Bark

The Bark of a Venerable Cottonwood

My name is Gail and I sniff bark.

Where this began, I can’t begin to know. Being a literal, as well as figurative, tree-hugger, it likely started while getting up close and personal. Regardless, one day I discovered the warm, syrupy, cozy fragrance of cottonwood bark.This led to me to check out the aroma of an ash tree–lighter and (not surprisingly) woody. Willow–astringent. Elm–lightly astringent, woody, cool. And so forth. Then I sniffed a dying elm–it carried the sour sad smell of illness.

Trees are corporately and individually precious, and not only within the context of their value to humans. In primary school, we learned that trees are important for shade, oxygen production, lumber, nuts, etc. Nowhere was it suggested that we can have a relationship with trees, or that they have a good of their own. Generally, they are viewed as utilitarian, inanimate objects.

Researchers are now discovering that trees communicate with each other in various ways. Healthy trees benefit ailing neighbors. They do better in forests, surrounded by other trees, plants, and fungal communities. Back when I studied forestry at the University of Minnesota, these relationships were little understood, if at all. The focus was on the management of forests for timber production and in some cases, wildlife production, meaning species that humans like to hunt and kill. Being a pacifist vegetarian, some of this didn’t sit too well with me, and eventually I switched career paths.

What is my point? Pick a tree. Sniff the bark, observe it through the seasons, get a sense of its energy, note the birds, mammals and insects that visit or inhabit your tree. Become friends. Your life will be enriched.

Super-Sized Pink Moon

Rising this evening in the southwestern sky is the Pink Full Moon. Know as “Pink” not for the actual color, but for the season in which it appears. Spring. The time of blossoms emerging on trees, in gardens, and in the woodlands. The time when color returns after a winter of whites, grays. browns, and blacks.

Those who came before named the April Full Moon to honor the return of color. What a joy!

Looking out my South Minneapolis window I see emerald grass, chartreuse shrubs, and tangerine tulips. The ash trees, although always late to leaf out, swell with the promise new growth at the tips of each branch and twig.

As if the Pink Full Moon is not enough, this is also the first Super Moon of the 2021. Our beloved moon is passing slightly closer to earth, making the disc appear 12-15% larger than average.

My readers outside of Minnesota may get a chance to view this natural wonder. Here, clouds will likely interfere. But fear not! Twenty-eight days from now, the moon will once again be full, and will once again be super.

I encourage you to observe yourself month to month as the lunar cycles pass. Do you feel a difference in energy or focus as the moon moves from new to full? Personally, I tend to dream more vividly around the new moon. Around the full moon, I am more distracted, misplacing things and generally being klutzier than usual. Let me know what you experience. If the oceans are affected, why shouldn’t we, who are watery, salty creatures, also feel the pull of the waxing and waning moon?

Get out tonight and do you best coyote howl!

Dreams

The Dream, Marc Chagall, 1939

“When an idea is so old, and is so generally believed, it is probably true in some way.” Carl Jung, Psychological Types, Vol 6, Collected Works

The quote from Jung refers to the symbolic meaning of dreams. From as far back as humans have been recording reflections on their experiences, dreams have played an important role in understanding ourselves and the reality that underlies our ordinary experience.

“Oneiromancy” is the technical term for the interpretation of dreams. From the Bible, to the Talmud, to the works of Homer, Greek and Roman mythology, as well as the works of Freud and Jung, dreams are taken seriously and their meanings sought.

In upcoming posts, we will delve into dreams–how they have been viewed in the past and how our dreams may help us in our day-to-day lives.

I am in the process of collecting dreams from followers, friends, and family. If you have a dream that you would like to share (your identity will never be publicly revealed) you may send a summary to: gail@eye2.us. Dream interpretation is one of my skills, so if I have any insights, I will respond.

Stay tuned, sweet dreamers.

New Day

We are as we are for a reason. This is an explanation. It is not an excuse nor a life sentence.

There is always hope.

Face your challenges, ask for help, and know that you are always capable of positive change.

Worm Moon

The time has come, I decided, for me to pay closer attention the cycles of nature–the monthly waxing and waning of the moon, the equinoxes and solstices, the apparent movement of planets and stars, daily sunrises and sunsets, leaf unfurlings, floral bloomings, bird migrations, meteor showers, and so much more.

Since the beginning of humanoid existence, we lived in intimate relationship to our natural surroundings. Now that most of us dwell in homes with roofs, move from place to place in enclosed conveyances, and do our work indoors, that connection has loosened. And with that, we have lost a sense of true kinship with other living creatures of the myriad plant and animal varieties.

The March full moon is commonly known as the Worm Moon, presumably based on the emergence of earthworms. It is also referred the Sugar Moon, pertaining to the flow of maple sap. Coming up April 26 the Pink Moon will grace our skies as one of two 2021 Super Moons,, referring to an appearance of somewhat larger than normal sized disk. The designation of the April full moon as pink is said to relate to the blooming time of pink moss phlox.

Renewing a connection with the natural world reminds us that we are nothing more and nothing less than creatures among creatures, dependent on the earth for nutrition, water, and air. We humans have taken an extraordinary toll on the well-being of our planet and its denizens. Only we, person by person, can turn this dire situation around. We all know the steps–buy less, drive less, eat less (or no) meat, plant trees, lobby for the preservation and restoration of wild areas, buy organic and local, to name a few possible steps.

As you gaze at a sun-glinted lake, or see a tiny wild flower in bloom, give thanks for the beauty of the earth and for the opportunity we each have to effect healing of the environment we share with all other living beings..