Cloak of Leaves

 We all wear changing cloaks as we walk through life, protecting us from what is not comfortable, hiding vulnerabilities, while also expressing the beauty of how we want to be seen. Only when we are able to stand before friends and loved ones, even our perceived enemies, uncovered without armor, do we reflect the truth of what really lies within.

photo by Deven, Maine Woods

Trees have always been sacred to me. Something about their graceful strength fills my heart with a sense of eternity. Many times have I smoothed my hand over the rough bark just to feel the vibration of their songs echo through my soul.

Winter is here, and I am happy to hibernate for as long as I can while still enjoying the great outdoors. I love this time of quiet solitude, when most people are hidden away in their homes. I try to walk every day, not just for the health of my body, but to be refreshed by the beauty of nature. I have several trees I stop to visit with along the way. They tell me how nice it is to trust the rhythm of our earth, and how tranquil it is to feel the gentle scrolling of passing time, from the earliest of morning rays, into the darkness of setting night.

When I moved here to New England, a lifetime ago, it was in late Autumn. The trees that had been so lush when I visited one summer as a teen, now stood naked and unadorned. Coming from Southern California, I was unused to seeing trees without leaves, and in their starkness I felt such loss.


 A wise friend of mine who has been my spiritual mentor for several decades helped me to see through different eyes. I will always remember the comfort of her words;

This is when they are most beautiful. Each tree stripped down to bare bones, no longer hiding behind a cloak of leaves, revealing their soul essence.

Seeing them this way now brings me such joy. I appreciate my winter walks so much more for being able to view their divinity from my new perspective. I count myself lucky for each and every moment that I get to spend in their healing presence.

photo by Deven, along the beach in Maine

As I saunter through neighborhood streets, and forests far and wide, trees of every size surround me wherever I go. The lines and curves of each branch outline my path, creating sculptures against the sky. I may not always know their names, but they are my dearest companions.

With Spring still many miles up the road, and then suddenly just around the corner, I will be ready when it arrives to enjoy one of my favorite sights: newly sprouted leaves, vivid and bright, magically coloring the canvas of our world. No matter how many times I witness the blooming of creation, I am amazed how miraculous the birth of a leaf can be.

Photo by Math on Pexels.com

Life constantly gives us a chance to clothe ourselves in something brand new, opening our eyes and waking us up to possibilities.  Like the trees we are able to shed what no longer brings substance. Gazing inward, we let go and allow the ever flowing beauty of transformation to begin. Only in the coldness of winter, with our roots digging deep into the earth, are we able to feel the warmth of the sun gently nudging us awake.

Having lost my leaves before the solstice, I will be ready when the light of spring returns to clothe myself once again into something beautifully my own. Vulnerable, yet protected in my bareness, I am grateful for this time of drowsy slumber, knowing my new leafy cloak will fully express the sacredness of all that I have grown into, and will also soon become.  

Trusting, I lift my branches high up to the sun, confident my new leaves will symbolize everything that is right and perfect for me.

In Beauty May We Grow~ Raven 

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How Do I Know You

Is it possible to truly know a person? Emboldened by previous experience and time spent together, we may assume we have a certain understanding for what makes another tick. To be allowed behind granite walls and into the inner sanctum takes an incredible amount of trust and vulnerability between people.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Many of our interactions are held in controlled circumstances through work and educational environments, community, common interests, and social outlets. Because of this we have each created an outside personality. To genuinely know a person, one must first be able to see behind their carefully orchestrated public persona, and into the eyes of their true self. Until then, everything remains a well constructed story.

It’s fascinating to me as human beings how we can assume someone is irrevocably a certain way based on a combination of only what they want us to see (or inadvertently let slip) and our own projected views of who we have decided they must be.

Sometimes, it’s not until those meaningful moments of beauty, conflict, intimacy or even trauma that a chunk of wall can be removed and a piece of our true unvarnished selves becomes revealed. It’s up to us to then take these shiny morsels of truth, and to add them carefully to the puzzle of knowing that we are continually in the process of building.

Photo by Sharon Snider on Pexels.com

I think we want to count on and believe that the people in our lives are unchanging, when in reality, transformation is all there is. Our fundamental truths may define who we are, but even these can shift. Values, morals, personal beliefs, in conjunction with our own extraordinary personalities, are what distinguish us as individuals. And yet, who we are is not written in stone but lightly etched upon the sands of time.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Believing someone to be a specific way doesn’t necessarily mean that they will, now or in the future. Perhaps we won’t ever conform to perceived expectations. So what happens when we stray from our usual path, when we do behave differently. Will we be turned away for being other than imagined. Must we stand within the light of another’s understanding to be everything they dream us to be. Or can we be accepted for all that we are now, and may potentially be in the future?

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

These are the questions that continually rise up in our relationships, one by one, until they can be acknowledged and decided upon in real time. The answers we come up with inevitably bring us closer together or draw us further apart, in either case providing essential insight and personal growth.

It is a miracle to me how anyone can know another, when nothing and no one remains the same. Yet despite all of this, trusting in our hearts will have to be enough. For you to know me, and for me to know you, is an ongoing endeavor. Only in the end can we see its entirety. 

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

We are chameleons of chance and circumstance, our colors changing with each and every sunset.

It is my belief that to know someone is a gift we continually open. In this understanding, perhaps the question is no longer whether we can honestly know a person, but whether we are willing and able to invest the time and energy it takes to do so.

In Peace, Raven

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Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

Two Swans

I woke up early this morning and walked over to my sliding glass door and looked outside. I am blessed to live on a lake, with my bedroom facing the water. My door opens out into my yard, making it easy to escape whenever I want, especially at night when I visit the stars.

view from my lake side door

For any other exit, I would have had to walk right through my daughter’s room, interrupting her dreams. Our home was built in the 50’s and was meant to be a vacation place. When the previous owners decided to live here full time, to make it more habitable, they added on my bedroom, with a half bath, and a great family room overlooking the lake. They nicely built three large windows up high to let the light in. Often I can see the moon at night.

Because of this my house is small, with an interesting layout, which is why I have to walk through another bedroom just to get to mine, but we are very cozy. We can see the water from several rooms, so the peace and beauty of living here makes up for any longings for extra storage, and bigger spaces. I am grateful for all that I have. Living next to a body of water is soothing to my soul, and with the added benefit of being surrounded by wildlife, I find it always healing.

Beavers, snapping, painted and musk turtles, serenading frogs, muskrats, giant carp and other fish, eagles, great blue herons, turkey vultures, crows, and many other creatures, have all become my daily companions.

I frequently find myself with my face pressed against the glass, without any remembrance of how I happened to arrive. My feet seem to know when I need a little peace, and they bring me here often to gaze out.

Even my dog Skadi likes looking out over the water

Many ducks live on our lake, including a new breed that has migrated here from Canada called the Bufflehead. A flock of seagulls hang out with them, as well as the local mergansers and wood ducks. They meander together, a fine feathered community, seemingly without destination, looking for food. Canadian geese are frequent fliers, they live here year around, and are beautiful to observe. I love to watch them fly in overhead only to splash- dive in perfect formation on to the lake, loudly proclaiming their arrival. My winged majestic friends.

This morning when I peered out, two swans were swimming by, I haven’t seen swans on the lake for over a year, maybe longer. Time is a blur since I have become a pandemic hermit. I grabbed my phone and ran barefoot outside in my nightgown. The ground was frozen and rough under my feet, it was 27 degrees.

The swans were singing together, something I had never heard before. Trumpeting softly, taking turns, they welcomed the light of the rising sun, while celebrating their devotion to each other. Swans are known to mate for life (some will say it’s to raise their growing family, but I think it’s more). Nature is our reflection, and I believe we are here to not just coexist, but to learn from each other. Swimming in the same direction, moving in harmony, sharing beauty, enjoying companionship, and trusting our loved ones will remain by our side. That all sounds lovely to me.

Birds of a feather, flock together

In Peace, Raven

Communication

Communication is everything in this world. Nothing would survive without it; families, businesses, relationships, peace, wars, are all forged by what we express, or don’t express to each other. Even our amazing cells speak to one another. It’s incredible to realize our bodies are made up of billions of conversations going on behind the scenes. We truly are a miracle!

Communicating not just our thoughts, but our feelings can sometimes be difficult. Back in the day, people weren’t always encouraged to reveal themselves emotionally, especially if you were male. This led to a number of unhealthy family dynamics, since these very same boys grew up to be our fathers. A woman’s opinion was neither valued nor considered for much of history, and children were expected to be seen and not heard.

Thankfully there has been a shift in our world, and slowly many of these toxic beliefs have fallen to the wayside. Whoever you are, the ability to fully express what is in your mind and heart is powerful on an individual basis, and a crucial component for any healthy relationship.

me, age 5

When I was a little girl of 5 years old, I used to complain of tummy aches. My mother took me to the doctor where we learned I had the beginning symptoms of an ulcer. Throughout my life, starting at a very young age, I internalized my stress. I had no idea what to even name my feelings, let alone how to articulate them.

Being able to resolve a personal conflict is a skill I continually strive to master. I have learned that if I can’t say certain things out loud, at least I can write them down, or show them through music. I have come to a certain awareness in regards to my health and communication. I believe some physical ailments occur from unresolved emotional issues, anxiety, and stress. Because of my belief in Holistic Health *(I wrote a whole page about it, see menu)*I do my best to be introspectively mindful, and to speak up when I need to, so that I may clear my energy and return back to my natural state of happiness.

I think it’s fair to say if you are unable to comfortably communicate with someone because you do not feel emotionally safe with them, then it’s okay to remain quiet. Your words are a gift, and if there is a loss of trust, then nothing more needs to be said, until, or unless you feel otherwise.

Communication can be achieved in many ways, it doesn’t always have to be through words. On a deep level, our spirits commune to each other without us ever being aware. Prayer can be just as effective whether spoken out loud, or quietly felt from within. Even our intentions speak volumes. Interestingly, there are some highly sensitive individuals called Empaths, who have a keen ability to sense what people around them are thinking and feeling. So if you are close to someone like this, then even your silence won’t matter.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In any partnership, friendly or romantic, communicating your thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner are the building blocks to a strong foundation. Purposeful, clear, kind, intimate, and consistent discourse can strengthen bonds and make for a closer connection. If you have love in your heart, then share it. If you are upset, frustrated, thankful, angry, happy, or need to voice something, then just do it. Nothing can be resolved or improved until you bring it forth into the light. Be honest, numbing yourself from your feelings only creates more pain.

Speaking your truth, asking questions, reaching out for help, and expressing from your heart, are essential to your well-being. Your life story is made better by your ability to share it with others. So in whatever way, shape, or form that works best for you, it’s time to express yourself.

In Peace, Raven         

If you have other songs related to this topic, feel free to share! Believe me, I could have filled up this whole post, but I would love to hear from you.

A New Day Will Dawn

And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune Then the piper will lead us to reason And a new day will dawn for those who stand long And the forests will echo with laughter

Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

"And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune                                                 Then the piper will lead us to reason                                                                                And a new day will dawn for those who stand long                                                    And the forests will echo with laughter"
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

The year has come to a close. Everyone is tired, and grieving for all that has been lost. Led Zeppelin has said that Stairway to Heaven is a song about hope, and for whatever reason it has been playing over and over again in my heart.

Happy Beautiful New Year, this is my prayer for you.

I hope for our earth, and each person on it, all creatures great and small, the flora, the fauna, every songbird who sings, every tree, every brook, rock, and root; I hope for all that is sacred, mystical and true; I hope for your family and loves, your circle of friends; I hope for your dreams to be sung, and your memories clear; I hope for moonlight reflections under shiny bright stars; I hope for all those you have lost, that are no longer near; I hope you have peace, and follow your soul; I hope for everything holy, and those you hold close; I hope you can accept what is different from you; I hope for your knowing we are blessed to grow old; I hope for compassion, wisdom and truth; I hope you choose faith and respect above all; I hope you are thankful for the life you’ve been given; I hope for an abundance of healing, wealth, and love; I hope that in unity we will create something new.

We still have time to change the road we are on.

In Peace, Raven

I have been listening to this on repeat for over an hour. I can never get tired of this song!