Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who Were They?

This morning my horoscope advised me not to whine.

I am known for my deep ability to whine and whimper over not getting my way. So I decided to practice acceptance of conditions the Universe decides to send my way.

It's Wednesday. Usually, I would have travelled to visit my daughter and grandchildren today.

The aberrant weather, however, warned me not to attempt the warnings were posted everywhere, of a huge Snow storm blanketing the area.

We received some Snow last week, which melted into slush during the following sunny days...and then froze overnight. The roads are sheets of Ice, in the morning. As difficult as it was...Wednesday mornings with my family are infinitely precious to me...I stayed at home.

Did I whine? Yes. Did I complain? Yes. For awhile, I forgot I wasn't to do this. In my befuddled state this morning, I told Graham I was going to make Lemons out of lemonade. He wished me luck.


On my way to answer correspondence on the computer, I happened to glance out the office window, just in time to see the Snow plough blade hit the recycling box stationed at the side of the road for pickup. Cans and bottles and papers settled in the snow, and the blue box ended up upside down a fair distance from where it originally sat.

The plough carried on, faster than most vehicles drive on this road. A few choice words found their way past my lips, until I whining and whinging.

This is where things got a little strange. Weird. Goosebumpy, even.

There was nothing for it, but to go and pick up the recycling. Certainly the snow plough guys were not going to come back and fix what they did. It was up to me, complaints or not.

As I picked up the cans and whatnot, I noticed, very suddenly, that there were people around me. I wondered where they came was very early, the morning still darkened by ferociously cold weather.

But I'd my head down, so I assumed they were out for walks...until I remembered seeing this same group of people the time our garbage can had been overturned, and I was out picking up garbage. They had a familiar energy signature...I had met them before.

We discussed the shameful practice of having a snow plough hit the recycling container. I was advised to call the Town to complain. I demurred, saying it was my day to not complain at each and every thing that occurred to me.

They muttered amongst themselves, as I continued to pick up the recyclables. Intending to change the subject, I brought up the weather. One man told me I would feel the East Wind soon and as he spoke, recycled papers went flying across the yard from a blast of Wind from the Ocean.

I turned my back on the group to chase down the papers, and when I turned back...there was only one gentleman there...

I glanced up and down the road...nothing. Only the howl of Wind.

The gentleman continued speaking, telling me he had lived not far from here long ago. He asked if there was still a problem with water running down from the Park. His voice rose with the sound of the rushing Wind. I answered as best I could, still searching for the other people. He did not seem concerned, just continued to pass the time of day. He told me it was a great time for a walk, but that I was to stay put and not go wandering off over the Hump, a word used by locals to describe the mountain pass I would have to travel over, in order to visit my daughter.

I wanted to ask him...What happened to the other people? Where did they go?

I was afraid he would answer...Who?

And when did I tell him I had thought of going to Port Alberni?

As addled as I was quickly becoming, I took a closer look at the man. His face looked as if it could break into smiles at any moment, it was wreathed in round wrinkles. He was dressed warmly, in what looked like those pea coats we used to wear, way back in the sixties. He wore a Homburg hat, a hat that looked very similar to the ones the gangsters in the movies wear. And he wore a green muffler. And he had on brown leather gloves.

He kept speaking...I felt I couldn't interrupt. As Wind picked up speed, as leaves flew and my hair loosened from its braid, he told me the Hump was going to be a mess, this afternoon. He smiled, said...Be thankful you're not on that highway. Better to stay put.

I only nodded my head, wondering how he knew I was considering making the trip after lunch.

By this time, my eyes were as big as basketballs, but he remained cheery. He lifted his hand, wished me a good day, and walked away, along the road. I watched him for a minute, wondering if he would disappear as well, but he was still there as I walked back into the house.

Who were the others...where were the others? I know all my neighbours, by sight, at least. They were not my neighbours, and there wasn't a house that they could suddenly walk into, either, unless it was mine.

And who was this amazing man?

In the long run, perhaps it doesn't matter. This episode took me aback because it happened when I was fully aware. I wasn't sleeping, and receiving messages from figures that appear to me in my dreams.

I wasn't meditating or journeying, wherein I am able to travel to other realms and where seeing people surrounding me is a matter of course.

I was wide awake. In the early morning cold...busy picking up recyclables. Fully in touch with my surroundings.

I believe these people were warning me. In my headstrong manner, where my heart ruled my mental acumen, I had considered travelling over the Hump in the afternoon. Perhaps I may have been involved in an accident, perhaps it was not the time to challenge the weather.

Who were they?

All I know is, allies and guardians show up in all shapes and sizes.

And I'm grateful.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Solitary Pursuits

I found myself with a few days all to myself, this past week. I had plans to keep myself busy; it turned out, however, those good intentions mostly fell by the wayside.

I'm one of those know who I mean...where the road to perdition is paved with good intentions. The ones who make lists, in anticipation of chunks of time in which to do them. And when the time seems as if other items suddenly become important.

I kept my medical appointments and massage therapy appointment. Two of these involve driving distances to keep. Because the weather turned towards bitter cold, I was a little apprehensive of black ice on the apprehension borne out by the many fender benders left littered behind on the highways.

I couldn't seem to settle on the rest of the list. Wandering from pillar to post, I couldn't grasp the strength of determination to tackle the rest of it. Things like cleaning out closets and cupboards, wherein I can find nothing at the moment...did not hold my attention.

And you wouldn't want to know what my office looks like...dusty papers stacked in piles which had some significance at some point, and very little now. Each time I begin to tidy...I notice an object that takes me off to the past entirely.

This time that object turned out to be Grampa's magnifying glass. I noticed how dusty it was, cleaned it...and then spent the next hour looking at items through the lens, towards a different reality. Objects are much more complex than they appear to be, way up close.

Back I went to the office, after following the wee detour to the side, my back straight...determined energy propelling me back to the dusty papers.

But oh! I just had a thought...and I write instead. A few hours go by this way.

The other morning, taking the refuse container to the curb for pickup by the Town crew and placing the items for the Canadian Diabetes Association on the other side of the house, making sure I didn't mix-up the two bags...I couldn't help notice the heavy frost that blanketed the yard.

It was very early; Sun had not yet arisen. It was that time of the morning where the edge of daylight is still only a hint in the East. But Moon still shone, almost full, giving the garden figures a ghostly sparkle. It was cold!

And it was time for a walk. I bundled up, considered taking the dogs, and pushed down the guilt I felt...I didn't know for sure whether I could handle both of them, especially with every dog walker in Qualicum Beach out at the same time.

I walked, this time, towards the Forest, instead of towards Ocean, my usual walk. I wanted to see the rays of Sun pouring through the tall canopy of Trees, when he arose. I wanted to see the Mist that blanketed the soccer playing pitch catch those rays and disperse in ghostly little clumps.

But most of all, I wanted to talk with the Trees...I needed to hear their collective wisdom, as a group. These age-old Trees give a comfort to me I have found nowhere else. Forests, with their silent ability to hold boundless life, have experienced Spirit.

It is still. The hush of the distant highway filters down to me through the cold, silent, coming Dawn. It is with a sense of coming home that I find the path into the Forest, into the comforting energy of the mighty Trees that surround me.

My steps are silent; the path is covered in bark mulch and cast-off needles. I walk briskly; for me, these new shoes work well. Especially when it is this cold, and my usual meander does not warm me.

I touch the trunks of Trees close to the path, I run my fingers over the Moss-covered nurse Logs that lie everywhere, giving life to all manner of beings. I notice the Snowberries are prolific this year, and take a few berries, placing them in my pocket for planting in the garden. They've always been a favourite; when I was a child we would pick them and pop them on a hard surface. The one with the loudest pop was the winner. It amused us for days, until there were few berries left on the bushes, only the small, hard ones.

I will plant these berries to make up for my innocent youth, when I actually destroyed them.

I find one of the benches empty, as I come to a fork in the path. This would be a good place to watch what the rays of Sun will illuminate, and so I sit. It is good to rest, I have walked farther than I have for many months at one time, and I want to hear the quiet of the Forest. I want to hear the awakening movements in the little glade I am in. I sit with my eyes closed, feeling and scanning the minute sounds around me by my hearing.

In the stillness, there is so much noise. The crunch of a Leaf, Bird song, the sound of wings beating the air, a Seagull's harsh cry, the repetitive voice of Eagle, the chittering of Squirrels. It's the large branches breaking that makes me open my is just Dawn, after all, and wildlife is abundant here...but I see nothing. I try squinting, focusing on the light and dark, softening edges...using all the observation tools I know, but still only hearing the breaking branches, the sound receding in the distance.

While my eyes were closed, Sun broke the edge. The Forest was now bathed in the warmest crimson glow you can imagine....almost tinting some Trees bright red. I knew the Sunrise itself must be spectacular, yet I lingered inside the huddle of Trees. There was beauty here, as well.

The damp, mushroomy scent of a West Coast Rain Forest filled my nostrils. Steam rose from the Moss logs, as Sun nudged it with a long, vermilion fingertip, warming the surface and melting the Frost. Rustling in the underbrush became more prevalent; instead of sleepy chirps here and there, the Forest burst into a full greeting to Sun, in an instant leaving the stillness behind.

I watch the rays of Sun turning all things a golden red, every object reflecting Sun's wakeup call. People walking the path looked as if they had bathed in red-gold paint. The rays touched the bark of the Trees, illuminating the craggy runnels, highlighting the frost-covered old Spider Webs left from last Summer. The leashed Dogs' eyes shone golden, as they frolicked beside their owners, feeling the anticipation of a sunny day.

I am asked, over and over, if I have ever seen a more spectacular Sunrise. People's voices carry a gladness that is palpable over this gift from Mother Nature.

I feel my body's call to move my bones. The cold can stiffen me up for hours...exercise is the answer, and so I heed the call. I follow the circle on the pathway in the Forest, and come out near the Skateboarding Park, cold and forlorn at this early hour of the morning. Only the graffiti shouts loudly to the coming day.

But the soccer pitch still has low-lying Mist on it, tinged pink by the Sun's awesome arrival. As I walk, I watch the Mist disperse, clinging to the fence and goal posts, holding on in little pockets over the field.

I walk home, greeting Nate and Lucky at the door. They subject me to vigorous sniffing; there have been other Dogs around me, and they need to know who they were.

A cup of coffee in hand, I wander to the office, intending to clean...but instead, I allow myself to be distracted, and read the posts entered on Kilroy's blog carnival at Blog Village...finding myself entertained instead.

And then, I make a very large pot of Greens...Kale and Collards, mixed. It is enough to feed me for days, this mess of Greens. I'll eat it over rice or potatoes or just gets better as time passes.

Perhaps it will give me the strength to tackle my office.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hello, Feet!

All my life, I've taken my feet for granted. Oh, sure...they would clamour for attention every once in awhile, with ills other than trimming toenails.

There was the time I had a plantar's wart, which grew huge before I summoned the courage to have it cared for.

There were the numerous operations on my Big toes, with the nails finally being removed.

Each time these things were dealt with, I marvelled at how much I missed my feet, and their usual good health. But the wart and the toes...once those maladies healed, I went back to mostly ignoring my feet, swiping moisturizer over them after a shower.

When I look back, I notice the ability to be able to wear almost any shoe in my size decreased over the years. It happened so slowly, I was unaware...and continued to buy shoes that gave no support, that fit oddly...that had high heels.

I was unable to join the running shoe people. Every time I tried to wear those shoes everybody told me were good for my feet, I would trip. At times, I would lose my balance entirely, finding myself sprawled on the ground, wondering what had happened. I was sure this odd behaviour was unique to myself; nobody else ever commented on their inability to wear sneakers.

It turns out, however, there are many like me. All I know is, I feel clumsy and awkward in the ordinary styled sneaker; less so with leather walking shoes.

In my fifties, I learned to buy appropriate for walking, shoes for hiking, shoes for a night out. They became more sensible over the years...heels became lower and lower, although I still loved a bit of a heel. They were all leather, and mostly brown or black. My shoes were alike in style, a wide toe with good arch support.

My feet were beginning to be more prominent in my life. I have Arthritis, Osteo and Rheumatoid, and suddenly the one part of my body that had rarely given me problems, did.

Now they hurt, sometimes with a screeching pain that almost brings me to my knees. Alright, I told my feet, alright, I give...I will search out a Podiatrist. Perhaps something could be done.

I had gone to the Pharmacy to buy specialty socks, the kind that have padding under the toes and heels. The lady there gave me a brochure from a Podiatrist, and I called for an appointment. I was asked to bring all my shoes.

I wondered if I should hire a truck.

I sat in a wonderful chair, one that supported every part of my body, and watched the Doctor examine my feet and my shoes. There were a pair in the huge bag I brought that I had never been able to wear; I loved them, and had always wondered why. The Doctor said they were the one pair that were totally wrong for my feet, and completely different from the rest. Had I not noticed?

Obviously not, since those shoes cost me a small fortune...and I paid fairly happily. They hurt everytime I tried to wear them, however. The Doctor told me there were C feet and D feet. These shoes were the opposite of what I required.

I was so enthralled about the idea of C and D feet, I never caught what she said mine were. And quite frankly, I can't tell by looking at them what they might be, since they tend to swell and change entirely.

Things progressed quickly after this.

She sent me into the World of Orthotics, into previously unknown territory.

After some x-rays, the Doctor wrapped my feet with a quick drying plaster and took an inverse impression of them. They would be sent to a lab, where corrections would be calculated and orthotics would be made. These would be sent back to my Doctor, who would fine tune any adjustments that would be required. I was told to expect my new orthotics in perhaps a week.

A few days went by. I began to trudge around shoe stores, now looking for the words ortho and orthopaedic and orthotics on the windows of the shops.

If someone had asked me, I would have told them there was not one pair of shoes I could bring myself to pay me, they looked like the shoes my grandma once wore.

As, indeed, they were. And the cost was as dear as any shoe I had ever bought.

I learned, first of all, that the insole must be removable. There went my idea of just placing my new orthotics (which I didn't have yet) into the shoes I already had...

Once the orthotics arrived, after paying a large amount of lucre, I paid a visit to a training shoe store, to appease my doctor. She had advised that I may not get the heel support I required in leather shoes, and to try the running shoes, at least...instead of dismissing them out of hand, as I was inclined to do.

There were some strange shoes in that store.

I found myself trying to walk, inside the store, in shoes I would swear were skateboarding shoes. I imagined myself on uneven ground, and shuddered. The resulting injuries would not be pretty.

The people there told me they had never seen an orthotic with as high a heel, as were on mine. Since I didn't know an orthotic device from an insole, I couldn't give any advice to the salespeople. I was floundering as much as these so-called experts.

After trying on every shoe that would fit the orthotics I had, even the luridly coloured ones...the ones I shuddered at, wondering what I could wear that would incorporate these shoes...I left the store, sweaty, sore and disheartened.

The next store was one where I had bought shoes on a regular basis. I had not noticed their orthopaedic section previously, when I still bought what I considered fashionable, yet comfortable footwear.

But the section was there. The saleslady picked out the shoe that would fit, immediately, and said it was possibly the only shoe they had that would. I was astounded, being prepared for another session where I would have to explain my whole history, before a shoe was found.

I asked for brown. Magically, she fit the orthotics into the shoe, and fit the shoe onto my foot.

I don't have the words to describe how wonderful the shoes felt on my tired and swollen foot. It was sheer heaven.

I walked through the store, checking out their inventory of the Autumn season's new footwear. I heard my saleslady behind me...Don't even look, she said. Don't even.

Ruefully, it finally dawned on me. I had better like comfort more than looks, at this stage in my life. Those wonderful, little boots over on that pedestal, just what I would have at one time loved to own...those little boots were history. If I was to move forward, in my fight to stay mobile, I was limiting myself by even dreaming this shoe scenario could be different.

Finally, after more than half a century of ignoring my feet and their needs, I said hello to them...and decided I would find out what feet are all about.

It's a new journey. I will have to go back to my Doctor; she will have to make adjustments to the orthotics, I will have to work my way into wearing my special shoes all the time. It helps when my footwear is now so comfortable. And the shoes I bought are very similar to a favourite pair of hiking boots I once owned in the seventies.

I have already discovered the alignment of my body is changing, as I stand properly. My posture has changed for the better. At night, I am in some pain, but it is the kind of muscular pain that occurs after a therapeutic massage...the kind that tells me my muscles are finding where they are meant to be, once again.

And wonder of wonders, I gained a couple of inches in height. For a short person, who suddenly can easily reach items once out of reach...this is a miracle.

Shoes are not all about looks, you know.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Family Wisdom

I've been reading many books, lately, that try to describe what Wisdom is. It seems to be a recurring theme, in my choices.

I use the Serenity Prayer almost every day. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."
It is the Wisdom part that I have trouble with, at times.

All I know is that I know nothing
." ― Socrates

So, this morning, I looked up the study of Wisdom. I found an article on Wisdom written in February of 2004. I discovered the study of Wisdom is sometimes called Sophology. And I read the more Wisdom one thinks one has, the less one really does.

"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom."...Gandhi

I discovered there is a lot of differences in the study of Wisdom. There are religious traditions, there is folk wisdom, there is over-the-fence type wisdom, and there is kitchen table wisdom.

Over-the-fence wisdom seems to deal mainly with gardening; there are also references to philosophical discussions about any subject neighbours wish to discourse upon. Folk Wisdom...well, these are homilies which are familiar to anyone who grew up with families that used them. For instance..."Red sky in the morning, sailors' take warning; Red sky at night, sailors' delight."

There are many such. I discovered that these sayings don't necessarily translate well into English from another language. I remember a lot of these German sayings from my youth; they made perfect sense to me when I was still thinking in the German language, still bound by the German culture; now some of these are just odd.

And yet...there is tradition in these folk sayings. People relate to them. They mean something, something that has been handed down through the ages. I know I don't use folk sayings when I talk with my family; it has been lost to me, this art of having a wise saying right at my fingertips. A saying that would fit any situation with equanimity.

The elder generation committed these folk Wisdoms to memory; I don't remember doing the same.

My favourite way to hand down familial Wisdom is that which is discussed around the family kitchen table. This, to me, is kitchen table Wisdom. This is where my family heard the woes and joys that made up a day; here is where we solved and celebrated them. Here is where we shared and listened.

We still do this tradition, my granddaughter, my daughter and I. One day Graydon, too, will be included, when he is old enough to voice his thoughts and opinions. Even now, his opinions are definitely heard!

On Wednesdays, I travel to my daughter's home, early in the morning. Early enough to visit with my granddaughter for almost an hour, before I drive her to school. And then, I go back and watch my daughter and her son go through their morning routine. It is a highlight of my week; this opportunity to share Wisdom which has been given to me for a relatively short period of time. I intend to use it to the utmost.

It will be over when my daughter returns to teaching, after maternity leave. We will have to be more creative, at this point, to find time to touch each other's Spirit.

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." ― Plato

Our time together will have to be quality time; the telephone and the computer will be used to continue to share stories. These are the backbone of family heritage...these words we share are important. Regardless of circumstances, we must continue to make time to share the joys and sorrows.

"Certain qualities associated with wisdom recur in the academic literature: a clear-eyed view of human nature and the human predicament; emotional resiliency and the ability to cope in the face of adversity; an openness to other possibilities; forgiveness; humility; and a knack for learning from lifetime experiences." The Older-and-Wiser Hypothesis by Stephan S. Hall

Those life time experiences Mr. Hall mentions in the above quotation are the ones that build around the kitchen table. Sometimes, I feel as if I am floundering, once again going into my head alone. And on Wednesdays, my daughter will take the tangled knots, and straighten them out for me. Wisdom does not only belong to the elders.

Mr. Hall, in his essay in the New York Times, says it is easier to define what Wisdom isn't, rather than what it is. He writes that psychologists, after thirty years of the study of Wisdom, still don't agree on an answer. But he gives a very good account of the beginning and continuing study of Wisdom and why it is essential to the future of society.

Where would I be without the Wisdom contained in the family stories? The stories of experiences in the family and how they were handled, as messy as the telling might be, gives enormous connection to each other. By sharing and questioning, being open to answers, choices become more apparent.

Forgiveness, then, follows from the discussion of the subject, the questions that are answered...the tears that are shed. There is Wisdom in the shared knowledge of the experiences of each other, in similar situations.

Around the kitchen table... this is where family Wisdom grows.

As for the study of Wisdom? Well, as Stephen Hall so aptly writes, the journey may be as enlightening as the destination.

And at the end of all my research, what Wisdom is, and how I learn it, is still a mystery.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hawks and Gardens

After a few nights of Frost making his hoary appearance, what was left of the garden requires some tender care. It's time to put the garden to bed.

I didn't buy any bulbs this year; perhaps I still have time. The later I put them in the beds, however, the later in the season blooms appear. Last year, I placed a few leftover Daffodil bulbs in the ground in February. They bloomed in July...pretty, but long past the time when their compatriots were singing Spring's song.

But what a beautiful day it was yesterday! Sun shone in a brilliant blue bowl. Leaves glowed golden against that heartbreakingly blue backdrop. It felt very spiritual; it was as if I was being visited by Spirits, who, as they sat on branches, lit the whole Tree with their golden light.

I rake leaves. These leaves look like jewels spilling out of a treasure chest, so bright with their Autumn plumage, it seems a shame to rake them into piles. But I need a blanket around some plants this year; I need the nourishment Leaf mulch applies to the soil. And the soil will also benefit from the Earthworms that will proliferate, as the Leaves break down.

It is rhythmic, raking...and as I go, I meditate...letting free flowing thoughts drift through my mind. Regular raking and Bird song, the crackle of the dry Leaves, the distant sound of a Soccer game in progress at the Park, with a deep grounding in the Earth, my feet planted firmly in the wet was what my Heart needed...

A comforting blanket of Leaves, one that will restore and balance me.

I hear the chittering of our newest resident...Squirrel. It seems to me his raison d'etre is to drive the Dogs into a frenzy. I can hear him laugh at them, way down on the ground, leaping and barking, trying so hard to reach this terrible threat to our safety.

I continue raking; the Dogs are easily worn out, as maturity finds its way into their being, and will soon resume dozing in Sun's warmth...still palpable, even in November.

I know I will have to rake again; there are many Leaves still clinging to branches, awaiting the arrival of another Wind Storm.

And so, after the beds are covered, I drag a few branches, trimmed from the Trees, out to be picked up by the Town's chipping crew. As I do, I notice, as any Gardener will, another chore that requires doing...and another...and oh, yes, over there!

But I take time out, to visualize and plan the new fence enclosure we are thinking of attempting some time soon. We will continue the fence line and enclose the garden shed and the recycling shed, with entry by large gates Graham is planning to build. It will give us much more space.

And much more room to garden.

There will be a Fruit tree...and perhaps a Nut tree, over there by the Hawthorn. I'm sure Squirrel would approve of that! And I plan to grow Sunflowers all along the fence line, which will give them support, as they nod their leonine golden heads at passersby.

I wander to where four potted plants have endured a Winter and a Summer, growing roots, becoming strong enough to take on the Rocky, Clay and Sand mixture of the top part of the garden.

I have promised them a home this Autumn. But I know the soil here is hard, unforgiving. I will have to amend it, with some sea soil I have left. And yet...these youngsters will have a difficult time of it, with their roots fighting Rock and Clay.

I have time to ponder whether I can even dig these holes. I may need a pick...and another pair of hands, another body.

I sense, rather than see, another presence with me, as I walk to where I left the shovel. And then the visiting vibrations become too strong to ignore...and I turn to see Hawk staring at me from the Berry structure.

He was young and curious. I held my breath...he was not far from me...I wanted to look at him, this youngster, as long as possible. He was very interested in me, as still takes me aback as I discover animals are just as curious about humans as we are in them.

The staring match ended as he flew towards the forested area, and I was left smiling to myself. Hawk has only begun to show up with consistent regularity during the last few years. I have always held these Birds in awe; it is a comfort to have them with me.

As I begin to dig, scraping at the Rocks and scant Soil with my shovel, I hear a strange Bird out of the ordinary Bird call. I lift my head, and there...just above me, on a utility wire, sits another Hawk.

And this one is a fully fledged adult...a Red Tail.

There are no mistakes, in this Universe, and so I stopped and leaned on my shovel, looking at his beauty, drinking in his Energy. His piercing gaze skimmed over me, his head never still, yet intuitively, I knew that he was aware of every minute particle of energy surrounding him.

He flies closer, still...this time to the top of the Ivy Tree. Again that piercing, rasping cry. I tell him...I realize you are King, master of your domain. I will not harm you.

Again his call. I do not understand birdspeak. I struggle, wanting to reassure him, not knowing how other than to send him pictures. I am not prepared for the pictures he sends back to me.

He shows me his habitat, with painfully clear acumen. I see forested areas, with logging cuts, with the Forest floor littered with logs and branches. In a split second, I understand he is showing me the desecration of his area...the area in which he usually resides. Now he lives here, he tells me, his range now shortened to the parkland in the Town.

The moment passes. I continue to stare at him, as he stares far off, into the distance. His voice...his unmistakable voice, one which Hawks usually use in flight, once again calling...and then he flies off, his mighty wings beating the Air.

My head spins, now. I sit on the steps, contemplating the visit. How unusual to see two Hawks, in a single day, I think. I muse over the visions I received...not so strange, when I see wildlife out of their element. What was unusual was the rapidity and the clarity of the pictures he sent.

Taking a deep breath, I continue to dig, scrabbling until I have holes deep enough to shelter the roots of these small bushes...Forsythia, Butterfly Bush, and Viburnum. They will shelter the smaller Birds, the ones that usually hover close to me as I garden...hoping for a Worm or two.

The plants are in, cozy and warm within the shelter of the Snake fence. I pick up my shovel, the pots that held the plants, and take a final look. My eyes are drawn once again to the top of the Ivy Tree, from where Hawk shared his message with me.

It is late afternoon now, with long shadows appearing. It is the kind of afternoon where a morning spent in raking leaves, cleaning garden beds, dreaming and planning a new Season, and communing with Hawks can leave me spent and satisfied.

It is the kind of day where raking ordinary fallen Leaves, tinted with magical colours, opens the door to a whole other World.

One in which Hawks reside, and Squirrels reign and Birds are Kings.