Soul Abundance

11-19-2014 | Lindsay

The trees are beginning to unveil their skeletal frames, releasing leaves of truest hue to carpet the forest floor. Autumn is in middle age, and while bursts of scarlet and amber still explode in the woods, for the most part the trees stand dark and airy, branches crossed and twining against the blue and pewter sky.

Though I was not on the mountain last weekend, here is what I know. The air was chill and blustery under a waxing moon, and a small group of adults and little children let their imaginations run while the borders between realms of seen and unseen grew thin. In my absence, an altar materialized in my living room, laden with photos of loved ones and wise ones lost to us now, at least to the hard edges of this world. It was graced with delicate traditional decorations of the Mexican heartland, and all awaited the feast of favorite foods of the honored ones. Meanwhile, on this eve and morn of All Souls, there appeared beings, a small, pink fairy and bright lady bug; a peapod, a miniature fire fighter and a tiny, gentle dragon; and some larger ones: a frog, a smiling witch, a painter, and Mr. Rogers himself. A giggling procession, visiting each dwelling, with sweets and treats for each, watched by owls in the deep, encircling forest.

Meanwhile the creatures and plants continue preparations for their season of rest. It is the time of letting go, of mystery and transformation. Some have left, gone to other homes for a time; and some have come, the purple finches, for example, with their magenta and soft gray plumage.

The week before, we hosted a retreat led by Jim and Cheryl, which presented the possibility of creating ritual and ceremony as a way to "remember to remember" the truest part of ourselves and the world to which we belong. We spent time alone in the woods, walking the leaf-mulched trails, resting on rocks, pondering webs, crossing stony creek beds, watching birds; then sitting round a flickering bonfire bringing tales of encounter and discovery, and eventually gathering in the field, warmed by the morning sun, to give thanks.

While tidying up after the retreat, I noticed a little flyer that Jim and Cheryl had left. It was about where they live and had the words "The Simple Gifts Project at Dayspring", above a picture of two energy-efficient solar cottages and a straw-bale greenhouse. The caption had a question which asked in part, "In this time of global climate change how can we live in ways that are light in impact, yet abundant in soul...?"

It's a question that whispers in the wind this time of year, as the light and the borders soften, as we move from All Hallows to the winter solstice, from the Day of the Dead to the ancient stories of a birth and a star, angelic visitations, dreams, and journeys. Soulful abundance indeed, and may we continue to weave our little gatherings, our playful, imaginative selves, our sorrows and sweet tears, and our ever deepening community around and through and within it.