Sacred Ground

sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 067My husband and I have begun the long discernment regarding where we’d most like to retire. We have several years of regular employment ahead of us, but think it best we start the conversation now, in case other opportunities present themselves, or health issues arise that would require a more sudden shift. So, what shall it be? “Up North” on a lake? A condo in the city? A different state? In the U.S.? Another country? We know that, at some point, the maintenance of Full Moon and its four acres will become more physically demanding than we can manage, but what are the signs that will tell us the time has come?

We can’t know what’s ahead, of course, but I’ve known people who have reached their retirement without ever truly having considered their needs, desires, and possibilities regarding the next (and, let’s face it, the last) stage of their lives. The following years proved more challenging for them than a dedicated time of planning may have created.

Even beginning these conversations has proven interesting, as we each consider leaving Full Moon Cottage, sit with our feelings, come back to reconsider possibilities and then go out to work in the yard, take a canoe trip, walk on the path, or sail down the trail on a long, meditative bike ride.

Full Moon has been a lovely and deepening home, generous in its gifting, and we’ve traveled through a good bit of our lives here. Every season has offered so much beauty and so many lessons. This past week, the orioles, red-breasted grosbeaks, purple finches, goldfinches, and hummingbirds returned to the feeders with their great appetites and vivid presence.

Spring birds 011 Spring birds 017 Spring birds 025The shy and solitary green heron who lives beside us in the woods has returned; like the owls, he struggles to find peace among the raucous crows, and I’m grateful he does, for his annual reappearance and heartbreaking calls each spring anchor the new season for me as surely as the oriole’s song.

Green Heron 030The tulips have begun blooming, at last, and we’ve been working to edge and mulch the gardens, just ahead of the weeds, especially the vigorous garlic mustard, which suffered no setback from the drought.

sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 008 sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 011 sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 023A mourning dove couple has chosen to build their nest above my pullout clothesline. I guess I’ll be using my dryer for a few more weeks. We’ve never seen mourning dove newborns, so this is a rare treat for us.

End of April to May 2 oriole, grosbeak, gardens mourning dove ne 146

sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 035

There are nests all around our home; every day more are apparent. We noticed a sandhill crane nesting in a marshy area, “hidden in plain view.” 

sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 059

It looks like we’ll have a very brief spring; temperatures could be in the 90’s next week, and summer will open wide. I can’t help but wonder how many more springs we’ll be here to welcome fox kits, to set out seed and oranges for returning birds and their newborns, or to tend the gardens’ rebirth. I wonder how many more autumns we’ll bid them each farewell and settle in for another winter.

End of April to May 2 oriole, grosbeak, gardens mourning dove ne 090But Full Moon has taught me that wherever we are, there is possible beauty and the rhythm of cycles that elicit love and call forth our gifts to co-create. We’ll be sad when we finally have to leave, of course, but I hope we’ll be looking forward to new adventures on other sacred ground, and quiet places to bow down to the beauty before us.

sandill crane, mourning dove, gardens 066

15 thoughts on “Sacred Ground

    • Oh, thank you, my dear Shimon; I can only agree that we are blessed. I so appreciate your visits and encouragement. Peace to your week, my friend.

  1. This post was such a great pleasure for me Kitty, I have no idea which glorious pic to comment on first…..THEY ARE ALL STUNNING! How wonderful to actually have hummingbirds, I can imagine the joy they bring, along with all your other stunning wildlife.

    I love the crane…….I’m SO excited to think I will be enjoying the pics of chicks in the near future, especially of that darling little dove.

    Oh please don’t leave Full Moon cottage for years and years…….you’re only a bit of a spring chicken. And if you do have to go in the distant future then you simply have to sell it to me!!! Yes!!!! xxxx

  2. Oh, Snow Bird; you’re so funny! Thank you for your visits and joy. Yes, hummingbirds like mad, and they are thirsty little fellows who tend to fight if they don’t have enough feeders, so I buy several inexpensive feeders every few years and keep them full!

    The crane is lovely and the doves, so sweet; I hope I can observe without annoying them. I stay pretty far back and use the zoom lens 🙂

    It’s a glorious time of year, but I’m not excited about temperatures in the 90’s coming so soon…we shall see what Mother Earth has in store for us this summer. 🙂

    Joy to your week, Snow Bird, and thanks again, so much, for your visits.

  3. You have a slice of paradise and I hope you can enjoy it as long as possible without compromising any other aspect of your lives.

    • Thanks, Pat; things change, and we’ve talked about a lake retirement for a long time, so we’ll see. Full Moon has been wonderful us; that’s for sure; Governor Walker and his cronies, less so.

  4. Oh I know those feelings well….My move to VT I knew would probably be my last, though I never say never…I hope I chose wisely. It’s beauty has pleased me endlessly and the seasons never disappoint. I know wherever you end up it will be special and wonderful and you will bring your wonderful energy to it and it will explode with possibilities. Leaving will be very tough, for you have so many dear creatures who are part of your life. Love them while you can. They will miss you. I loved the photos as always. Thanks for sharing and enjoy this glorious spring soon to be summer and all the babies that will emerge from it 🙂 Blessings and love…VK

    • VK, your kindness truly blesses my day. You’re right, absolutely; we’ll bring who we are and what we’ve learned wherever we go, if we go. 🙂

      In the meantime, yes; much to do in the gardens and with the 4-leggeds: glorious weather continues.

      Joy to your day and to all your pursuits! Thank you so much for visiting and sharing; your time and wisdom are always appreciated.

  5. Kitty, a beautiful post, as always, and a timely one for me to read. We are going through the same planning stage for retirement – I’m determined not to be unprepared, but we plan to stay here until we keel over (hopefully, in the garden.) I spent the winter working with Pilates so that I would be physically ready to do my sabbatical project with the hiking and hauling photo gear that it will entail. However, the unexpected upside is that I have enormously increased strength, stamina, and flexibility in the garden, as if I were 15 years younger – frankly, I am amazed at how much I can now do. So I am now determined to garden into my 80’s and beyond, if given the opportunity, so I think anything is possible. On the other hand, I also remember garden writer Laurel Ogden saying “a garden that is too big to care for is like having a nagging child tugging on your hem for attention.”

    May you find the right solution for you and your husband – and enjoy Moon Cottage to its fullest in the meantime.

    • How wonderful to hear your Pilates yielded such wonderful energy! I so look forward to hearing about your project when your sabbatical is underway; hope you’ll have time to post updates…yes, I’d be content to keel over at 80 anywhere, but especially in a Full Moon garden :)…the discussion for us is more about a smaller house, really, but we’ll trust our instincts and go with the flow. 🙂 I so appreciate your visits, wisdom, and gentle (but powerful) energy, Lynn; your words always inspire me. Thank you.

  6. Beautiful images! I’m so jealous of your colorful bird pictures, they’re just so amazing. You’re so lucky to call a place with all these incredible beauty HOME. 😉

    • I agree; we’re blessed and have been for the last 16 years, to have located such a pristine and lovely spot to call home, that’s for sure…The other blessing is my husband, who has worked so very hard to tend the natural beauty and create a home that’s beautiful and comfortable… 🙂 Thank you so much for visiting, Malou; your own gorgeous country and travels have given me such joy!

      The birds are incredible…I get soooooo excited when they first visit the feeders every spring!

  7. My dear Kitty,
    Over the span of this one year (?) that I have come to know you and had glimpses into Full Moon cottage and her surroundings, the fox kits, the cheeky birds that perch outside, the individual personalities of the inhabitants of your home, the flowers, the amazing closeness to the richness of life all around you – it has been such a pleasure.

    I can imagine what a big leap it would be to consider the possibility of leaving. To be at this phase of life with so much of oneself rooted in this spot. Oh, you write from your heart and somehow your words wind up in my heart, in my mind. It is like we’re sitting together in your warm cosy kitchen just talking and I can feel what you mean.

    Until then, I know you will enjoy every single moment of this special place called home.

    Hugs, Sharon

    • My Lovely Friend,

      One of the chief joys of writing here is the blessing of meeting friends from all over the world and inviting them to my table and into my heart…that you have heard these invitations and become a cherished guest and friend truly brings me such deep joy, Sharon.

      It is hard to consider leaving, but there is an element of excitement in anticipating change as well. We are blessed to have time, good health, and each other with which to sift through possibilities…

      I am hopeful whether we move or not, we’ll continue to honor the sacred ground surrounding us…and I hope you’ll continue to travel through this mysterious life beside me, as the soul-friend (anam cara) you’ve become…

      Peace to your heart,
      Kitty

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