Red Flag Warning

I checked the Weather Channel app on my tablet this morning. No real surprise with the forecast. We are in a string of dry, mostly clear, windy days with today’s high rebounding into the 70’s after a weekend of frosty mornings.

The orange warning statement at the top of the page caught my eye. I clicked for more details. We are under a red flag warning.

Say what?

Red flag warnings mean that favorable conditions exist for brush and forest fires. We haven’t had a substantial rain in weeks.

I’m acquainted with them thanks to trips through South Dakota and the Rockies to Washington. I sweat out late summers for Facebook friends in Colorado and California. But around here, in soybean and corn land?

Yep. Even here in soybean and corn land. Last week we had a few drops as a  front sent the temperatures plummeting to frost and freeze ranges, but none of the whole days of steadily falling rain common at this time of year. Today’s bone-dry conditions and winds gusting up to 40 miles per hour do create a risk. While we are blessed with neighbors who know enough not to create burn piles on days like this, it’s the odd spark or carelessly disposed cigarette that could create problems.

Here around the house, there is little to worry about. It has a brick exterior, reducing the risk of it catching. We do have some brush along the property lines and a couple of evergreens that have cracked and twisted to grey abstract sculptures. The grass is still pretty green, though, and could provide a buffer zone if needs must.

So we go about the day. Oakley and I had a pleasant walk this morning, and now it’s time to settle into the quite space and create. I will be monitoring the weather throughout the day, and have the watering can and cell phone ready just in case.

T

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Owls

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(image courtesy of http://thegraphicsfairy.com )

Dream: I’m at some kind of gathering…it’s outdoors. A woman a few years older than me has a tent with several raptors. She has an owl perching on her left hand. She asks if I want to meet the owl. Of course I do. I hold up my left hand, and Owl steps onto it. She’s very lightweight. We touch foreheads, and she (Owl) stays with me for the rest of the dream (which I don’t remember).

I woke up smiling this morning. Owls are a mature woman’s totem, a symbol of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and arts. Could it be that I am finally nearing the end of the ride on the menopausal crazy train? Will my wise flow soon be stored inside? I hope this is a sign of that. I hope that the touch of our foreheads imparted the wisdom of the ages to me, and that when the time comes, I can share it as needed and appropriate.

In the broader world at this time of year, the conversational call of the barn owls punctuate late afternoon walks with Oakley at the forest preserve. They have been kind enough to acknowledge my calls and response, perhaps taken a bit aback by my efforts.

The elongated who-o-o-s are not just a request for identification, but a question to contemplate as the northern world descends into the short days between Halloween and winter Solstice: who am I, really?

More importantly, who do I want to become in this about-to-be written chapter?

At this stage of the game, all I can do is get out of my own way and let myself evolve.

Walking West

A supermoon and an eclipse accompanied the equinox this year, heightening the sense that the veils between the worlds grow thinner by the moment. It is the the quarter of the year’s wheel when the harvest comes in; the time when the leaves turn colors and the grasses grow golden in the low-angled light western light at dusk. Let go, let go, it’s all done, completed, whispers the wind.

It seems as if the last couple of weeks since then have ushered in a lot of letting go. First, the passage of a very old friend’s mother–as in since kindergarten old friend’s mother. Mrs. R. had stepped up as a second mom after my mother’s unexpected death. She was 90, and the matriarch of a large blended clan. Until the last few months, she had been more clear-headed and coherent than many half her age, and burned up Facebook with the best of them. (“Having laser surgery on my eyes today. Asked the doctor if the beams will come out of my butt.”) Mrs. R, if you see this, thanks. I’m sure that she and my mom have the coffee going and are getting caught up.

Then came the call from a shell-shocked close friend whose late 80-something year old parents are engaging in synchronized self destruction. Her mom is in supported living; her dad in hospice. My face froze in the deer-in-headlights position for her.

Yesterday was acupuncture day. There had been a group of elders who had pretty much grown up here in the little town, and treated their weekly treatments as they might going out for coffee or another social event. None of them were there. One had lost his license due to age related problems, another had fallen and broken her arm, the third had another health crisis that prevented him from coming. The community treatment room was entirely too quiet.

And yesterday came news that the husband of another friend is facing a cardiac bypass in the next few days. He has a complicated medical history to begin with, but is going ahead with the surgery despite the risks. He’s tried everything else, and would not be going ahead with it if he didn’t feel that it was warranted.

We wait. We ask the Great Mystery for the best possible outcome. We burn so much incense that the sheriff’s deputies might catch a whiff and show up with a probable cause warrant.

Pause, inhale. Be aware of the cool damp earth supporting my feet, the scent of the incense and the smoke from the piles of pruned branches, fallen leaves, and other plant matter burning to expedite its return to the earth.

Pause, aware that some day, hopefully not for a long time, I will finish the westward walk and step through the veil, reunited with the ones who have gone on before.