"why are we here?" i ask Shiva as we stand in the long shadows of the early evening. He has brought us to the field by the old house in the far north carolina mountain countryside where we lived years ago. i miss that rustic lifestyle now, living in a nursing home. Shiva hands me a woven basket. "let's go gather some dhatura flowers for the Shivling," He says. there's a healthy stand of dhatura bushes growing near the end of the field where the mountain begins to rise up to the sun. they are large sturdy plants, some about as tall as my shoulders. the rough, jagged, dark green leaves surround the medium-sized pale lavender trumpet-shaped flowers. there are many lush & glowing flowers standing out palely in the dusky dim light of twilight. the blossoms will bloom throughout the night, & then wilt by morning, repeating the same process each night all through fall, even into the frost. they are hardy survivors, these wild dhatura stramonium bushes. yet the flowers delicately allure, & Shiva loves them to be nearby, these curious ghostly wildflowers, mystical & oddly scented. we carefully remove the trumpet blossoms from the bushes' branches. the plant is strongly green-smelling, definitely a wild scent: nothing is cultivated here! as darkness falls, Shiva & i carry our dhatura flower baskets up to the woods close to the waterfall. we each fill a flask from the waterfall to pour on the chosen stone, which is a tall husky one, & it loves being cleansed & sanctified. we place the dhatura flowers on Shiva's favored stone, which is thrilled, happy indeed, for Shiva Himself is here, placing His own hands on this new Shivling. the stone becomes so filled with healing that miracles of everyday blessing move closer. mist from the waterfall adds a dreamy touch to our worship. it sets a hallowed & blessed mystic mood. we softly begin singing bhajans & mantras, & the raccoons come now to join us because they love our singing. next, a fox & a young bear amble over, & the flying squirrels sail overhead, soon joined by the pair of small warbling owls who grace the cool night with their strange song. Shiva & i sit by the sacred Shiva lingam, which is richly decorated with many dhatura blossoms. moonlight now shines down upon us all, highlighting the beauty of the natural Shiva lingam & its blossoms. the animals are all gathered around us as we sing the ancient praise songs of the holy guardian beings, affirming their on-going magical presence, encouraging them. Shiva gazes over at me & winks. i wink back. "I brought you here," says Shiva finally, "to show you that you have been following me for your whole life without realizing it. you have cherished my things: the wild places, the animals, the mystery of consciousness, the open sky, the mountain you stand upon, the dhatura flowers." Shiva regards me warmly. "you are mine, made of my own true essence. our destinies are entwined." we fall silent & bemused, opening to the timely new awareness now spreading its roots down deep within. the dhatura blossoms keep on releasing their subtle consciousness altering pheromones. Shiva & we, His charges, share communion. the night is young & blessed by Shiva to heal all who yearn for wholeness.