Its nearly pitch black outside. I say nearly, because the light from nearby street-lamps, and the running lights of a nearby neighbor’s overly large Christmas lights display in his front yard bleed a dim haze in the air. The ground is pretty cold to the touch, just around the freezing temperature in the air. I know the ground is somewhat damp with morning dew, since I nearly slipped and busted my ass coming into the backyard. I wasn’t prepared for the difference in surface when I stepped off the concrete of my patio – as small as it is – and my Sonoma boot nearly shot out from underneath me when I took that first step.
I can see the stone circle with my Kokopelli garden statue in the middle of it. A rather serene sight for my eyes. After all, this is the one spot in the entire yard that I enjoy standing. Not quite center, not quite under the big tree in the backyard, and not quite on level ground – the perfect spot in my opinion. Cradling my bag of bird seed under one arm, and my cup of coffee pouring steam into the night like a manic locomotive tearing across the wilderness of the American prairie in another time long forgotten, I quietly step towards my own “perfect garden”.
I set the cup of coffee on the big, orange flat stone that adorns the edge of my little elf-olithic stone circle, and reach into the bag for a handful of bird seed. I turn back towards the house, and send the seed scattering towards the bird feeder in a long arc in front of me. I repeat that process three more times, and then close the bag up. I step back towards my stone circle and bring my cup of coffee to my lips. Its not quite as warm as it was before, but its warm enough to feel good against the skin of my lips and the radiating warmth in my hand.
At this location, I am in the south. I turn to my left and traverse the circle to its opposite location. Here at the North, I stop, bow my head and whisper what I have come to call “The Druid’s Prayer for Peace”:
Deep within the still centre of my being
May I find peace.
Silently within the quiet of the Grove
May I share peace.
Gently within the greater circle of humankind
May I radiate peace.
Once I finish, I wait for the rise of the sun. Sometimes, I don’t time this well enough, and I wind up standing there for ten minutes or more. I am quite sure my neighbors think I am tetched in the head. Perhaps I am at times, for I can certainly feel the fires of Imbas burning in my head during these times. The sounds of an awakening neighborhood are all around me. Cars passing by on the nearby road – literally feet away from where I am standing. But its not those sounds I hear. I hear the birds beginning their morning songs, greeting the arrival of the same Sun I stand here watching for. And eventually, the sun peeks over the roofs of the houses around me in their suburban sprawl. I raise my cup of coffee – this morning, its now cold, and I hate cold coffee – and salute that morning phenomenon that gently stirs the coals of Imbas and sends me forth into my day.
I make my way to the South – nod slightly to the center of my elf-olithic circle, and step back to grab the bag of bird seed. As I make my way to the patio door, I can hear the sounds of cars passing by, mingling with the songs of various local birds. Occasionally, I hear the extremely loud caws of my local Crows – and I smile. Always over my shoulder. Always watching. Always reminding me that Life is not meant to be taken far too seriously, nor far too comically.
Balance in each step. Life in its breath.