OF TRASH, TREASURE, AND BLUE MOONS

Trash?

This morning dawns cool and foggy. In the distance, I can just barely make out the call of a rooster and the swooshing sound of morning traffic past our road. The lovely blue moon ushered in changes in our life. Most were expected, yet even in those things we anticipate, the energy that animates them remains dormant until the actual event occurs.

First things first: On the morning of the blue moon, our Indiana house finally closed escrow. The sale carried some burps and tumbles in its path, but it is all done now. Our realtor remarked casually that the new owners wanted to have my cherished bathtub pond hauled away to the dump, please, and told her that they also planned to mow down the garden and remove the planting beds and fencing. This news, so unassumingly relayed to me, hit me like a board across the face. I felt my heart lurch. The ponds and gardens were, to me, the heart and soul of the property. What they were calling trash was my deepest treasure.

My first thought went to the frogs who call that bathtub pond home. Of course, as you can imagine from my previous post, a giant wave of guilt washed over me. Somehow I believe it is all my fault that I didn’t anticipate this disaster, empty the bathtub, and move “my” frogs to safety before we left Bloomington. It is my fault for not thinking to digging up all the perennial garden plants and veggies and hurrying them off to gardeners who would receive them with appreciation and love.

And I feel guilty, too, for harboring a starp stab of resentment toward the new owners. In my subjective and very private universe, it is a crime to mow down food. A crime to remove habitat for our animal—and amphibian—relatives. My eyes narrow into mean slits. I feel the heat of self-righteousness boil in my stomach. And I will tell you truthfully that I wished instantly that our old septic system and old roof might go belly-up for these new owners come winter. I call this nasty thought The Revenge of the Frogs, but it really has nothing to do with the frogs, of course.

Up and coming Fairy Garden

Late afternoon of the blue moon, I walked silently into my newly crafted Fairly Garden, a small wedge of our property that I have filled with containers of flowers and vegetable and a long row of sunflowers. I carried my pipe, and all our many prayers for this moon. At my sides, flanking me, I could feel the magic and the love of She Who Heals and Becomes Her Vision, the two Clan Mothers I am honoring this month.

I set up the pipe and tobacco on an old braided rug in the Fairy Garden. At my feet snaked two wandering vines of cucumber and winter squash. Behind me was the wall of sunflowers.

Many prayers were sent this month. The pipe was overflowing with sacred tobacco, and the brisk, warm breeze that kicked up the moment I sat down in the garden grabbed the sparks from the match and sent the blue smoke up and curling in a thick billow from the bowl of the pipe. As I smoked, I continued praying, watching the breeze change its westerly breath and begin swirling all around me, even ground and skyward. Clearly, all of the spirits of the seven sacred directions showed me their presence and their agreement, catching the smoke and hurling it skyward to Grandfather and Mystery. I smoked for a very long time. The tobacco and the pipe did not want to stop. When they finally completed their last breath, my final prayer was for the healing of my own cranky and vengeful heart.

Garden Tower and tiny, would-be sunflowers in the background

“Daughter,” the spirits whispered on the warm afternoon wind, “Let go. Let go again and again and again. Let go to live. Let go and let change move and do its work. The magic of your forest lives whether you are there or not. The frogs will find new sanctuary. They are not yours to tend, nor to fret about. They have their own soul’s journey. Let go. And let go again. The bile in your stomach hurts no one but you. Bless the new owners of your old house, and reflect on the feelings that blossom in the spirit of blessing.”

What could I do but cry? So I bent over the pipe in tears, asking, begging the spirits to please show themselves to me so that I could find strength and forgiveness in my heart for a world gone mad with human folly and hard-heartedness. Just a tiny sign, I asked. I don’t need lightening bolts. Just a tiny sign.

With that, I carefully wrapped up the pipe and placed it back in the wolf bag that carries it. I went back into the house, my eyes glazed from tears and smoke, and then hurried back into the Fairly Garden to clip some herbs and chard for supper.

Spirit Frog

I have no adequate words for what happened next. It was too sweet, too tender, and too humbling: Spirit, quickly responding to my urgent request. Spirit sending me my tiny sign: Between my outstretched fingers, my hand reaching for a chard leaf, an emerald green peeper frog leaps and lands on a squash leaf next to my thumb. He turns and faces me, and I am so close I can see the brown, hair-thin eye-liner slanting back from his tiny golden eyes. “Frog Queen,” he calls me.

“Let change move and do its work,” spirit had said, and on Saturday afternoon, I let go and let go again as another big change surged through me. On this day, our 5th wedding anniversary, Carter’s son, daughter-in-law, and grandbaby rolled into our driveway with all their belongings plus Toby, the chi-wiener dog, to start their new life in Washington. They were the reason for our move to the Northwest, and now they are here, too, lock, stock, and barrel. Until they find work and a place to live, they will be staying with us in the tiny blue house that is now full to the rafters with people, dogs, and more activity than Carter and I have witnessed in our five years of marriage.

Yesterday evening, I went to the wall of blackberry vines that encircle our property. From the house came the sounds of basketballs bouncing, my granddaughter shouting and giggling, and dogs barking. There at the berry bushes, the sounds seemed far away and the black, heavy berries swayed in silence as I picked and picked. In a house filled with commotion, I am grateful for the silence of the berries, the silence of the trees, the quiet hissing of the pasture grasses as they bend in the evening breeze.

I am grateful for the sound of the one, lone coyote who sang outside my bedroom window late last night. I am grateful for the love of family, and for the new owners of my old house who have enabled me to severe the chord I still held to the past. The enchanted forest is in their hands now, or is it that they are in the hands of the forest? Yes, I think that is how it is, and I am in the hands of the berry bushes, the spirits, and one small, emerald-green frog.

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17 Responses to OF TRASH, TREASURE, AND BLUE MOONS

  1. purrspex says:

    BIG BIG LOVE to you!! I can so relate to this post, Froggy Queen! Muah!

  2. Stella says:

    Susan I so relate to this at the moment. There are so many changes happening in my life. The spirit message to let go resonates so strongly with me. Bless you.

  3. Lulu Miller says:

    I just finished reading your September entry. I was crushed when I read what the new owners were going to do to the property you so loved and nurtured. It so surprises me Susan how people have such wildly different visions of what their ground should look like and provide. The island I live on was once all forest, home to many animals and birds. My neighbors, who has not been nice to me since moving here, has cut down most of the trees on their property. It is so barren and naked. It makes me sad to look over there. I am hoping that when they drained the tub, the new owners will have found the frogs and gently remove them to a safe spot in the forest. And your vege garden — well that is just plain sad. I have moved to an area where people embrace the concept of raising their own fruit and veges. I started this year planting apple, fig, pear and kiwi. Next year, the vege garden. I just love your writing Susan and thank you for sharing.

  4. Lulu Miller says:

    By the way, would love to come and visit after Carter’s family has left. Perhaps in early November or next spring. I love the frog — wish I could post the pic of my green tree frogs. They are so wonderful and their sounds so sooooooothing.

  5. Janey says:

    Thank you Susan, for the poignant reminder of “letting change do its work”. For no matter how often we are asked to do it, it doesn’t seem to get any easier. Well wishes to you and your family in your new home.

  6. Bob Sholis says:

    Susan, an unbelievably inspired account. I have walked those same steps this past year. My treasure was viewed as trash by the folks who bought my old house, and it was hurtful. Thank you for putting words to my pain. I valued the green space, which is now mostly obliterated by what they’ve done to the property, but I, too, have had to let go and redirect to the future. You are so marvelously watchful for the signs God, the universe, mother earth and your animal soulmates out there are sending to you (and to each of us) for a good and peaceful future. Blessings to you and your reunited family.

  7. susana says:

    “…The magic of your forest lives whether you are there or not. The frogs will find new sanctuary. They are not yours to tend, nor to fret about. They have their own soul’s journey… ”
    Wise words!!, I think. Today, after being at a place buying things to help horses who were abused, I returned home reading chapter 6 of “Animals as guides for the souls”, and I thought… Wise words!!! On May 27th, my beautiful dog passed away… These words have given releave to my soul. Thanks Susan and all my blessings in your new journey.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Wow, thanks everyone for your kindred wisdom! I had tears in my eyes writing this blog entry, and tears again, reading all your sweet, supportive words. Bless you all on your own journey of change. It never stops, does it?

  8. kathey says:

    Susan, what a wonderful “wake up and smell the roses” posting you have made! I am feeling so much better after reading your words, having been through my guilt-trippy accusations toward myself for feeling this way and that over how others view the world around us. I can be so out and out judgemental. So….with your help and that of your readers, I turn it all around in a poof of a minute and love’em all. And start to feel lots better for it.

    Enjoy your family’s presence. Such gatherings can be doorways to great happiness

  9. Lisa Gessini says:

    I love it when we can hear the universe/spirits whisper to us. They never speak loudly so we must listen closely.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Lisa, I read that when Custer’s body was found, it seems the indian women had punctured his eardrums so he could hear better in the next life, as he obviously had never learned to hear in this one. Yup, nature spirits often whisper very softly, don’t they? And the world is such a very noisy place. Would that we would all be blessed with better hearing!

  10. Pam Templeton says:

    Susan, you help me so much with your wonderful, wise and insightful words. Your outstretched hands and heart are helping me to let go again and again to the changes in my life in recent years and in the present. Thank you so very much! Love and blessings to you and your loved ones.

  11. Carter says:

    I tell those who will listen that fishing is not about what you catch, but it’s about what you let go.I suppose I say that because I lack the talent to catch fish. But, does that make it any less true?

    When one puts her heart and soul into creating a vision a piece of her is incorporated into the creation. How do we let a piece of us go? Well, that piece must come to the surface to present to us in the form of, perhaps righteous indignation (self righteousness?) so we can confront it. We feel this confrontation in the form of inner turmoil. Once these feelings arise, there is something to release. Susan will never recover the piece of her that went into her creation but she has let the ill feelings go, the lost peace will be fully restored in her new creation. It’s happening now.

    Keep the fish if you like, just don’t keep the frustration at not catching one.

  12. Chris Davis says:

    Such beautiful words, Susan, as only you can write them. Perhaps this was yet another “giveaway” that had to occur, so something even more wondrous could rush in and fill that place in your heart!

  13. Nancy Kelly says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. It is so hard to leave a garden. How I wish I could have bought your house and tended the sacred! The (bathtub) pond is absolutely beautiful.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Nancy, thank you. I wish I could have given you my bathtub pond! I swear, by the grace of spirit, that this spring will see a new bathtub pond wherever we are living! Everyone should have one. They don’t take up much room, and so many animals and plants love them.

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