Arrival of Darkness & The Hibernating Bear

Oregon coast.

October started off ridiculously glorious, almost alarmingly glorious, here in my city. Bright warm days, golden sun, sun glasses, crop tops and shorts still an option. Warm weekends spent in debaucherous revelry were snatched away from me too quickly. But, all good and beautiful things do inevitably come to an end.

The rains came alright though, they came just fine. When the rains don't come, or they're late it worries me. Mt. Hood sat all greyish for weeks... and then boom! The next day he was covered in a white blanket. It poured heavy those last few weeks of October and through this early November. A second spring as I like to call it. Everything becomes green again after the dryness of summer, moisture loving plants come back to life...

And then darkness descends. 4pm sunsets, living in a perpetual state of gloaming and artificial light when it's too dark too see in your home. I am exalted in the sun, it gives me a joy I can't describe. But, it's an odd comfort this season and despite my moaning and groaning, I take full advantage of what it has to offer: incubation, hibernation, introspection.

Wildwood and bone reading.

The Bear has been a figure in my dreams, in my divination, in the ashes of burned candles and wax. The mother with her offspring lurks in the forests of my dreamscapes... I stopped for a moment in a book store not too long ago, to take a peek into Ted Andrews book Animal Speak. He wrote of how the female bear goes to her den for the winter, the seed that she carries is nurtured in the darkness and in the spring, she emerges proudly with what she cultivated in incubation. This is what Bear is encouraging me to do, I believe. I listen.

My den is outfitted, my work has presented itself to me and I shall begin. Through dreams, through trance and speaking with spirit. The work never ends and it is always beginning.

Tiniest Skull & Bushtit Chatter.

A few weeks ago I found the tiny mangled body of a bird outside of our stoop. I imagine a cat must have gotten it, or it died of natural causes. I picked it up and placed it between my althaea and mugwort plants. Today, while examining my mugwort for upcoming full moon cutting, I noticed the little birds body was still there. I was surprised it didn't disappear by scavenging racoons and neighborhood cats that prowl our yard. It's little skull was sticking up neatly out of the dirt, well cleaned by nature.

This tiny skull belongs to the bushtit. It's the smallest bird in North America by weight, right next to the hummingbird. His little skull is smaller than the tip of my finger joint! I feel pretty lucky to have such a curio.

Birds hold a very special place in my heart, thanks to my wonderful grandmother who subscribed me to Birds and Blooms when I was about 10 years old. This imbedded in me a deep love of bird watching. Anytime I heard a call or saw a bird I couldn't recognize, I'd go on a hunt for information to learn all I could about its range and habits. I wanted so badly to see Cedar Waxwings when I was young, it wasn't until I was crossing a bridge in Iowa City, Iowa at age 22 that I suddenly realized I was surrounded by a huge flock of them! And I saw them for the first time in my life. If you ask my partner, I was ridiculously excited. Pretty sure bystanders thought I was crazy.

Depending on the species, birds are messengers, tricksters, symbols of purity and love. Bushtits to me, are the embodiment of joy, thriftiness, tranquility and a cohesive family. They often travel in large groups tree to tree combing for insects. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll encounter a massive flock of them while walking through the forest. One moment it'll be quiet, and the next you'll be surrounded by what feel like millions of the tiniest fluff balls. No matter when or where you spot them, they are merrily chirping away paying no mind to who's watching them. If you're still enough, they will let you get remarkably close to them while they're foraging. They have the brightest eyes and most content and happy expression.

Birding adventures are a constant. My current hope, is to find out who it is that makes this eerie trilling sound deep in the forests. I hear this call only in summer and I've never seen the culprit. With some binoculars and luck, maybe I'll find out.

Other birdy goodness: The Secret Bird Society by Candlesmoke Chapel.