the temple of the green sun

a rowdy pack of dogs goads a herd of cows through the rugged woods,
where the cows take asylum in the fallow corn field by our house.
during the weeks they are here they graze the field clear & they open
a pathway down to shelter valley by the creek. here the cows rest
safely beneath the great hemlock tree whom i call mother because
of her broad, thick & wide-stretched open arms that guard & secure
the cool protected cave-like chamber beneath this sentinel tree.

it is a sanctuary for the cows & later, for me, my
haven where i meditate, self-review & become absorbed in
the ancient energies of the mountain, valley & free-flowing
streams of water bordering toward the east & the west of this
secluded nature preserve & branch-cloistered nurturing retreat.

i call the auspicious spacious chamber beneath mother hemlock
the temple of the green sun. sunlight filters through the green hemlock
needles, casting an undersea glow because the branches sweep the
earth around the tree & the feeling is of a sanctified place.
my chair leans against her trunk as sunlight streams in long shifting bands
of swirling dusty light all around & arching high overhead.
for years we commune daily, the mother hemlock & i, in all
kinds of weather, both inside my head & touching on the outer.

then it happens: the plague of wooly adelgids arrives at the
blue ridge mountains & the mother hemlock falls a victim to it.
the invasive insects slowly vampirize the tree, drinking her
juices. her needles fall, branches becoming bare in a few years,
her power & glory sucked away, her dark bones starkly showing.
i am watching a loved one slowly die during these years, for there's
no cure or help for the mother hemlock. we are all powerless
in the face of this fierce invading pestilence that ravages.

the temple of the green sun is gone. it's now a somber graveyard,
a tomb marking the death of a local goddess, & i am but
memorializing her & the peaceful shelter she furnished.
now she is a skeleton, bare & dark against the empty sky.
goodbye, mother hemlock, farewell & my gratitude goes with you.
i also no longer flourish & thrive, though it's better for me
than for you, yet you are always in my memory: teacher, friend
& dear companion for long, wonderful country-time years down the
curvy backroads of the blue ridge mountains of north carolina.

ah Shiva! growing as a tree, You show me blessings & teach me
patience, acceptance & detachment. I thank You for giving this
insight, for showing me You can change form yet ever reappear
as the consummate teacher & companion. You are woven like
a heartening red thread patterned throughout my whole life, revealing
Yourself to be the heart & soul of every blessing & every
challenge, connecting the varied myriad parts as one, having
a single intent. You make of me a better person so that
my personality may serve the world. You show me that i also,
in essence, extend far beyond form, merging myself into You
at deepest core & fundament, eluding words altogether.

You are the dogs, the cows, the hemlock tree, wooly adelgids too.
just because i cannot comprehend the whole pattern does not mean
a thing & i know that fact well! i have taken refuge in You,
Shiva, so let the drama play out; it's beyond my concern now.
all i need is You, my Beloved, & You know that very well:
You have been lighting the way ceaselessly since time & space burst forth.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

the openness of disclosure


Shiva, when You gave me this sadhana of sharing my journey
with You by way of poetry in a blog, it deepened my life.
i thought of wordpress as a platform for creating a webpage.
i did not realize that it is also a community
of people sharing their insights & life events from various
perspectives & interests, yet all with respectful courtesy.

poetry especially fosters this acceptance, for it is
like a finger pointing to something vital & heartfelt, as there
is the openness of disclosure & the freedom to share.

along with this, our culture & society tend to promote
focus on the gender differences between men & women.
in my sadhana on this path of Sanatana Dharma, i'm
detaching from the body-mind identity & sharing as
the observer & witness to the daily drama of this life.

because of this, i did not choose to reveal the body gender.
there have been times when gender has been assumed & i am addressed
as "sir". since i greatly value truth, i did add "wife & mother"
to my bio under the menu choice "this happened: the story".
this is where i look when i read a blog, so this seemed a good place.

Shiva, i find that each level of growth & evolution brings
the deep work of intensifying clarity & compassion.
it's like climbing a mountain, to discover a vast expanse of
mountains & plateaux going on & on into the far distance.

yet it's only the next step that i need to concern myself with.
so i focus on Your companionship, Shiva, holding Your hand,
walking on this path of inner unfoldment, always attending
to the very next step, seeking harmony & rapport with You.

Shiva, You know me by my energy-signature & essence.
i am grateful. the form is not important but the purity
of intention does matter. thank You for this opportunity
to be forthcoming & visible to others in service & gratitude to You.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

we will not stop our singing

i saw the timeworn tumbled stones of a great temple where
once the mother goddess prevailed in peaceful times long gone.
the mountain had another name then. we all had truer
names & spoke in warm clear vowels that blessed the trees leaning
toward us in the sweet communion of celebration.

now our names are clipped short & our words clash & clatter sharp
against the stone, like bullets ricochetting upon the
broken temple walls. the stones weep. i hear them late at night
when the owls call into the darkness that has crept across
the land & over our minds. this night we lean toward the
promise of dawn, toward the morning song of the wood thrush.
the hands of the heart reach out in tender supplication.

like the old scattered temple stones, we wait for another
era, a coming time, a milder season, & we give
new names of soft syllables to the old things. we lift our
hopeful eyes to the mountain top & the sky & sing. we sing.

can You hear us, Shiva? we will not stop our singing, we
will not close up our throats again, but loud & strong we will
ever sing of beauty & wholeness that never ceases
pushing toward the light. hear us, Shiva! we call You now,
laying out the breadcrumbs of our invocation, lighting
the path with our love & urgent need as we voice our song.

the mountain calls out through us to You, Shiva, offering
itself as Your temple in these times that beg our response.
we will build a new temple from these tumbled mother-stones
& sing in calm flowing syllables nestled in silence.

i answered yes

hightop mountain, fletcher NC
i was called by a mountain & i answered yes,
enjoying seventeen sacred years of service
at her living leafy green feet. i answered yes.
she showed me hidden wonders, held me close,
nursed me with her secret sweet flowing cool waters.

the mountain invited her scattered family
to hear the songs i sincerely sang as i walked
her shadowed paths among the tall trees & boulders.
raccoons & bears & bobcats & foxes lived there.
possums & crows & owls, hawks & squirrels--they came
& all listened to me as i sang hymns of praise
to all the gods & holy beings living there.
i answered yes to each & every one, blessed
by nature & higher realms i could not conceive.
i was called by the Divine & i answered yes.

thus we meet again, Shiva, further down the path.
the daughter of the mountain now comes to You.