Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Vulture

The birds and bees have been blessing me lately. Recently I saw another vulture. Actually the first one was an adult Turkey buzzard, which is what we have around here. I have more than once seen a tree FULL of them! The more recent one was a young bird. For one thing, it did not have the red head. It was not an eagle, as it held its wings above its body (like any vulture would) rather than flat horizontal (as any eagle would).

This one showed up as I was in my garden, flew overhead and off to the north. Typical of a vulture, it barely flapped its wings. Yet it soared and dipped and rose again, riding on the thermals. That must be fun!

I feel so blessed by nature, and grateful!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mount Baker

My Dad's name is Dale, if you want to know. He and I went up Mount Baker, known by the natives in the area as Komo Kulshan. You can find the fascinating legend of Komo Kulshan here:

The mountain looked a bit different to me, and I realized I have never been on the mountain at this time of year. At sea level, it is summer (even though it hasn't been very warm!). But on Mt. Baker, it is spring. Snow is melting, but surely not gone. We couldn't go all the way to the top of the highway because there was deep snow. There were people snow shoeing and cross country skiing.

We did, however, go to Nooksack Falls. The native people have a legend about that too, though I cannot tell it. The falls are beautiful anytime, but this was the best experience I have had there. The river is swollen from the snow melt run-off, and the place was full of rainbows.

There is a shallow cave at the bottom of the falls and just inside it, there was a huge rainbow. It was more pronounced than the other rainbows, I suspect because of the contrast to the dark behind it. It was lovely, and a great counterpoint to the last trip my Dad and I made up the mountain.

That was in the deep winter, and the mountain had feet of snow. The trees were decorated with it - so beautiful! As we went up the mountain, a young man waved us down. He and some friends had been back-country skiing down the mountain and hitching rides back up with people headed toward skiing. By the time Dad and I were going up though, there were few to no other cars heading up. We gave him a lift, and got to see the beauty near the top. That too was lovely.

The mountains are important in the shamanic tradition of Peru, in which I have been initiated. We go to the mountain to renew our mesa - a kind of medicine bag. Because this mountain is the nearest to where I live, it is my teacher, and I give it thanks.

Monday, July 5, 2010


A few days ago, I was looking at my garden and thinking about transplanting it to our new location. There was a bee gathering nectar from one of my flowers, and then, to my surprise, I saw a hummingbird fly into my garden and sip from a flower. The hummer left as quickly as it came.

The lovely thing is this: hummingbird is one of the names I have been given by Spirit. Yes, I have several names. One is in Arabic. No I am not an Arab, at least not in this lifetime. I do, however, enjoy Sufi dancing and have a respect for the ancient Islamic tradition. The Arabic name came in the midst of a ceremony more than twenty years ago. I didn't know what language it was until a few years ago, when a friend who knows Arabic told me what it means: A friend of the Great Mystery. Part of the name is a breath.

This is based on the Hermetic tradition, that to name that which is unnameable limits it. So both Judaic and Arabic traditions have the concept of avoiding naming that which encompasses everything and more than we know.

The other name was given to me by a revered elder of the area where I live. The name is in the Coast Salish language group, and means Mountain Goat. The mountain goat is revered by the native people here because it talks directly to Great Spirit.

As I write this I have tears in my eyes. Partly that is because the one who gave me the name was so accurate in recognizing my particular gifts, and because she is no longer with us in a body. I feel quite humble about this responsibility, because that is what a name is. The native people of this area know that well, and when a person is given a name it is a sacred geas.

So.... here's the thing: hummingbird does the impossible in its annual migration, flying across areas where there is no place to stop and eat. You likely already know that hummingbirds need to eat almost constantly because they burn so much energy. How do they manage to do what they cannot do? I don't know.

There is also a South American story that hummingbird flew up to Great Spirit by riding on the back of a Condor, and then flying the rest of the way. So I was told hummingbird is a kind of translation of my names.

You might be aware that hummingbirds are fierce creatures. Reminds me of when I played the role of Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream in high school. There is a speech by one of the characters saying of Hermia: "And though she be but little, she is fierce." Fits!