Archive for the ‘New England’ Category

Digging for the Future   Leave a comment

One of the challenges for contemporary Druids is to reconnect with the land where we live and find old and new paths of harmony to walk on it.

Back in CT for the coming year, we won’t need right away most of the firewood we’ve carefully stacked in VT, except to warm the house during the occasional weekend jaunt back north to check on pipes and windows, and stay over for a night or two.

Seeing woodpiles, our own and others’, makes me realize how they’re among the treasures of the landscape, this long-inhabited place it’s our turn to live in and re-learn.  Energy for the future.  Trees cut locally (to limit  the spread of arboreal pests) mean an opportunity for a new generation to leaf and grow.  Once almost completely deforested in colonial times, both VT and NH are well-treed now.  We get it, our green gold.

And we’ve held on as well, as much of the U.S. has, to the legacy of at least some of the old names and their stories: Ascutney, Memphremagog, Queechee, Maquam, Missisquoi, Sunapee, Ossipee, Winnipesaukee, Monadnock, Merrimack, Nubanusit, Contoocook … and my personal favorite, because my wife tells NH family stories about it, Skatutakee (pronounced skuh-TOO-tuh-kee).  The names evoke for me a landscape of moose and bear, autumn fogs and spring mud, glacially fresh chill air and sky-blessed summer days, maple syrup and heirloom apples, blueberries and squash, small town greens and sheer church spires, seasonal tourist hordes and perfect frigid midwinter stillnesses.  A marvelous locale to be all Druidy in.

But here in CT I’m drawn back into the local landscape too, the names of trees on campus, copper beech (fagus sylvatica) and charter oak and smaller ornamentals we just don’t see in VT.  So I’ve resolved to “meet the locals,” and visit them in all four seasons, as we were reminded at the Gathering to do if we truly want to begin to know them well.  My goal is to learn 25 new trees this year. (I’ll let you know how it goes in a future post.)

Digging for the future is putting down roots, knowing your place — not in the submissive way that the expression is used so often, but literally.  How many of us have passed years of our lives and never known the trees who provide the oxygen we breathe, and shape the land we pass through and live in?  I know it’s many times I’ve ignored them.  But once the trees made themselves known to me, it seemed downright rude not to greet them every time I pass by, to cheer them on, if I’m walking to touch them, to cast my affection abroad, rather than hoard it tight in my heart.  I dig for the future whenever I lay down a layer of my life that will become part of the contours of next year, or five years, ten years on.  Excavation in reverse.  Living fully now helps excavate what’s yet to come, brings it into view, lets it breathe and stretch and begin to grow towards its own good self.  And trees?  Trees were the first Druids.

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Updated 26 Sept., 10:27 pm

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Equinox ’12   Leave a comment

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted for several weeks, I make my apologies. And here are my 48 excuses (give or take a couple who may not be in the picture) … Yes, classes have resumed.  Now I’m back to the 24-7 life of a private boarding school teacher. Below are our girls in special dress, just before the new student dinner with faculty on the evening of move-in day, near the start of term.

I’m also back to being head of house besides, which mostly means, as I tell people who ask, that I’m a glorified janitor and secretary for the dorm. For instance, Sissy came to ask me during second half of study hours this evening for help with a window that was sticking. The temperature’s been dropping every night now into the 40s — good sleeping weather, and it keeps the late summer bugs down.  But the heat doesn’t go on for a few weeks yet.

And Ginger, our head house prefect, told me the dorm juice and soda machine is broken, so I have to track down which office on campus to call tomorrow to request repairs from an outside contractor. When I finally got down to making some notes for this post, the dorm was meeting over Klondike bars and discussing taking up a collection to replace the overused and now defunct dorm microwave.

I like this year’s new girls — some very bright kids, and a healthy dose of self-discipline and perspective among many.  Kate found me coming up the stairs.  She had a deadline of this evening for the student newspaper, and needed to expand her article length, as well as complete a lot of other homework, and she was crying from the stress.  Yet she didn’t lose herself in tears, but wiped them away and was able to answer my questions.  Half an hour late she had a better draft, had found a couple of my suggestions helpful, and had crafted a solid opinion piece on the experience of moving from SoCal casual (southern California, for you non-U.S. types and non-Buffy the Vampire Slayer aficionados) to New England prep.  These are 14- and 15-year-olds.  I couldn’t have done at that age what many of them do.

But the recent event, still bubbling and glowing happily inside me, is OBOD’s East Coast Gathering, which just ended this morning … [Continued in the next post]

Posted 17 September 2012 by adruidway in blessing, Druidry, New England

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