Here I sit in my spot at the back window, first cup of hot coffee in hand, watching the comings and goings through the back yard. The sun slants in harshly from the southeast, feeding the cherry tomato plants, and freshly mowed lawn. The enormous Tulip Poplar tree – our Guardian Tree – shades a dappled patch of yard that is our sacred ground. There have been so many circles cast there under his protective branches over the years. This leaves an energy signature; life is drawn to it.
I keep a shrine where his trunk meets the circle of earth he holds fast in his roots; wind chimes, seashells, wrought-iron, stone. A brass figure of Saraswati plays her guitar among the petals. The shrine is quiet now, dormant, yet holding the space. I watch in stillness from my perch on the couch, as the wind shifts the rose bushes under my window.
There is a Virginia creeper vine tangling around the rose thorns; a Carolina Anole lizard sunbathes on the chimney bricks, his red throat flaring ‘hello.’ The occasional poplar leaf releases its grip on late summer, and scatters lazily over the grass that was raked just yesterday. I am reminded of the ‘fixed Leo energy’ work of maintenance that is never done.
For these morning meditations, my eyes remain open. Rather than turning inward and downward, I bloom open like the thousand petaled lotus of the crown chakra, with broadly focused outer awareness. This is my favorite form of connection, sideways through the middle world of matter, both beyond and within; this is where witches live…the middle spaces. I dig deeply into the interconnected web, releasing the limiting edges of human expectation. My consciousness flows like water to pool and deepen wherever my eye is pulled.
Guardian tree is refuge to many lives; he is our priest and his congregants fill his arbor. I watch several pairs of cardinals, blue jays, crows, robins. Squirrels chase and play across his wide trunk. I observe the birds hop about, pecking for food around his roots. I’m coming to recognize the new birdie neighbors since we’ve hung the new feeders. I spot the regulars: a mated pair of Robins who are usually here working together, never more than six feet apart, flipping leaves after a rain to see who wriggles up from the dark beneath.After a while, I’m melded in, completely forgetting my body inside the house on the cushions. I am there among the birds. I am with Papa Robin when he scores a big juicy earthworm out of the grass, tugging it from the soil with great effort. I feel his thrill and struggle. Then he hops right over to Mama Robin with the worm squiggling madly, and he offers it directly to her. His posture stretches upward to his full height, his breast puffed proudly as she plucks it from his mouth. As he watches, she throws back her beak and in five, lightning-fast, thrusting gobbles, the worm is wholly consumed.
Satisfaction, victory, pride, satiety courses through us. My whole spirit cheers and is so touched by his generous offer to his mate. Papa Robin is looking at me now, 20 feet away on the other side of this glass window, he’s found me out. He hops toward me, directly between me and his mate. He stands so still now, on-guard, tilting his wee birdie head to look at me askance. Mama Robin has hopped away to keep pecking, but Papa stands between us in the sunlit grass, red breast lifting, eyes me piercing directly.
What does he think of me? I wonder. He spreads his wings to stretch and show me his full, beautiful expanse, but does not fly. He is magnificent, and I’m proud he is my neighbor. I push this loving message toward him and eventually he carefully refolds his wings with a shimmy of his tail.
Remembering the mug in my hand, I take another sip of coffee. It is cold now, so I must have been gone a long while. Papa Robin returns to his search as several more birds join the hunt beneath the Guardian Tree. He is back to work, and so should I.
Pulling my computer into my lap, I begin my own work of the day.