"Everything begins in the dark
the same miracle that splits open the seed's heart,
splits open mine" Excerpt by Elise Stuart

A Pileated woodpecker knocks, knocks knocks on a hollowed tree. This early riser assiduously drills into the nearby tree, a rhythm unique to his liking, and asserting the discovery of excellent habitat full of potential for summer adventures and the raising of young.

The beat repeats throughout the morning, giving me the impression that this bird knows something about Spring's imminent arrival, despite the 6 inches of wet, spring snow that will arrive soon to coat twig and limb with blessings of white magic. This beatboxer is ready for love. Ready to shout out loud for all to hear.

I think I spy him in one of old beaches, lingering near the tippy-tops.

I laugh and inform him that he wins the prize this year, for the First woodpecker to announce the arrival of Spring. I have heard Chickadees calling out a mating song, and, as I wrote elsewhere, once a mourning dove cooing out a tentative trill. This is the first woodpecker.

The rhythm makes me curious to find other signs of Spring awakening in the woods. I want to discover any that may hide under the heavy snow, or at the tree tops. The playful season can come in mysteriously, and I like to see the first signs. Indeed, I found them : The waters are irrepressible now, feeding from deep aquifers, they bubble up mellifluously, gurgling and babbling along under the snow, in these hills. Above me, I can see that the willow has the barest hint of yellow on the swaying branches. Soon the light will turn these branches a golden yellow. And, in some areas, the ice floes are melting, and the rivers opening.

These are the outward signs that the inner fires of Spring awaken, within the Earth, within ourselves. Spring pushes up and out like a green shoot through frozen ground, like our dreams. Nature is beginning to feel the first initial loosening and unfettering of freedom. Asking us to drum up the song of our dreams. The beat of our hearts.

I listened again more closely, to the rhythm of this Pileated, wondering what might the words be that he taps out so diligently. What does he say to me?
These are the words I hear ~

Listen to your heart. There is a music and a beat there, bubbling up like Spring, no matter how grey or dark the day. No matter what storms may come.
Listen to your heart's truths and believe them. No matter how preposterous they may seem, no matter how different they feel from the norm of your day, or how your environment may contradict them.
Listen to the heart and visions of hope ~ the whispers may not be as loud as the storms and tempests that swirl and threaten, still they carry the power of life. They come from the eternal

Transitions of any kind cause disruptions as change moves up and out, like water through the permafrost. This powerful movement may shift the ground on which we stand, let us adapt, flow and grow.

The predicted snow does start falling now, and sticks thickly to each burgeoning bud. The beauty is like magic. Like the season.

In Celtic traditions, tonight starts the celebration of Imbolc which is a seasonal moment of the year, halfway between solstice and equinox. It celebrating the gifts brought with the increasing daylight
One can celebrate with fires, and greenery which reminds us that all around us the earth, the creatures and elements are responding with life. They reflect the inner awakening that unfolds within ourselves.
Some suggestions for celebration ~ light candles, cook with aromatic herbs (rosemary, bay, lavender, sage,) and plant seeds of new intentions for the coming season.

Thank you and so much love


They start deep in the belly
In the deep dark,
In the deep silence
In the dark of the moon

They start as embers, when the day has not yet started and one rises to sit. In the pre-dawn half light.

During this time of day, in the season of winter, there is a penetrating silence. When all motion feels loud in contrast. When sitting is the only response. When the stillness beckons me to listen.

I tune and feel a slow burning fire within that burns like a coal in my winter stove.

Some think the Spring starts in March.
Some feel the season starts when the first sap rises to greet the tree limbs with new life; Some say it is Imbolc, or St Bridget;s day, when magical tradition meets practical lambing and helps to catalyzes change in our environment,

We can see the visible sparks begin to emerge from the Earth for new life during these later Spring days.

For me, and for the birds, it starts now.
When the moon is still dark, and sun occluded by the earth. When all feels like stillness at the bottom of the ocean, or in the thick of a kelp forest.

In the stillness of the dark moon.

All quiet, a small fire ignites and purrs. Deep within an ember grows redder and brighter. A flicker of light burning like the glowing coals in my woodstove, an exhale of warmth and light

Despite the temperatures, the raging storms, the rebellious winds, the cracking of thermometers. Spring is here.
Spring stirs.
Soon to swell and surge

postscript~ I wrote this piece in the new moon, today, indeed the temperatures do drop. Birds hover near feeding sources. Winter calls out a last dance, we revel with this dance partner and swirl with the winds that blow, until the winds have blown themselves out

And stillness will return and remain bright

The Above image created by Nate Marshal, etched in honor of Solstice. and our courage to stay blazing in the storms ~ "The light may be bent, it may be dim.. but it is not extinguished."

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I awoke this morning wonderfully giddy, and as I turned to greet the day, my head began to spin and whirl, as though my brain could not grasp the physics of now, the point of the here and center. How Do I arrive at stability? My stomach began to churn with the effort of finding this illusive balance point. It felt as though my brain, and body, and feet were all in a whirling dance going in different directions, all while attempting to simultaneously catch up with one another.

I remember learning in a science class ages ago, that the distance between any two points can always, always be halved. And, with that understanding, the inference is that the meeting, touching, arriving of one point to another, is a mathematical impossibility. That what we reach, or aim for, we are always only arriving toward. Step by step, the path is unfolding, unfurling like a blossom. And by some miracle, we continue to unfurl like a lotus blossom, petal by petal.

And yet, it is said, today, at the Solstice, we have arrive at the stillpoint; a point when we can measure the approximate longest night in the northern hemisphere. After today, the daylight, in the north, will increase in minutes, the sun will rise higher on the horizon. The sun will shine deeper and deeper into the shadows and show us light and dark. Somehow, the impossible has become possible today, and new light arrives.

So, in the quiet before the shift, in the dark of the void, let's turn inward and listen to what other miracles are possible. What is the devotion of the miraculous, that calls you and me? Soon, the outward voices will gain momentum, energy and volume. Soon, distraction and busyness will be forefront. For now, Cherish these deep silent dark days. Find the inner peace to beam out into the world. Build your embers into a large fire to shine out for all to see, like the brave newly crescent moon just after sunset. Shine bright into the darkness knowing your light will show the shadows you make.

Let your point of arriving, be your inspiration for all you seek, all you cherish, all you dream ~

Wishing you love eternal, light that warms and deep peace.


A few cards from the quiet stillness


The mist settles in comfortably after the rain, hovering dearly and close to the earth.
The intermittent grays, that drift into imprecise definition, mingle with the moisture and light, outlining the shape of trees and hills.

The brush at the edge of the forest creates curlicues and hearts that emerge out of the indistinct light; the light enhances their dark beauty.

Lines of grey and darkness all intermingling, fusing, losing definition. The bright white seed-speckled snow below boldly contrasts the shapes above.

The stillness spreads to the brown wet leaves plastered below my feet.

In the stillness, I hear the bubbling "cheer-i-ups" of goldfinches and the fluttering wingbeats of titmouse. These social birds continue to gather with their friends for the daily celebration of life. They continue to sing songs of gratitude for their harbor from the storms.

I feel gentle movement on my face. Movement that arrives in the moist air, blowing strongly enough to lift wisps of hair and to blow the weight of thought away, not strongly enough to move the limbs of the nearby trees. These bastions of rooted solidity do not budge. Their stillness appears remarkable in contrast to my moving eyes, my cyclical breath, and even to the blood that moves in my sinews. They have arrived at their very deep place of quiet. Their sap waits in their roots. They do not shun this time waiting.
Their bold limbs appear to be listening. In the shifting fog.

I follow their lead.

I will find stillness in this season; I will listen... and listen some more, trusting myself to what I hear within.

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I wish you were here right now,
to feel, and see the quality of this light streaming down and in. I know you would love it, sitting here. You would sit, with me, in this quiet morning, absorbing the light that flows and tumbles over the doorstep, in and through the windows, and on and into the places within. I wish you were here, to watch this light falling all over itself, to land at our feet.

Regardless, of the autumn cold outdoors, I open the door wide, with the intention of allowing all light to flow freely over the threshold, and into the deep places within. I hold this spot for us, watching this light arrive in waves, with all colors mingling, warming all they touch.

While the home fires burn bright, and the Autumn temperatures cool, at the threshold, I feel both~ the coolness, and the warmth. Sometimes the heat is greater, sometime the coolness makes me shiver, as they eddy together in unseen currents.
I face outdoors, so I feel the warmth on my back, and the coolness on my face. And the light of the sun, most brilliant of all, weaves and intertwines with and through the eddies, warming me most of all, adding to the magic, and bringing a sense of something beyond understanding.

There is a dance at play here that keeps me at this doorstep. I do not hear the music. I feel it, I feel a deep quiet, a quiet you notice at sunrise. Or one you can hear after the wind blows. A silence so penetrating, that is feels as though there is a sound.

I would hold you here in this pervasive streaming light, that comes in, and through the doors all the way to my heart. We would listen together to the song the waves make, letting our bodies dance in a new light.

(More writing on Venus muse and photos on Heart to Eye about Autumn and light and more)

Gentle quiet Gifts of inspiration from the trees, for any time of transition.

It is Falling day. The magical day when, following an unseen signal, some trees spontaneously release their bounty of leaves in a synchronized swirl of falling grace. The descent is a mesmerizing dance, as the fluttering envoys wind their way toward a new adventure, falling in a eddies of beauty and light, cascading in glittering golds and yellows, all on the cyclical migration to the bare bones of winter rest.

This day arrives in any weather. It may be windy, cloudy, shivery or sunny. The leaves follow their own path, and timing, dancing to the rhythm of their own making. I discover the performance while on my way to harvest from some garden. Some of the leaves decorate the path. Crunching underfoot. The wind of my passing causes them to stir up once more, to flutter and swirl in a new tide of motion, following the beat of an unheard drum. As sweet as the leaves are on the ground, my eyes lift to watch the performance overhead.

Overhead, is a light show; a celebration to the passing of time, homage to the grandeur of life, the showing of one's true colors, a tribute to dancing to the very end, and to living life to the fullest. Living loud, living in full color, and living bright.

In my front yard, resides a Grandmother Beech. Her branches hang low, with gravity pulling them lower and lower every year. Her leaves used to brush my hair as I passed. The branches that hang there now, have stop producing greenery a few years ago. And slowly, more of grandmother’s other limbs stop making new growth as well. I watch, knowing, that some day, the last limb will fall and the life of grandmother will be a legacy for the earth. Grandmother will decide that moment and that timing. She will decide when to stop and when to completely let go. Until that time, she will transition into her elder status in her own rhythm and grace.

Many studies have shown that what we who love the trees have long intuited is true: in their ancient wisdom, the elders are far more vital to the health of the forest and the land than we could ever comprehend. That their roots offer gifts to all who pass or grow nearby, indeed they feed mycelium that communicate to young trees miles away, helping them grow and in turn, helping all of us manage the stressors of our daily life with more grace. A forest that has an elder nearby, grows healthy and grows fast.

I offer gratitude for grandmother who decides to linger longer here; grateful for her wisdom, her sweetness and the many other contributions that she provides for all as a member of this forest. As such, I am grateful for another day with her who, as a member of my community and as an integral part of this life, adds to the well being of the whole.

I find that I too linger longer at the base of her trunk, wondering indeed, what other mysteries does she hold in her roots, helping all of us stay well on this planet.
For now, the Grandmother tree lives.

I hope to be as wise as the trees on my path of life: to welcome their magic in my every day, to stand tall, to celebrate with kin, to share my wisdom with others, to shine bright and dance in any season, to listen to my inner timing, and to fall with exquisite grace.

I will sit at her feet and watch her wisdom cascade in golden light to me

More tree photos offering inspiration to shine, stand tall, let go and believe ~

(the above photo is a little out of season, but captures free fall so beautifully)

As always, thank you for all that you give to me in your standing tall and reminding me of the grace of life.


The teacup, round and comforting
holds deep warmth,
Like a Tibetan bowl, singing in waves,
Sounding out incantations of love

I center this day, with tea in hand, held by fingers around the whole
feeling the edges of the cup and the edges around me.

This tea is a physic, a singing receipt for health. I listen ~
I see my hands holding this cup, a cup reminding me of my own inner fire.
I feel the breath of wind blowing across my face gently, moving wisps of hair, as they pass.
I smell the mowed grass.
I hear the crickets and lawnmowers singing their choruses languidly; I hear a pair of geese announcing preparations for migration.
I welcome the warm red fleece scarf that wraps me in a soft embrace.

I notice that my fingers though, hold tightly to these edges, to this cup.
I am Here, I am here, it is Now.

A moment of pause. A moment of resilience in shifting sands. I feel the spareness of Autumn’s approach. My gaze holds steady on the cup I hold still. I sit listening ~

Listening to my breath, my heart, my inner waves until I can again slide into trust and flow. I listen to the inner and the outer calls, seeking balance.

Today's fog has lifted; the skies have cleared, the light lingers here, at the day’s end, as the day turns to night.

Still, for now, I gaze within, into my cup of warmth, and listen to the circulating songs.

These songs remind me to exhale. To release this breath, to allow for and welcome this small death in a cycle of time, to balance both stillness and motion. To Be. Still. Allow. Motion. In the spareness I experiment ~ Breathe in this Equinox light , breathe out the tension, breathe in the unknown, breathe out the fear. Breathe in Life into this balance point of time, of change, breathe out stagnancy. Breathe in possibilities, breathe out history. Breathe in. And out.

I wonder, at times, like before the dark of moon, or before a seasonal shift like this one, what does it mean to Still be here? What does it mean to shift our attention to the rise and fall of our breath? What does it mean if, at times, that is All we can do, in this strange experience called life? Life shiftings and whorled changings can feel unnerving, disorienting.
Yet, Soon, we do become re-oriented to the new incantations, and to the rising and descending circles and singing rhythms.

The wheel shifts and We are here, and now. And breathing soon becomes more fluid. Once more we feel re-oriented to flow. One moment does flow into the next... and we learn to sing with that.

After this stretched moment of pause, after sitting to listen to these musical spheres, I discover I can answer my questions now. I find I say yes to the unknown path before me, yes to change, yes, to going deep deep into this creative, vulnerable changing ecstasy called life.

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Here, where I live, the valleys welcome the Autumn mist, reverentially.
The valley softly envelops the clouds as they linger here, on earth. Creating mosaics of grey and green. Above the valleys, tendrils of misty fingers rise expressing their delight and pleasure. During these misty times, the moisture creeps onto and into every surface, nook and cranny. The vapors spread long sleepy tendrils over the fields, ponds, gardens and rivers, silently arriving, then moving on slowly. They transform and disappear into the ethers on their own timing. During these days, the horizon, remains indistinct and hazy. Elusive and indefinite. Mysterious and possible.

The mist may last through the day, or may slowly disappear, revealing a bright sun; or yet again, the mist may lift on a gentle breeze, a breeze who comes like a guest, laughing all greyness away.

During the day, crickets hum and "brrzzz" in a steady beat, one that moves strangely in, and out of hearing. The flight of the bluejay crosses the sky lazily, drifting over the treetops in a new, yet distinct Autumn pattern. The Raven babies practice their new language skills, entertaining us with their inventiveness. Burnished corn silk towers over my head, glimmering in the lowering sun; goldenrod emerges to feed the bees before hibernation; st john's wort, and beebalm flowers fade.

All this alerts us, that the seasons are changing, that the precious migrants will move on so soon, and that our inner patterns are shifting too.

Cirrus clouds tumble now through the high atmosphere, as I look up. I know and feel the air is twirling up there, in a different rhythm and with different voices. Lifting the perceptions of my days, opening me to shift and change as well. The evening shadows grow longer and longer, lingering, as if to taste just one more moment of daylight, before they too will fade into the quieter days of winter.

At day's end, the early twilight calls me home sooner, from the gardens or river, to tend to the inner fires. Before stepping inside, looking up once more for the day, I see the clouds drift, the trees wave, the lowering sun creating golden shafts of light and soft shadows. I welcome them all, just as the valley welcomes the mist. I feel their graceful presence helping me prepare and change into a new season. Smoothing the edges of this transition in life, as effectively as the mist shifts the perception of my horizon.

Soon I will be stepping up and into my yurt, not with misty moisture on my face, but the sense of the crispy cold. Not with short sleeves, but with layers of warm wool on my body. I feel the yearning and comforting devotion in the hills, and trees, breeze, birds and flowers surrounding me now, helping me, like they, accept the changes with grace and pleasure. I welcome the season of changes.

Late Summer days buzz with activity; they ride waves burgeoning with abundance and growth. Options emerge with the sunlight and warmth, urging participation in play and productivity, in rest and fun.

These waves of busyness arrive soon after the sun lifts above the tree tops. The rising swell collects me and then sweeps me along onto a trajectory of motion. I dream up plans and possibilities, projects and play. I resemble an insect who darts from here to there, moving so quickly, from one point of interest to the next, that I feel barely visible. It feels rare when I do find myself sitting still, to just be. Or to just listen.

I wonder about this ambition for activity.
My desire to fill the warm and inviting days results in more time engaging, and less time relaxing.

Meanwhile, summer shines on, flourishing and inviting. Twirling invisible tendrils of magic in the air. The sun smiles through it all with beneficence, magnanimously offering radiance, regardless of what we do or don’t do.

And in all the movement, I find myself beginning to crave quieter,
inner balance, to simply

reach stillness.
So, yes, while my gardens would dearly appreciate a weeding, and the paths would love a clearing of debris, or my floor a washing…. I want to find the precious gift of lying on the earth with empty space, to feel the luxurious summer breezes waft by, and watch them tussle the hair of the trees, brushing their limbs back and forth, like waves on the sea. I want to allow my imagination to fill in the spaces of the unknown without agenda; I want to sit and breathe in deeply the sounds of late summer, breathe in scents from exotic realms, and listen attentively to the birds’ announcing the coming Autumn.

This stillness is hard to create, that is, until the arrival of twilight. Then at the hush of night's edge, I find myself dropping whatever trajectory I was on (perhaps filling the hummingbird feeder, picking up firewood, or...) and I allow myself the gift of pause. I give myself the moment to inhale and feel stillness filling in the cracks of now.

I sit and lean back to listen, watch and feel. I feel the coolness of the night seeping in. I hear the last calls of the cardinals’ chirp, and the buzz of crickets. I smell the transition from late summer to autumn. Hurry melts from me just as quickly as it arrived. Night song begins.

Come, Linger with me now,
watch, with me the pink emerge
as sunset glides in.

Watch the changes of twilight slowly cover the sky
and then drip onto us, igniting our skin like a shimmering of light here on Earth.

I wrap you in this magic ~
And here, in this moment, we will drink tea, watch dragonflies, and sing and toast the night.


Apparently, Slugs have palate preferences. I happen to have the opportunity to observe this detail, since my garden has become a spontaneous summer festival for rain-loving slugs, delighted to celebrate the arrival of monsoon season in Vermont.

First, on the list of foods, is lettuce.
Lettuce does not have, nor really ever has, much chance of growing in my garden. Next on the list of edibles comes Kale, with a close second of Brussels sprouts and Broccoli. Neither collards, nor mustard find their names in the competition. I watch the kale leaves turn into skeletons as the gastropods feast very carefully until every plant has hardly a stem left.

Some days, every blade of green carries several slugs. And the walkways could pass as a busy market place for the mollusks. This summer, walking becomes a twirling dance of a step-dance in avoidance of potential massacre. The vendors and customers alike are sharing the road. I leave my home slowly, looking down with every step to be sure of my footing, and that the path is clear.

Co-existance can feel trying at times.

As can finding inner balance when saturation has been reached. All these slugs emerged with the arrival of hard daily downpours in early June. Since then, the days have flowed with a continuous stream, of water falling from the sky and then rising from the earth. Water, leaf and air have joined in one continuous stream of moisture, downpour, mist and mud; and our motions make sounds like splash, squish, slurp, slip, spray.

In these conditions, I admit to feeling overwhelmed. Even though I love water, the Abundance suddenly feels hard to accept, or balance.

Ponds are lakes, pathways are streams, Streams are rivers, lawns are puddles. Gardens are swamps. The seeps are full, the paths are waterways, the grass boggy.

When I look around at what feels like a temperate rainforest, I feel amazed to believe so much water can exist and be held in one place. Yet, the Earth seems to have done just that. She seems to know how to find balance, to thrive and find outlets, containers and aquifers for this gift and ways to bless us with more gifts.

For example, from all of this rain, the lovely green abounds. The air is cleared of heavy smoke. The water finds containers, whether it is a puddle, or the roots of the majestic trees holding the blessings. The air feels clean, welcoming, warm, as well as wet. I breathe more easily.

Searching for inner balance, I pause, notice and watch ~

Puddle dwellers rejoice. Humidity loving insects and insect eating winged-friends feast. Mud loving mammals with slapping feet dance happily and noisily. The raccoon who visits my front perch, uses the water to wash ki's hands, and food. Slap, slap, slap. Slip, sip slurp are the sounds I hear through the screen door at night.

The rhythms of the animals, of the water, the day and night all find a balance among themselves. As I slow down, to notice, watch, and listen, I discover that I too am finding an inner balance as well as gratitude with the outer rhythms. Slowly, a relaxation and inner stillness emerges. Less discontent and more gratitude.

Observing this, I find, I can breathe more easily now. After pausing and suggesting that balance may be possible, I find it becomes so. I notice that I feel the warm wet air as an embrace.

I had come outside just now. In a rare break from the downpours; I sit on a towel to write more, accepting a bit of dampness in my seat. A memory emerges ~ a memory of a summer years ago, when I was about 3 1/2 feet tall, that was so very wet too. I remember loving having more home-time and fewer swimming lessons. Less pleasantly, I remember the creepers who also found their way in and into my clothing. At least the slugs have not braved entering my home now or.. Yet.

We were saturated then too, from door to door.

One morning, during this summer, the rains brought a Luna moth to take refuge on the door screen. There, presenting kiself was my first glimpse of an angel of summer. I saw a 4-inch wide glowing green angel whose large luminous translucent wings spoke mysteries to me. Awe-filled, I watched the stillness of this angel.

Like today, the weather broke that day, so I had to go off to swimming lessons, before I could watch the moth fly off. I am sure sure though, that she planted her egg successfully, in me, during her brief visit to my world.

While writing my observations, a downpour arrived and chased me, my pen and my cat inside.

I finish the post now, inside, after the skies opened up and drenched the Earth once again; I’m listening to gentle warm rain and rumbling thunder. The slowing down, listening to the rhythm of the rain, and moist earth, has helped me find the inner balance. Has helped me remember gladness for this brief visit to planet earth.

I feel glad that rain is still visiting, glad that the gifts of abundance are not finished.

When the rain is lighter, I will walk with my feet in the warm rain and damp earth, We are indeed saturated here, in Vermont. And it is saturation of blessings falling from heaven. Rain carrying drops of love and wellness
"Slow things down, we move too quick.
This life of ours, it's not too short, nor the road too far,
The road may seem long, but check the view
We change our minds, and points of view,
I'll work it out. Keep hope alive. It's all we got."
From Earth on a good day, by Vernon Spring

The path feels slippery until we slow down.
The storm feels heavy until we remember we can breathe,
keeping hope and glowing wings alive.