(Belated) Monday at the Movies

This Is a Prayer for Mabon. This Is a Prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for visits, for gratitude, for families.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the deliberate decision to establish connections, to reach out, to take joy in watching others eat.  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for wheat sheaves and pumpkins, for turkey and turnips.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for taking stock, for settling in, for facing the dark.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the courage to say, “There is a place set for you at our table,”* the fire to fight for what we love, the refusal to allow hunger to win.  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for cheeses and ale, for cherries and chestnuts.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for re-establishing balance, for reaching out, for doing more.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the belief that bounty should be shared, that people should be fed, that “only justice can undo a curse.”**  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for squashes and pies, for and rhubarb and roasts.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for the act of sharing, for sitting with guests, for stories by the fire.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

May your Mabon be blessed.  May you continue to Resist.  This is my prayer for you.

Picture found here: https://www.britannica.com/story/thanksgiving-day-in-the-united-states

* A line in The Fifth Sacred Thing.  

**Byron Ballard

What She Would Have Wanted

May the Goddess guard her. May she find her way to the Summerlands. May her friends and family (and may we) know peace.

Our job this morning is the same as it was yesterday morning. Elect Democrats up and down the ballot. Vote as soon as you can. Pick a winnable Senate race and start phone banking, even if that does push you out of your comfort zone. Do it for Ruth.

Picture found here: https://medium.com/axiom-communications/mad-props-to-the-notorious-rbg-75226cfe920

Longing for SOME Semblance of Normalcy

Did you know that September is National Bourbon Heritage Month?

In the Before Times – not just before coronavirus, before TrumPutin – my spouse and I used to celebrate by having a least a little bourbon from our extensive collection every day in September.

Of course, one can no longer do that because one must remain clear-headed in order to resist, fight back, phone bank, text bank, postcard, protest, donate, etc., etc., etc.

Look, I know that one of the contributors to the disastrous 2016 election was that we all got complacent in the Obama years. Demographics were on our side, dontcha know, and we were about to usher in the Progressive Revolution because all the barriers to progress were, to be blunt, dying off.

Yeah, not so much.

Biden was not my first…second…third….fourth….choice. And the pandemic and climate change and racial injustice and a world-wide system of male supremacy and every other bad thing are not going to magically end just because we elect him in November (putting out the power of my positive thoughts into the universe). But I am DESPERATE for at least a few days IN A ROW where every fucking thing isn’t a goddamn disaster.

And I’m hopeful we’ll at least get that, if we can just keep pushing as hard as we can for the next 46 days.

Can’t wait to celebrate our victory and see you on the other side of November 3. I’ll be the one with my feet up in front of the fire, cat on lap, bourbon in hand, listening to Miles Davis, and finally, for at least a few minutes, resting.

Image above is the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which you used to be able to get for about $70 a bottle and now is nearly unavailable and totally unaffordable when you can find it. Sigh. The good old days.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

MidSeptember Potpourri

I’ve been busier than a cat burying poop on a marble floor. Sometimes, when you get too busy, you have to stop and go for a drive through the hills and hollers and that’s what I did yesterday. Like Mary Oliver in the quote below, the land restores me to myself and reminds me that magic is always just around the bend. Hat tip: Between the Realms

“As deep as I ever went into the forest, I came upon an old stone bench, very, very old, and around it a clearing, and beyond that trees taller and older than I had ever seen. Such silence. It really wasn’t so far from a town, but it seemed all the clocks in the world had stopped counting. So it was hard to suppose the usual rules applied. Sometimes there’s only a hint, a possibility. What’s magical, sometimes, has deeper roots than reason. I hope everyone knows that. I sat on the bench, waiting for something. An angel, perhaps. Or dancers with the legs of goats. No, I didn’t see either. But only, I think, because I didn’t stay long enough.” ~ Such Silence by Mary Oliver; from her book, Blue Horses

For no reason at all, I was thinking the other day about how quite a bit of the reading I did in childhood prepared me for the numinous. And, well, I grew up Catholic, so, yeah. But more than the Lives of the Saints, I was thinking of The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, A Wrinkle in Time, almost everything about the Arthurian Myths, and I’m sure a library full of books that I can’t recall at the moment. Did the books seek me out or did I somehow call them to me? Who knows? What I do know is that those books gave me the feeling that it was not only “normal,” but also good to have the kind of experiences that I often had, especially when I was outside, alone with the land.

What kind of books just kept showing up for you? How did they shape you?

In a recent article, Maria Popova says that:

“because language is our primary sieve of perception, our mightiest means of describing what we apprehend and thus comprehending it, words also belong to that which they describe — or, rather, they are the conduit of belonging between us and the world we perceive. As the bryologist and Native American storyteller Robin Wall Kimmerer observed in her poetic meditation on moss, ‘finding the words is another step in learning to see.’”

More here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/06/17/the-lost-words-macfarlane-morris/?fbclid=IwAR0-PiXS6-2kF_IAO-HtsAw5WOgJVMJgpq4M9vhIZksuUGGe9aLaKeo80hA

I think that’s partly the point that I’m trying to think about. How much do the words in the books we happen to read shape us and how much does who we are shape the books we just “happen” to read?

But Popova’s talking about a slightly different subject: the way that, when we lose words for things, those things can disappear. She says, “Losing the words, then, is ceasing to see — a peculiar and pervasive form of blindness that dulls the shimmer of the world, a disability particularly dangerous to the young imagination just learning to apprehend the world through language.”

As children’s dictionaries have been losing words related to nature, some have been planning a counter-coup:

“Troubled by this loss of vital and vitalizing language, MacFarlane teamed up with illustrator and children’s book author Jackie Morris, who had reached out to him to write an introduction for a sort of “wild dictionary” she wanted to create as a counterpoint to Oxford’s erasure. Instead, MacFarlane envisioned something greater.  The Lost Words: A Spell Book (public library) was born — an uncommonly wondrous and beguiling act of resistance to the severance of our relationship with the rest of nature, a rerooting into this living world in which, in the words of the great naturalist John Muir, “when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe,” just as each word is hitched to all words and to the entire web of being.”

My G/Son is getting too old, but I’m going to buy this book for him.

One thing I’m trying to do, here in this new landbase, is to learn the names of things — plants, insects, rocks, places. There was a time when it was fashionable to criticize people who knew the formal or informal names of plants, etc. “Oh, you want to taxonimize everything out of existence. Not everything fits on your neat charts.” And, yes, I get that. But it’s also a form of respect to learn someone’s name. (The old books of Shenandoah wildflowers aren’t enough. There’s been a LOT of invasion since they were written. So I pull out my books, look, and still can’t identify the field of gold down by Croocked Run. I need to find the right app for it.) I’m not gifted at learning names and it takes work for me to learn proper names. I’ve been working all year to make sure I know the names of my neighbors here in this new neighborhood. And not just the human ones.

One harvest I’ll celebrate on Mabon is the harvest of all my new neighbors.

And, while I’m at it, thank you WordPress (and by “thank you” I mean WTF?) for “upgrading” your system so that I now no longer know how to do things that were easy before. No, really. Mrs. Whatsit sent me a link that may help, but why should any of us have to spend our time figuring out a new, bad system?

The trees! The trees! More here: https://getpocket.com/explore/item/never-underestimate-the-intelligence-of-trees?utm_source=fbsynd&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR3sCY-DMYnwF_RJpkpgg4Io3Edu5ynaKnQx-UAfs-cFO7yp_-SKVHSddxg

Picture found here: https://www.christmastreehill.com/6430001.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwkoz7BRBPEiwAeKw3q1e9MPhTMT8rLJaLsQXrK-6U15tx2Dncpy5lZbVnuQR0Eb3xaDyNBxoCHeUQAvD_BwE

(Belated Words for Wednesday)

Autumn

~ T.E. Hulme

A touch of cold in the Autumn night— 
I walked abroad, 
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge 
Like a red-faced farmer. 
I did not stop to speak, but nodded, 
And round about were the wistful stars 
With white faces like town children.

Picture found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/415175659391650730/

Mabon’s Coming

I took a short drive today through apple country.

Apples in the Shenandoah Valley

Picture by the blogger. If you copy, please link back.

Monday at the Movies

You bet your sweet ass.

Almost Mabon

Autumn in the Shenandoah Valley

You can see it in the slant light of late afternoon. I felt it the other day when I was suddenly surrounded by floating golden leaves. I find it in the local deer, now bolder about coming up near the road as they pack on all the winter fat that they can manage. You can tell because people are pulling dead squash plants and finished tomato stalks out of the community garden and sneaking in broccoli, cabbage, winter kale.

It’s almost Mabon. Feast of the harvest. We’ve come to the point on the Wheel of the Year when it’s time to gather in, take stock, figure out how we’re going to get through leaner times. Here, in a time of plague, that entire process is taking on an even greater significance. Are you ready if the supply chain breaks down again?

We’re Witches and a Witch’s job is to turn the Wheel and round and round the Wheel must turn. COVID and all, this is a joyous task and we need to focus, perhaps even more BECAUSE of COVID, on what we’ve planted, nourished, cared for, made, and harvested over the past year.

I’m celebrating my strength. I’ve lived on my own, alone, with almost zero actual human contact, for more than six months. (I only came close to breaking once — when my cell phone AND my internet went down — but a friend lent me a charger and Son Zoomed me back into sanity. Well, as much sanity as is normal for me.) I’m celebrating my little community garden plot and the amazing amount of veg I’ve managed to get from it. (I’m still getting lettuce, jalapeños, fish peppers, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, and deep purple petunias!) I’m celebrating the grassroots group that I’ve helped to build here in a red-but-going-purple bit of the Commonwealth. We’ve grown to be bigger than we ever thought, have written thousands of postcards, made hundreds of phone calls, written lots of letters to the editor of the local paper, Zoomed with several candidates, run Zoom training sessions on how to fill out absentee ballots, set up a website, built a texting platform, organized street captains, and raised tens of thousands of dollars. (Gloria Steinem said that serious opposition signals success and, oh baby, are the local Republicans making clear that we’re successful. Also, you can keep knocking down our signs and I can keep hexing you. I’ve been at this longer than all ya’ll.) And, I’m celebrating the political magic that I do, the daily walks I take, my growing relationship with this particular bit of Earth, and ways that I’ve found to stay in touch long-distance with G/Son.

I find that this year, I’m really looking forward to cooler weather and the chance to shelter in. Maybe it’s because that will help me to not feel quite as bad about being in lockdown. What I know is that, once the election’s over and our grassroots group takes a several-month break (but not too long; this is Virginia and we love voters so much that we have an election every year), once the cold weather shuts down the garden, once it’s time to sit by the fire, drink tea, and read — I’ll be ready. Even if I can’t range too far, I’m looking forward to drives through the Blue Ridge’s famous Fall leaves, to seeing haystacks spring up on neighboring farms, to driving past apple orchards heavy with fruit. I’m looking forward to the cold morning air and the call of Canada geese when I step out onto the porch with my morning coffee.

What are you celebrating in your own life as we move to Mabon? What are you looking forward to?

Picture found here: https://blackburn-inn.com/blog/best-time-to-visit-shenandoah-national-park-for-fall-colors/

And I’m All Out of Vodka

One thing I’ve never liked are those blog posts that say, “Hey, Everybody! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but . . . .”

Voting starts in 9 days in Virginia and I am busier than a set of jumper cables at a country funeral. And I was born to drink vodka and defeat Donald Trump and I’m all out of vodka. So please accept my apologies, in advance, for missed opportunities.

Here’s a lovely film about one of my favorite nature writers.