Yesterday, I had a decision to make: whether or not to leave the structured, secure, learning environment of grad school in general, and one class, in particular. I had been mulling over my options for days. Logic and analysis revealed nothing definitive; I was always able to second guess (my Virgo Moon) any reasoned choice. Either way would be okay, but which way would be best. Which way would take me more clearly to my purpose?
I was lost and confused, focusing on the specific class, and the tension which had developed there. I was seeking an answer to this smaller issue but it was the greater issue — and .answer — which was revealed to me in the unexpected sign of a single blossom.
Hydrangeas flower with large clusters of small blossoms that, this time of year, turn from their glorious blue into subtle shades of mauve, bronze, taupe, and sage green. As I wandered the yard, and ruminated, my attention was drawn to the sign I sought: an anomalous single, solitary, four-petaled blossom, 3 to 4 times its normal size.
I understood the message immediately: Go it alone. Single. You will bloom. Not in a group. Not under the direction of a teacher. But trusting in your own abilities to find what you need to learn and know. You have this. The world is here to help.
Receiving guidance from the natural world has become the most natural thing for me to do. The help of the natural world has always been there, but I have reached this awareness and appreciation of it in stages — in due seasons.
Last year, it was the visit of a Bobcat telling me to remove my self from a hostile group and to withdraw for safety and recovery until I felt stronger. More recently, a Box Turtle on my front porch stoop was telling me to not be so quick to pursue my dreams; there’s something better down the road. Dragonflies, deer, hawks, cloud formations, twinkling raindrops, shimmering spiderwebs — these are my common companions and frequent messengers.
There has always been this abiding presence and influence of the natural world, but I have not always related to it so intentionally and directly as I do now.
During my adolescence I spent many nights standing on the raised front porch of our aging Southern home, toes hanging ten over the weathered brick, asking the wise Father God deep questions about my purpose and calling. His ever presence in the massive live oak tree welcomed my stories, complaints, tears, and sometime rage. He was not threatened by me, nor I by Him. His wisdom grounded, solid, and deep, His reach high and wide. Yet, He dealt with my lofty ideas and small concerns, patient with the intricate details, accustomed to chaos and complication. I was safe, loved, and nurtured.
Before that, Spring
My earliest memories, well before adolescence, have me seeking the Moon’s opinion of me. How was I doing? Am I Okay? Always hoping for approval and love, I would find the Moon sometimes smiling, but sometimes frowning, scowling, or sad. And I always knew why; I could not hide my truth.
The first presentation of a miraculous nature happened after my husband told me he no longer wanted to be married to me and was leaving me and our children. We had married because we shared many dreams. His leaving me meant our dream would be leaving me, too. Six months pregnant with our son, I climbed into the red Ford pickup which would go with the dream in the divorce — and I drove. As I drove through traffic my belly was pressed against the steering wheel, my toes barely able to reach the pedals. I found myself driving to the Blue Ridge Parkway; Eric Clapton was singing Layla on the radio.
Once onto the Parkway, Clapton’s song shifted to the swelling, dipping, swerving phrases of the instrumental half. As the music rose, turned, and rose again, I leaned into the curves of the road, climbing in elevation and awareness of the moment. Accelerating into one turn, at a shift in the musical key, my emotions broke and I wept so completely that I could not see. I pulled off and — still in gear, my feet planted on the clutch and brake — I gave in and emptied out. Without reserve, I gave in to the grace and embracing of the world that loved and grieved with me. When that moment passed and the intensity waned I noticed three large hawks flowing in sync with the music, soaring over the valley with each other in relating arcs, supported on the air which rose up from the ravine below. I watched without breathing as the timing of their turns exactly matched the phrasing of the song; and as it softly drifted to the end, the hawks together turned and at the final lilting notes, flew above me, over the truck and out of sight behind me. I was loved, and not alone, and I would have guidance to the end.
I have spent far too many years thinking in a different way. But is now Winter. and I can see the nature of things more clearly, again.