles to sea. There is a reason why talking about weather is a commonality - it is something we all live with every day. And when you live in a small community, buffeted by weather, wind and tides, you develop keen observational skills. The weather determines your livelihood. We come from agrarian societies - the weather meant feast or famine. Being able to read the weather patterns, and intuit what they meant, could be the difference between life and death.
We live now in a society where other people tell us what the weather is. Sometimes, listening to their forecasts, you have to wonder if they have windows to the outside or if they have ventured out of doors. They rely on computer mapping to tell them what's coming, instead of their senses, memory and intuition.
Sound familiar? Sometimes we can get so far from our own selves that we believe what others tell us instead of what we intuitively see, feel and know to be true - in our bones.
The old timers didn't have the technology we have today. Yet I would listen to their observations every time over what a weather report on TV might tell me. They listened and felt what was going on around them. They were connected to nature and to community. They took the time to listen and observe. And those skills allowed them to sense things 'in their bones'. They put trust in what their surroundings were telling them.
We have had a very hot and dry summer and throughout it all my husband has been saying, at least once a week, 'I think we could be in for a cold winter.' To which I think, 'Yeah. Not going to happen unless we get rain.' So, as I sit here on the first day of autumn (southern hemisphere time) and the weather is cool, blowing a gale and raining, I think it could very well be a cold winter. And I am thankful for my husband's persistence in getting us set up - there is already wood in the shed and a new, hopefully warmer and more efficient, wood stove waiting for installation.
I will be noticing the weather again on the equinox but for now, I am listening to my intuition which is saying, 'My husband might just be right...'.
Bright blessings for this transition between seasons. Remember that all you need to know is within you, if you are able to still the mind and listen. If you are feeling out of touch with this, step outside. Immerse yourself in nature. It will help you to hear and feel what you need to know. It will ground you back into your body; back into your intuitive self. Happy autumn/spring.
I'm not really sure where I am at the moment. I do feel a little lost at sea but since the ocean is my favourite place to be, this is a comfort to me. But I am also feeling the almost constant challenge to stay present and grateful. Sometimes it can be too easy to slip off the radar and live a life of isolation, just focusing on my own thing. I am grateful I have the time and space to delve deep into what interests me but I have to remember the importance of community and engagement and getting out of my space to share space with others. Like most things, it's a balancing act. I thought this card was so very appropriate for the coming week. Wherever I am - and wherever you may find yourselves - this week, allow gratitude to flow into your heart and see where that leads you. Below is the #9 card from The Ocean Oracle. If you've been feeling lost at sea, I hope there is a jetty guiding you into a safe harbour this week.
There was so much to be grateful for. She did not know where to begin. She had been lost at sea, a storm blowing her far off course. She had been gripped by fear as she tried to find her direction. She was in a sturdy vessel with all the best equipment, but she still could not find her way. Was it hours, days or weeks she was like this? It did not matter. She was so grateful that at least she had provisions and a sea worthy vessel. As the seas calmed, the fog settled heavy and thick, rendering her instrument panel useless in helping her find land. She turned inwards, putting trust in her intuition, and headed in the direction she felt was right. As she spotted the jetty which would guide her entry into the safe harbour, she remembered to give thanks to her self - she was so grateful for her whole being.
Are you feeling lost at sea? Surrender into yourself and find a place of gratitude for that which you are sure. Small things, big things - it does not matter - the energy of gratitude brings a certain grace to your being. Open your heart to receive and give thanks for the abundance in your life. The flow of gratitude towards your self and others will bring unexpected journeys and gifts.
Are you where you want to be? Are you doing what you want to be doing? Are you living your truth? These questions often come up for me when I travel. And my last journey was no different. I am always questioning, it seems, if where I am is where I want to be. Quite often the answer is yes. But when I'm between places, having left one and not quite landed in the other, I wonder. I've been uneasy since returning to my home in Australia. Leaving summer and arriving in winter probably doesn't help. But there is something more, as well. Not really able to shift it, I asked the Ocean Oracle for some clarity around what's going on. And out came TRUTH. Which completely resonated with me. I'm not sure if where I am is where I want to be. But I know the only way through this is to remain present in my truth.
These creatures had not been seen in these waters for years. They had left long ago, driven out by the pollutants that people left behind. They needed clean water to thrive and the waters here became too murky and infested for them to live in a healthy way. So they chose to leave, find a place where they were part of a balanced ecosystem. They flourished for years but grew too many for their home to sustain them. Some migrated into new waters and some eventually ended up back in the place they had left long ago. But it was not the same place. Something had shifted. The things that had polluted the water were no longer there. There was more awareness of the way the oceans and ponds and tides worked. There was a place now for the urchins to thrive. They were able to expand and contribute to the ecosystem in a life enhancing way.
Your truth is your truth. Are you in a situation toxic to your truth? Do you need to re-assess your truth? Has a situation changed in which your truth can come forward again? Is your environment supporting you in your truth? To live in our truth and integrity, it may be that we have to move, and sometimes that means physically. Stand strong in your truth and respect your limits. Set your boundaries but know rigidity may not be the answer. An urchin’s spines protect it but if pushed too hard, or in the wrong way, the spines break.
My time here is winding down. It's been a good visit, of course nothing like I imagined. Not that I imagined it wouldn't be good - more that I thought it would be endless days of wandering the land, caught up in creative pursuits. Reality is often far from imaginings. As I write this, I am outside, watching robins fight over some treasure they probably both want for their nests. Something to help nurture their young. It's spring time and nature is alive and abundant! And sometimes fighting.
A friend came to visit me yesterday, made the journey to this island, to spend time away from her life and with me, here, in my life. It was a perfect day in many ways. It meant that I was out and about most of the day. When I came home, late in the afternoon, I wandered down to my hut and found, just outside to the east, a painted turtle laying her eggs in the lawn. I felt so blessed - that she would entrust this little yard to keep watch over her buried treasure. I was excited to think of little turtles emerging after their time in the earth, to venture out on their own.
And it reminded me of a card from my Ocean Oracle deck - 41 - Turtle - Protection. I have posted that card on The Ocean Oracle page, and also below. For me, it is a reminder that sometimes you have to entrust someone, or something, else to help birth what you have created. That sometimes you don't have to do it all yourself. That you can ask for help for those things that you can't necessarily do on your own. And also that Mother Earth is always there to protect you. In all sorts of weather. In those times when you thought you could do it all on your own, but realise that the reality is otherwise. And entrusting someone else to look after your 'baby', is sometimes the wisest option.
41 Turtle PROTECTION
He watched, fascinated, as the turtle made her way towards the beach. He was mesmerised by her ancient being, and her deliberate focus on the task at hand. It was the season of egg laying for the native turtles. Each year they came from all over the area to lay their eggs on the beach, deep within the sand which offered the eggs protection as they gestated. They trusted the earth, in which the eggs were laid, to look after their young, to help the eggs develop into what they would become. When the time comes for the eggs to hatch, the mothers return to help their young emerge from the earth, reborn. Earth Mother looks after them until they are ready to enter the world, and blesses them with a shell to protect them once they leave her womb.
What are you protecting right now? Do you need to be protected? The instinct that has you in protection mode - is it fear? Do you need to find a safe place to birth an idea? Can you trust someone or something else to nurture what is being birthed from you? Protection can keep you from harm but may also limit your potential. Be aware of intent. You are protected by Mother Earth. Like a turtle retreating into her shell for protection, allow Mother Earth to be your shell at this time.
I have continued to post a card from the Ocean Oracle deck while I've been away. Which feels appropriate since a lot of the creation of the deck occurred while I was in this space a few years ago. I am visiting this home earlier than I usually do. I've come before the summer and tourist season start in full. And although the island feels spacious and green and accommodating, I can't help but notice the busy-ness as everyone prepares for the summer onslaught. I was able to witness some of it, being here for the first official weekend of summer - Memorial Day. I could feel my own patience stretched, dealing with the extra people and cars and bikes. It requires an extra something from every body, to get through this time with love, grace and ease. It's hard, this going from quiet and calm of the winter months, to the craziness of summer and it can be easy to forget that we are all one. We all have stories and things we carry. We are not so dissimilar to each other. So when I pulled this card this morning, with thoughts to the week ahead, I felt it was very appropriate and wanted to share it here.
Give awareness to the journey a piece of driftwood has had. The piece of wood you find washed up on the shore has had a most eventful life, often not considered. This piece of wood is here before you, and you only see it in its present state and probably think it is not much; and perhaps not worthy of your attention. For a moment, though, consider the journey this wanderer has been on. He started out as a seed and grew in circumstances you will never know - was he nurtured, tended with love; or neglected, left to his own to grow up? Did he grow tall in a forest? A plantation? On the side of a road? Where did he grow? How old was he when he died? Was he felled? Cut for timber? Struck by lightening? What happened in his life to bring him here, at your feet, only a piece of his former self? How did he end up in the ocean? How long has he been at sea? Was he part of something greater, which has now broken apart? Be open to the lessons his journey provides for you.
Your path may not be what you imagined, but be thankful for all the aspects of it - good and bad. Remember the stories of your past and your path but do not be ruled by them. They have shaped you, but they are not you. No matter your journey, your true essence will always remain. Mighty oak or driftwood - they both have their place and are of the same vitality. Be grateful for your journey and without ego, know that the mighty oak and the humble driftwood are of the same beauty.
My idea of home is tricky at the best of times. I live in one place, in the southern hemisphere, while having a place in the northern hemisphere which can pull strongly on me. I was born to this place in the north, and it is my heartland. But I choose to live in Australia because I love it and it has always felt like home. It's tricky having two places which I call home because they are mutually exclusive - opposite sides of the world sees to that. And I don't imagine I will ever be able to live in one place and not be homesick, at least on occasion, for the other place.
It is to this latest bout of homesickness that I now find myself shrouded in fog. And I am feeling my way through how similar fog and homesickness can be.
I arrive in America this time in the dark. The morning after arrival, I head to the ferry, which will take us passengers to the little island I call home. We embark in fog; sail through fog; disembark in fog. I think if I didn't know this place intimately, I would find I don't like it. It's uncomfortable, this fog. Not being able to see more than a few yards in front of me requires an immense amount of trust. I really have to trust my own navigational skills and trust that there isn't harm, just out of view. And depending on where my head is mentally, this can either be liberating or inhibiting. Will I trust my safety? Or fear unseen dangers? It doesn't take much to tip it either way.
One day, then a second day, of fog and I start to question myself. It's hard to gain clarity when you can't see the path. From experience I know the path is there but do I want to fight my fears to feel safe to walk it?
And then, in a New England minute, the fog rolls away and the most divine and glorious day is unveiled. I breathe a joyous sigh of relief. I can move forward with a sense of direction. There are wide expanses before me and so many directions I can't count. Everything is possible. That night, the sky is filled with a million stars I can't see most of the year. All is well and I am so happy to be home.
The next morning, the fog is back. And while it's still wonderful to be here, it's not as wonderful. Being in fog can be very disorienting. From experience, you know where things are - certain landmarks, for example. But you can't see them. It's back to trust. Trusting yourself and your own memory and intuition to guide you.
And it's a bit like homesickness. Needing to see those people and places that you remember, but time and space have relegated to foggy recesses. You know they are there, but just out of sight and reach. For me, it's about trusting that beneath the fog there is always a glorious day. If I can trust that, I can enjoy the beauty and stillness of the foggy days.
I love the power of story and story telling and writing is an integral part of my healing journey. More about me here.