Devouring Mysteries

DSCF5966How can it be, at my advanced and advancing age, that only four seasons, circling round and round again continue to amaze me each time they take their turn and reappear? Like a church, Full Moon Cottage and the neighboring Glacial Drumlin Trail move through cycles, with attendant mysteries, rituals, sacraments, and an ever-changing choir to accompany these. DSCF5655And, if anything, each year’s cycle of seasons becomes more precious and startling, perhaps because I’m ever more acquainted with the energy required for the transformations they create. A rainstorm, overnight, shook off the bud casings and sang out the tender leaves on our fruit trees and along the trail. I went to sleep knowing the trees held the possibility of leaves, and woke to a realized mass of fluttering green foliage, newborn and tentative. The world is a nursery crammed with infants in spring. I devour these mysteries entirely and delightedly. DSCF5973 DSCF5865 DSCF5943Within a week or two, daffodils and tulips pierced the earth and are now ready to burst into bloom, and, if I don’t survey the gardens every day, I fear I’ll miss them. DSCF5876 DSCF5975 DSCF5870Along the trail, sweet wildflowers have been decorating our walks for the past week. Well, perhaps skunk cabbage is less sweet and flowery than a sure and comforting sign that spring is here for certain. Skunk cabbage is one of the few plants that exhibit thermogenesis, or the ability to heat up the earth enough to melt the snow and ice that may be present, and emerge early enough to attract pollinating insects before they become prey to other creatures. It sends up a purple spathe rather than flowers, and, within the spathe, a spadix emits a decidedly unlovely odor that attracts the insects that will pollinate it. I understand this, but thermogenesis in a plant, however it’s explained, rests upon deeper mystery, to me. DSCF5856The Marsh Marigold is an ancient native plant, having survived glaciations, enduring after the last retreat of the ice, apparently well-suited to a landscape of glacial meltwaters. Why it managed to survive is a mystery, but its cheerful gold shines up from the puddle-filled ditches every April. DSCF5977And the Pink Beauty and Blood Root have ants as helpmeets to spread their seeds, a process called myrmecochory. Their seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that offers a “come hither” scent to the ants, who carry the seeds back to their nests. I wonder if these are considered a kind of party treat heralding the ants’ spring? Anyway, they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, rich in nutrients, where they are protected until they germinate. And although I can understand the science that explains these plants, their existence and their sacred interdependence with ants remains a cherished mystery. DSCF5811 DSCF5807The winter choir of sifting snows and blustery winds has changed to a chorus of birdsong and amphibian arias; this past week, the red-winged blackbirds were the day-sky stars, but at night, our opened windows allowed the Spring Peepers, Leopard Frogs, and toads to serenade us with their river songs. We haven’t heard the Bullfrogs yet; I hope their solos come along soon. All these mysteries occurring under my nose, all this energy being expended all around me…it makes my daily round look rather unproductive and flat by comparison. DSCF5677 DSCF5669My students and I planted potatoes this past week, and others worked with their teachers to prepare a butterfly garden. I’m not sure we’ll get out in the garden today, as it’s very windy and down about 30 degrees from last week’s surprising warmth, but we may plant some of the lettuces, peas, and other cold-weather vegetables we’ve started, and divide out tomato seedlings into their own 4” pots. The Master Gardeners have also scheduled lessons to teach the students more about Monarch Butterflies and their crises regarding habitat and migration, and plan to establish a Monarch Waystation at the school this spring.

When I’m not at school, I’ve been cleaning up the gardens and, of course, devouring mysteries, both those around me and those in book form. I like the ones I cannot solve the best. I’m re-reading the wonderful Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter, and a friend just got me hooked on Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries, so I’m fully-booked, so to speak. DSCF5877But it’s the mysteries and rituals surrounding me that most deeply feed and fill my spirit. Here is one of my favorites:DSCF5794DSCF5882When they were little puppies, we noticed how Riley and Clancy loved to fall on the grass and roll joyfully, over and over, especially in spring. We could almost hear them giggling. So, we’ve always called this their “Roly-Poly Game,” and the expression quickly became a cue for them. Whenever they heard it, they would fall down and merrily roll while we laughed at them and cried out in mock disbelief. “Oh, no! Not roly-poly!” Over and over, like little children, they seemed delighted in entertaining us with their silliness. A beloved spring ritual.

This past winter, when we received their respective health diagnoses, I didn’t expect them to be here, now, and certainly not with the ability to be sung back to life, like the green leaves, and playing roly-poly. But here they are, in April, celebrating our annual ritual, diving down to meet the sweet green earth, giggling and making me laugh, joyfully devouring the mystery that brought us together years ago and that allows us to share another spring day.  It is a mystery. And a gift.DSCF5797But this mystery has a name, written on my heart for 14 years. It is Love, and I devour it as hungrily as any communicant, and as full of gratitude. DSCF5868

19 thoughts on “Devouring Mysteries

  1. A great pleasure to read of your joy and wonder at the mystery of rebirth with the spring. My cat too, loves to do a Roly-Poly when we go out for a walk in spring (if it’s a clear day without rain). Best wishes to all life forms in the vicinity of the full moon cottage!

    • And to you and Nechama, Shimon. I’m giggling, picturing you and me doing our own Roly-Poly! I’d hope we could get up again. 🙂

      Joy to your week!

  2. Your vivid descriptions made me smile. And how wonderful your dogs are able to “roly poly” another spring. I agree–spring is God’s mystery right in front of us. Thank you for the reminder.

    • It is a sweet blessing, that’s for sure, Amma, to have Riley and Clancy here and happy, for as long as I can have them. They are still teaching me so much.

      I hope your spring will be full of blessings for you, too…and just enough mystery to captivate you. 🙂

  3. Ahhhhh….how lovely to see the pups Roly-polying! Those pics made my day! Our two love to roll too!! Annie evens drops to the ground when on a lead! It is a wonderful sight!
    POTATOES….Oh I say!!! Here’s to a marvelous harvest! How wonderful to know that your charges are learning how to grow their own food and respect and help their native wildlife, so inspiring!
    The seasons always take my breath away too, especially seeing all the early blossom and first flowers emerge from nowhere, its miraculous for sure, I’m always astonished when I see huge plants develop from tiny specks of dust…..
    I love all your wildflowers and did enjoy learning a little more about them!
    A wonderfully inspiring post, I did enjoy it!xxx

  4. Potatoes! Can’t wait. We planted three kinds here at Full Moon, too…hope they make it through the very cold weather we had this week.

    Ah, yes, roly-poly! I know I can’t have my pups forever, but I do hope they’ll be pain-free and happy as long as I have them, and to see them so joyful just made my week.

    If you are in Pompeii, I hope it’s as stunning as I’ve always imagined! Blessings to your travels and adventures; can’t wait to hear of them and see the photos! 🙂

    Thank you, again, for your kind, sweet visits and comments, Dina!.

  5. Oooohhh…..so you have planted spuds at Full Moon too…wow….they will be fine!
    I am home now and all was well. Sighs I….I did do my usual worry thing, but next time I’ll be fine. You would love Pompeii, it really is worth seeing.xxxxxxx

  6. I have a friend who’s in her second of three weeks of meetings in Rome (she’d rather be in Assisi), and another who’s been everywhere in Italy a few times and, I think, would happily live there…and now I’m into this 24-or-so-books’ mystery series set in Venice, so I think I’d better start planning a trip. 🙂 Beside the gabillion museums, I’d definitely want to see Pompeii. I love watching PBS programs about it… But I’m glad to hear how wonderful it was for you. It was a big deal to arrange care for all your buddies and etc…I’d be worried, too. Glad it went so well.

    I have a not-so-pleasant, but routine procedure tomorrow, so I can’t eat today, and even thinking about potatoes is making me crazy…I do love my spuds. Thanks for encouraging me to plant then. 🙂 They’re all Dina Spuds to me. I have Red Dina, Gold Dina and Purple Dina. :0

  7. Hahahahaha….Dina spuds! Love that!
    Here’s to your procedure going well…..it is hard fasting!
    Venice is wonderful….here’s to your trip! If only we could pet mind for each other, it is hard letting go and trusting someone with our angels!xxx

  8. Dear Kitty, I always try to find a nice, quiet time to come over and pore over your page – just like unwrapping a favourite treat or curling up to read a favourite book! Pure joy. I thought I was the only one to feel that each cycle and season that comes round is brand new to my eyes and senses! I feel the infectious joy from watching your beloved do his roly-poly. That pure satisfaction of fur meets grass feeds my soul! Send them a big cuddle from me. Sharon xx

    • Sharon, your posts feed my spirit as well, so it’s a blessing to me that you’re back online, offering your gifts.

      I’m crazier than usual about spring this year; maybe it’s a function of aging and finding each new season more precious because I know I haven’t got forever, as I thought I did when I was young. 🙂

      Thanks you for visiting and sharing; the pups appreciated a loving hug from you!

      • p.s. I forgot to mention one very important thing! I’m a huge fan of detective/crime mysteries! 😀 It’s my weak spot. Favourites are P.D. James, Val McDermid, Love Donna Leon too, though it’s been a while since I’ve read her. And then of course, I’m hooked on Inspector Morse (Colin Dexter). Haha, so very delicious to find a partner in crime Kitty! X

  9. I LOVE Morse and Lewis…Saw a new series on PBS named after the detective “Vera,” starring the amazing Brenda Blethyn. The books are by Ann Cleeves, so I’m looking into those, too, and hope to re-read all of Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury novels this year…also love P.D. James…ah, mystery!

    • I missed this reply from you but guess what I did after I read your post the other day. I went straight to the library and got me some Donna Leon’s books 😀 Hehehe…who would have thought I’d find a whodunnit buff in you my dear Kitty! I’m so very stoked! I haven’t read Martha Grimes but will be sure to be on a lookout. I’ve recently discovered Agatha Raisin (M.C Beaton). Delightful little crime novels. X

  10. What inspiring thoughts written in such beautiful, rich prose. I just want to spend the day watch the wonders around me.

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