Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4491
Age Group: Adult
Posted: November 27th. 2000
Over The Rivers and Through The Woods
Walking through the woods for us is always both a treat and a lesson plan. As Pagans, we are aware of the changes, great and small, which continually reveal the many mysteries within the Web of Life. Wren recalls the many times that she investigated the 'south forty' with her Dad. Under the summer canopy of yellow and white pines, the ground was laid with a plush carpet of needles so thick that even walking side by side, two such travelers made no sound. In the winter months, snowshoe tracks paved the familiar paths now discernable only by an instinct born of familiarity and guided by the occasional twisted tree branch or rock outcropping jutting out from the white and frosty topping of snow. In every season, the lessons are there just waiting for us to discern them.
Northern Hemisphere Pagans are preparing for Yule or the Winter Solstice. Walking through the trees in the crisp and increasingly cold air, Pagans know just why our ancestors didn't write down many spiritual concepts. It is not on the printed page, but in the images of gnarled bare tree limb shapes and the sharp shadows cast by the huddling winter sunlight, that the messages are read. Red partridge berries and evergreen holly branches decorate the white package wrapping over the dormant land. Beneath the many layers of freezing wet-tissue snow lies the gift of future Life. The woods sleep deeply with only the chattering squirrels and calling chick-a-dees to tell us that all is still well with the world. Spring will return and warmth will awaken the sleepers. But for now, it is for us to dream long nights away and gaze sleepily while the woods in the fireplace speak to us in their crackling and sputtering voices of the days gone by.
Wren's dad knew about leaving things behind. When he passed from this realm almost ten years ago, he left behind the things that he treasured the most for his daughter. It was not the antique furniture nor the seemingly irresistible urge to fill up every window in the old farmhouse with the multi-colored wavy-glass bottles that he and she dug up from the forgotten homesteads that once dotted the New England countryside that are his legacy. Bill left behind the wisdom of a lifetime spent observing nature. As a pantheist, he saw within the cycles of the wood, a give and take as natural as the changing seasons that guided him. "Leave some to go to seed for next year," he would chant as fiddlehead fern tips were gathered up for spring salads. "Leave some for the birds." Bill would remind the children crawling up twisted vine wrapped tree trunks for the concord grapes which would stain fingers purple today and become jam for YuleTide giving later.
In the coming commercial frenzy known as the "Yule/Christmas shopping season", we hear Bill's voice still. Don't take it all. Leave something behind for the birds, for the animals, for the children of tomorrow. Whatever gifts you may give this Yule, whatever gifts you may receive this Yule, may they be the kind that not only last, but which also leave something of value behind for the future world yet unborn.
Photo credit: This image was sent in by Meredith (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) "These are photos I took for a photography class project in college. I had termed the project "The Alchemist's Lab" At any rate, I thought you might be interested in them".. Thank YOU Meredith for lending us some of your magick. -- TWV Staff
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