Rake The Ritual [on DR Thursday]

It is that time. The ritual of the green bags. They are green because they are biodegradable, an important detail in the ritual cycle.

The rite unfolds over the course of several weeks. Each household in our tree-lined neighborhood, according to their own special timing announced to them by the trees, shuffles into the fallen leaves with implements of collection or whirring blowing machines. They sculpt the leaves into piles. They scoop the leaves into green bags. They pile the green bags at the curb.

Some prefer to place the bags in a perfect curbside line. Some prefer to stack the bags. Later, an orange truck (our ceremony is punctuated with secondary colors!) rumbles slowly down the street, acolytes jump from the truck and collect the bags.

The communal bags are taken by the orange trucks to a community field where they are stacked high into transformational mounds. Over the winter, over time, the mounds slowly reconstitute. They compost. The green bags dissolve. The contents of the bags compact, heat, and join, becoming vibrant rich soil.

Energy changing form.

There is a matching ritual in the spring. The people, according to their own special timing announced to them by their flower beds, leave their houses and bring shovels to the mounds of soil. They collect buckets and truckloads of the former-leaves-now-earth, return home and dig the new soil into their gardens. The planting marks the beginning of the next cycle. As shovels turn earth, the trees bud, new leaves, future soil, pop green and tender on the branches.

A perfect life cycle. A time honored autumnal observance. The ritual of the green bags.

read Kerri’s blogpost about GREEN BAGS

Meditation, 48x48IN, mixed media

meditation © 2012 david robinson

Roll Easier [on KS Friday]

“I feel like I’ve been writing about fall all week!” she said, “What more do I have to say?”

She took this photograph during a walk around our neighborhood. When we left for Colorado the leaves were just beginning to turn. A week later, when we returned, the ground was a festival of color. The sidewalks beckoned children of all ages to drag their feet through the leaves. Shushing sounds. Instead of dragging her feet, she knelt to get closer. “Lookit!” she gasped, all one word. If appreciation is prayer, then sometimes taking a picture is prayer.

Rather than at new years, the fall is when I find myself making resolutions. My resolutions are rarely about achievements – things that I want – and more of what I desire to let go. What will lighten my spirit-load? I am a wanderer to the core and so much of what I’ve accumulated in life is heavy to carry. Making shushing sounds through the leaves, I know this fall that I will leave behind some friction. I’m dropping some long-held resistance, so I might roll easier in the world.

Fall is for reflection. Fall is for dropping brilliant leaves and making sounds with the crunchy color. Synesthesia. What more is there to say?

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read Kerri’s blog post about FALL

millneck fall/blueprint for my soul © 1997 kerri sherwood

Order Chaos

One panel of a triptych I did for a performance with The Portland Chamber Orchestra. This is, "Prometheus: Resurrection"

One panel of a triptych I did for a performance with The Portland Chamber Orchestra. This is, “Prometheus: Resurrection”

There is order. There is chaos. They are as intimately related as magnetic poles, the pull and push of action. Chaos is pulled into order and order is pulled into chaos, forms are thrown up and pulled down again. Life spins on this axis.

Today during my walk I made certain to step on the leaves. With the assistance of the wind, the trees are releasing leaves in great flurries of color. Orange and yellow and red swirl to the ground and then swirl on the ground, too. The movement is an invitation to step boldly on the carpet of color. I love the sound that it makes, the swirling and the crunching. What was out of reach a few short moments ago is now underfoot. Life is like that.

The wind off the lake was bitter so we turned down a side street and sought protection amidst the houses. It is rare that we don’t, as a Buddhist might say, “Eat the cold,” but today we desired presence to be warm. We scurried home, shuffling our feet through the leaves, and sipped hot apple cider, fingers wrapped around the mug to absorb the heat.

I read recently that the path to realizing our divinity is to accept our human-ness. Trying to be better than we are blinds us to how beautiful we really are. It’s a paradox. Apparently, divinity is not found in perfection but in the messiness of everyday. It is not a fixed state, but moves between the poles, sometimes wearing the mask of order, sometimes arriving in the face of chaos.

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