A dream in December

December 24,2014

I want to share with you a story, a journey, a waking dream, one that I had this past week.

It begins with bare feet, mine, and I am walking. Beside me is Wolf. We are in a dense, dark green wood. There is a mist in the wood, one that lays like a thin veil hiding visions of future and past, bringing the present deep into the nostrils and down into the chest. The only sound that penetrates is our bare feet, lightly patting along the forest floor.

The gray and white Wolf walks with me often and I understand him to be one of my great teachers. We don’t speak, instead we break into a run. I am fast, so fast I feel the wind pull my hair behind me. My legs are burning but I feel no pain. There are feathers on my arms, in my hair, on my gown and legs.

I am air, I am wind, and I run until the pictures at the edges of my eyes blur.

woods

We come to a great pine tree, the largest and greenest I have ever seen. Wolf has stopped several feet behind me, watching with his bright yellow eyes. I am to climb and I am to climb alone.

I reach up onto the long, laddered branches of this great pine, and pull myself up. Though the tree doesn’t move I know its spirit, strength and age wills me to be nimble and quick. I climb and climb, all the way to the top without looking down, until the air is so thin I should not be able to breathe, but I can. I stand at the top of this great tree, above the entire forest. I see the green tops of pines, canyons of brownish red and gray, and a blue horizon overseeing all.

My arms spread but they are no longer arms. They are wings, powerful wings of gray and white feathers that stretch far into the East and West.

I hesitate to jump as a flicker of fear begins to burn, the first I have felt so far. I shove it back down into its pit. I am to soar and so I will.

When I jump, I feel elation and a freedom that doesn’t exist when my feet are buried in the earth. The breeze that whisps across my face also carries my feet and body as if they were hollow. No weight, no burden, just a lightness that I feel could last forever.

But something changes.

In moments, I feel terribly wrong and I feel myself sinking towards the earth. A rise followed by a sudden decrescendo– I am falling and my wings are failing. The ground comes to me far too fast and now I am tumbling, tumbling, encircled by dust and dirt and pain, not a physical one, but one of shame and doubt.

Dusted and broken, I am no longer made of feathers and lightness. I feel heavy knowing that I fell without knowing fully why. I stand bare, covered only in skin, before the edge of a cold, blue lake surrounded by white mountains. The air is fresh, cool and crisp, a gift to the senses. I see movement beneath the icy water’s surface and I understand that I am to dive in. When I do, the water isn’t cold at all, rather, the water is warm and welcoming.

Dolphin comes to greet me and we begin to swim. I grab her dorsal fin and she pulls me through the deep, dark blue. Once again my hair is pulled behind me through waves of healing and cleansing. The dirt is no longer embedded into my skin. My wounds begin to close and fade. We swim for seconds, minutes, hours, it doesn’t matter as time disappers. If only I could stay here forever, safe, enveloped, and protected, but I am not meant to.

I am out of the warm water now and standing at the water’s edge once again. Wolf is waiting for me at the shore. As I turn to thank Dolphin, she is already gone.

Wolf speaks and tells me a great and wise teacher is coming.

So I wait, still standing at the water’s edge. I feel the soft, comforting pebbles and sand beneath as a ripple of water tickles the tops of my feet. A large shadow looms overhead darkening the sinking sun’s reflection in the water. I look up and see an enormous blackness coming down from the sky, my heart stirs and the hairs on my arms stand on end.

Overwhelmed and surprised, I see a majestic creature of enormity and grandness. He is the most beautiful dragon I have ever seen. His wings are long and wide, and shimmer like jewels waving across a dusty sky. His face is wise and terrifying at the same time. He is dark and iradescent, made of colors that cannot be described should they even exist in our world.

He looks at me long before he speaks to me.

“You will learn to create fire, to brew it, bundle it and breathe it out with every ounce of energy you have within you.”

And so he does.

We stand at the water’s edge and he shows me how to inhale, to gather, suck in and swirl all the fear, joy, happiness, pain, anger, helplessness–all the emotions that serve and do not serve–to roll them up into a fiery ball within my hearth space, my solar plexus, the pit above the stomach and below the ribcage. Everything begins here, he tells me. We are energy, but only the diligent and perseverent can create more. To live on given energy is not enough as most often it is squandered and wasted with useless pursuits. We create energy and ignite fire to forge new paths. We create because it is how we survive and ultimately, thrive.

I watch him as his chest balloons upward and outward, burning bright red and orange, a brilliant glow of heat that flushes my cheeks and forehead. He opens his mouth and exhales powerful orange, white, and yellow flames, roaring with pure light and energy, surging forth with committment and purpose. The fire reaches out across the lake reflecting the light of its flames toward the dim-lit sky.

“The fire we create is not one that we should be afraid of, for without it, we are dead inside, cold and alone. The darkness exists because like the night sky, it serves a purpose and a teaching, sometimes even a restful place. But if we stay in it too long, it will consume and devour whatever energy we have left. Fire is an intense and ambitious source, but to work for you, you must summon it. You must create it with a sincere and humble heart.”

And with this, he turns, lifts into the air, and then he is gone.

I whisper “Thank you”.

Wolf and I walk back to the edge of the wood and we begin to run again.

I am tired, but I run and run and run until I am at the great pine tree once more.

I raise my arms up and grasp it’s hearty branches.

I begin to climb.

***

I cannot tell you what happens next because that moment still lies within my bare hands and feet. I am humbled by the teachings that continue to guide me and lead me to a better path. In the end though, it is still up to me to create the fire. It’s up to all of us.

I wish this for all in this new year. To create our own purpose. To dream of those that teach us how to run, climb, fly, swim, breathe fire and conjure pure energy.

I wish everyone much love and
a Happy New Year.

Hello and welcome 2015.

fire

wide awake and wild

elk3
I took one small step closer, cautious, curious and completely aware that all he had to do was take one powerful leap in my direction to spear me with those handsome antlers of his. His watchful, deep black eyes were on me. Though his munching jaws would seem to say that he could care less about my presence, we both knew better.
elk

This was the first of three encounters I had with wild animals this past weekend. The second was with the Gray Jay. We were over 9500ft. high having snowshoed nearly 2 hours into the southern heart of the Rocky Mountains. There was no wind, just the blinding whiteness that comes with fresh snowfall. The sound of our feet in deep snow and my breathe from climbing in it provided the haunting rhythm to keep placing one foot in front of the other. It was not an easy climb to Emerald Lake, but when we reached it, I understood wholly the meaning of the phrase “deafening silence”. Surrounded by jagged spears of rock resembling a crown, I would have fallen to my knees in reverence had I not already felt dwarfed in the mountain’s majesty.

emeraldlake2
(If it helps to understand scale in this novice photo, please look at the tiny black dot at the base of the mountains on the right. That dot is a person.)

Grayjay

After a few awe-inspiring minutes of quiet, I was startled by a low swoosh that came from behind and flew directly above my head. She landed on a branch 15 feet from me, looked at me while cocking her fluffy head, imploring me to see her, to be mindful of her. She wanted my attention and she found it. She posed left, then right, then looked at me again to make sure I was still watching. I worked quickly to get my camera out again, but she waited patiently, long enough for me to rattle off at least 10 shots before she flew back in the direction she came from. She, like the Elk, felt tame in ways that didn’t seem plausible. An unspoken language passed between us, one that I had forgotten, one that I might have understood again if I could have stayed there in that space with her just a little longer.

grayjay2

The last encounter was with two foxes. My husband spotted them first on our return to Rocky Mountain National Park the next morning. They were fast and they were less willing to take chances with a human like the other two. I jumped out of the car with the camera and ran to the edge of the meadow that they had run into. I followed them with my lens, first one, then two, too far to get good details thanks to the autofocus on my camera. There was no time to switch to manual, no time to play with light and catch the glint in their mysterious eyes. They were gray and they were very smart, dancing along and pacing the meadow, watching me to see what I would do next. They never left or ran away too far. As I walked back to the car, they got closer, comfortable with knowing that I was leaving their domain, their protected space that I was invading, that we all invaded long ago.

twofoxes

fox1

These wild animals are medicine to me, a balm to the coldness that comes with our reality and domestication. Once I dip in and wander among the messages these creatures provide, I find myself in the folds of something bigger. I awaken knowing that we are not so different. We are both dependent on the environment that surrounds us, both dependent on the the earth that provides for us, both hungering for a language that connects us all, both free and not free, bound by instinct, duty and limitations, both extremely fragile and weak at the helms of the unknown.

On a crystal clear yet windy morning, on our last snowshoe trail in the tall pines and bare-boned trees, I found a mark on an aspen, a mark left by someone that did not know it would be meant for me. I stopped to pull off my gloves and dug for the cameraphone in my snowpants pocket. A wind gust rushed in lifting the snow off their feet to sparkle and swirl in the air behind, just in time for me to take the shot. And I did take it, all of it. I am not sure when I will be back there again, but I will remember. I will remember how it felt to be wide awake and wild with the spirit of the earth.

MJtree

much love to you fellow earthwalkers…
xoxo