Thursday, September 16, 2010

back under the giubhas

i've been away from my little cell amongst the pines for a long time.  not too long to do the things i went west to do, but too long for my little hermit soul to really enjoy.  so it is very good to be back, to sit outside my door and listen to the chanting of the pines at evensong.

it has been a week of catching up, so to speak:  visiting my favourite springs and caves; pulling the strange plants that i probably seeded myself in my little garden but which seem much too tall for such a small place; waking early to hear the blackbird speak that morning has broken; and reading about saints and seasons that i missed while wandering in the northwest.

this morning i read tess ward's book the celtic wheel of the year, and i was intrigued that she mentioned something about this time of the year that i always notice, but have never known whether was shared by others.  august always brings a feeling to me of deep nostalgia.  this strikes me as a bit strange, because it is the time of high summer and bright, varied greens.  but it is also the beginning of the harvest. lammas/lughnasadh starts us on the cycle of feasts which climax at the day of the dead/samhain.  as the prayer book burial service begins, "in the middle of life we are in death."  ward has the insight that demeter not only goes looking for persephone, her daughter, but also for the person she once was herself (p. 161-162).  i have come back to my little cell in the pines to find again the same self that wandered for three months, now at home.

although i am happy to have finally accepted that self, the old grey-headed hermit/scholar, it is also the time of the fall ember days, when i must consider how that old hermit is doing.  i find, in the words of what is perhaps the most-quoted poem of the twentieth century, that ". . .the end of all our exploring/will be to arrive where we started/and know the place for the first time."*  always we begin again.

september is the beginning of the orthodox church year.  the gospel readings are stories of our lord's resurrection.  how wonderful to consider that in the midst of death, there is resurrection.  i will spend this afternoon, i think, planting seeds.