Huchi-Fuchi, by Kris Waldherr...
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This past week was a whopper, primarily because we in the northeast got walloped with an all-consuming blizzard. About 3 days before the blizzard, my son Gabriel and I were outside at his rabbit hutches getting them ready for foul weather, and we noticed that one of his female rabbits, Soot, was carrying straw and building a nest. We decided to move her from her shared hutch with 3 other females to a private hutch where she could give birth in private. We moved her and waited, but days went by and she didn’t birth any bunnies. I even noticed that she didn’t look pregnant anymore—she was much skinnier.
In the meantime, the Blizzard of 2015 struck. I found myself caring for my son’s rabbits far more than I probably should have. I felt a certain calling to tend to them frequently: replacing frozen water bottles, shoving more hay into their hutches, sweeping 6 inches, then 1 foot, then 2 feet of snow off the tops of their hutches and shoveling it away from the fronts so we could access them. I donned every bit of warm clothing I have and spent an inordinate amount of time tending to the rabbits, giving them extra feed, and cutting cardboard boxes and pressing the cardboard into the fencing of their hutches to create windbreaks. In all this time, Soot didn’t give birth....
I’ve been spending a lot of alone time lately since my work has decided to send me to training an hour and a half away from home. I’m staying there through the week to save on the travel time and gas money. Lacking the responsibility of housework and kids, I felt myself starting to bounce off the walls a bit. The small apartment that I am staying in doesn’t have a TV, nor a radio. Sure, I can listen to Pandora on my phone, as well as search YouTube for songs and videos. Then there is my laptop. I can stream and search using the wifi that is connected to my work’s system. But, I needed to be careful as they review sites that people go on. That limits my searching and researching ability.
The story begins years ago, when I sprained my left ankle, really badly.
The chiropractor suggested I go to the physical therapy supply store and buy a wobble board. The idea was to step side-to-side on this miniature see-saw, a wooden plank perched upon a cylinder, strengthening the tendons in the ankle I had damaged.
Reluctant to pay the high-end price for this gizmo, I stepped into the nearest toy store and found a toy balance board brightly colored in blue and red, complete with a built-in maze game, actually a simple labyrinth.
The Woman's Belly Book describes how labyrinths relate to the body's center, the belly's center:
The labyrinth defines a path into and out from center. As a sacred symbol, it maps a journey from the everyday world to the secret core of existence. It charts a path to the World Navel, the point through which the life force emerges to revitalize the world.
From ancient times, cultures throughout the world from the Arctic to Africa have made labyrinths in a variety of designs. The labyrinth appears on cave walls, stone slabs, grave markers, pottery, coins, and the bellies of clay figurines.... Although many associations accompany the design, in some traditions the labyrinth clearly signifies a woman’s belly. The path through the pattern traces the soul’s return to the womb and its emergence in rebirth.
I recently took my balance board out of its box to exercise my ankles and keep them flexible. Stepping side to side, I tried getting the game's yellow ball from the labyrinth's outer channel into the center. No matter how I tried, I couldn't do it. Swishing as it spun, the ball swung around too fast for me to maneuver it through the narrow gateway into the next inner circle.
So I gave up and just played around with initiating the side-to-side motion with different parts of my body: feet, knees, hips, shoulders. Left, right; left, right.
Left, right; left, right: Initiating the movement with my hips made the motion smooth, almost effortless.
Eventually, I no longer heard the sound of the yellow ball circling around. I looked down and saw the sphere had come to rest in the labyrinth's center. With absolutely no effort on my part.
The world outside is covered with softly drifting snow, nearly two feet deep in places. There is a hush in the air, roads empty, storefronts dark. Lady Winter has us in Her icy grip, and it feels as though She will continue to hold us for ages to come. And yet, I saw a robin yesterday.
As I drove around attending last minute birthday/Super Bowl party tasks, I caught sight of a small brown form flitting over a snow-covered cornfield. My heart leapt as I spied that plump gentleman's crimson waistcoat, so bright against the gray February sky. What joy to see that feathered harbinger of Spring, and on Imbolc eve, no less. It seemed an auspicious omen....
Beannachtaí Féile Imbolg! Beannachtaí Féile Bríde. Blessings of Imbolc! Blessings of Brigid's Feast! At Imbolc we are at the crossroads of the winter, six weeks past winter solstice, six weeks until spring equinox.
The first days of February have been clear, frosty, but the sun has such a seductive heat in Ireland even in February. They say that weather like this augurs more cold, as the Cailleach is yet to release a vice-like grip on the land. If it had been overcast and mild then the springtime was come....
I’ve planted seeds in ritual, at Imbolc before now. Of course if you wanted bulbs, those had to be in ground weeks, if not months ago. There are many things too delicate to put in the soil at this time of year – leafy salad plants and other exotica from warmer climes won’t tolerate the tail end of winter on the UK. There are still heavy frosts, and many plants can’t bear them. Some things won’t be planted until much later in the spring.
In life, as in agriculture when you plant may well depend a lot on what you are planting and when you hope to harvest it. Many projects take years to come to fruition. As an author I find I’m usually seeing the fruits of things I wrote months ago... this February, it’ll be seeds from years back that finally send up shoots. The third volume of Hopeless Maine (that’s the book cover adorning this post) comes out as a webcomic at www.hopelessmaine.com while a book I wrote years ago – Fast food at the centre of the world, finally comes to life as an audio series at www.nerdbong.com. Often we plant things with no idea of whether they will grow, much less when....