Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year

Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.

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A Soul's Companion

   I grew up in a house surrounded by trees. The backyard maple was a favorite perch for reading the afternoon away when I was a child. Before I climbed I was careful to loop a rope around the branch above me so I could pull a basket of apples and books up after me. The willow tree often found me seeking faeries among her branches, and later, after I had deemed myself too old for tree-climbing, reading or drawing, imagining myself one of the elegant ladies I read about so often in my beloved faerie tales. More and more I would seek the willow, both a source of wonder and magick as the Pagan Path opened before me. My greatest heartbreak at leaving home was that there were no trees near my new apartment.

   Four apartments later, I now have some trees, not many, but enough for the dryad-at-heart to feel satisfied if not happy. A leggy young maple grows against my back steps, towering over a neighboring lilac bush much in the manner my nineteen year old son towers over me. Indeed, in tree years, the maple may very well be his contemporary. The grapevine that coated the back of my building, lush, leafy, gorgeous; the grapevine that grew so prolifically that one of my kitchen windows had a beautiful green screen was torn down earlier this year, a sacrifice to the siding that needed to be replaced. (Probably due to said grapevine. I'm no fool.) She has taken her own back, however. A newer grapevine grown from sturdy roots has wrapped herself around the lower railings and is beginning to wind herself around the maple. Outside my bedroom window grows my favorite of the trees, a crab apple, so close to the building that her branches tap the window every time the breeze sets her dancing or a bird leaps amid her branches.

The crab apple tree has grown as I have: matured, blossoms, bears children as I have. Like me she is a mother: every spring her progeny blossom and grow as mine have, and continue to do. Often I find myself at my window contemplating the edging of a particular leaf or the russet hue of the tiny crab apples as they develop their first blush.

   An ice storm last winter sheared away one of the main branches, leaving the pale inner bark exposed to further ravages. I was sorry for her, and fearful that my tree would sicken and die. How many of us had had to stand mutely by while a friend has fought such a battle? My tree recovered, raising her branches proudly, a protest against the forces of nature, her spirit stronger than I could ever be.

   My silent friend is also a companion of sorts to my cat, who delights in sitting in the window, tail a-twitch, eyeing the birds that light on the branches. More often I find her stretched out, her eyes only half-open, lulled by the susurration of hushing leaves. It is one of my favorite sounds as well. My afternoons off tend to find the cat and I stretched out on the bed, one dozing the other writing, the rustling leaves our only music.

   There is much I can learn from my tree, I realize. Perseverance, fortitude. Acceptance. She does not rail against nature, but lives within it. Storms batter her, illness may strike her, and yet she stands tall, still, impervious to the chaos of the world spinning around her. A model of patience, she does not weep for things that cannot be, or wish time would go by faster. She lives each day as she is meant to, secure in the knowledge that she is doing exactly what she was placed on the earth to do. She does not recognize the confines of her existence: she knows no confines. Her world has no borders, no fences. Her roots go deep, and stretch out as far as she wishes, ever ready to explore new reaches.

   She is Life, sustaining hundreds of dependents, birds, squirrels, insects. She is breath, pouring oxygen into the air that I breathe with every exhalation of her own. What does she know, what does she dream, that I cannot understand? Each day sees her wisdom grow. She knows the secrets of the night, the whispers of the earth, the thoughts and mutterings of birds and animals. She sees the joy of every summer sunrise and confronts death every winter night, and yet she still grows. 

   In the three years I have lived here she has grown taller and more beautiful. She is an inspiration, a mentor of sorts. Each time I look at her I am brought back to myself, away from the ideas and questions swirling around my mind. She teaches me to be still,and in stillness I find wisdom.




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I am a writer and poet living in western Massachusetts. I have a degree in English Lit, with a focus on the nineteenth century, and am working toward a degree in Women's Studies as well. My work has previously appeared in The Pagan Activist, The Pagan Review, GrannyMoon's Morning Feast, and The Montague Reporter. I am currently working on a series of children's books, a novel trilogy, and a poetry manuscript (I simply can't do one thing at a time!). I also have several random fantasy-based short story projects that I attack once in a while.   I am a Dianic Pagan and practice Kitchen Wicca, and am also a Reiki Master. For a glimpse into my own little corner of reality, you can stop in and visit me at Ellie.


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