Monthly Archives: September 2009

How Time Flies

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What a banner weekend—a heady mix of the new moon, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, and Autumn Equinox. The air has that piercing clarity of autumn too, with the touch of morning chill that makes the apples and pears so crisp and flavorful. My little apple tree is still too much of a fledgling to bring forth a harvest, but a next door neighbor has two neglected pear trees that are overhanging our backyard with the most succulent-looking fruit that is just about ready. Even not being a huge pear fan, I am practically salivating watching those plump, golden pears ripen slowly in the autumn sun.

This weekend was also an anniversary of sorts—the anniversary of the end of a relationship. I told my dream group the other day that it had been four years since I’d left my marriage and moved to the coast, and they were all aghast. Had it really been four years? To them it seemed like a year or two at the most. Yet having lived through every day of that transition myself, I could assure them that yes, it really had been that long.

But things do have a miraculous way of starting over. Once we declare something dead, and give it time to pass away, something new really does rise up to take its place. When my ex and I bought this property several years ago, one of the first things we did was plant some fruit trees in the back corner of the lot. We hooked these young pioneers up to the drip system, didn’t bother protecting them, and left them to fend for themselves. After about a week the deer found them and quickly made a nice meal out of every single thing we planted. Our trees were decimated, and we abandoned the project in favor of more practical things.

Then the lot filled up with construction debris from our various remodeling projects, and soon the whole place was all choked over with weeds and berry vines as well. When I moved in to stay four years ago, cleaning up the back lot was the least of my worries. I managed to haul away the household toxics and have the tallest weeds cut down to suit the fire department, but that was the extent of it.

LoqMcB

Now my sweet new boyfriend wants to plant a garden back there, and has taken the unprecedented step of actually cleaning out all the construction and yard debris. It took a while, but once the crap was hauled away and the entire place mowed to within an inch of its life, we got a big surprise.

There, newly uncovered and looking quite sturdy, was a lovely McBeth Loquat tree that had survived the massacre, with its nursery tags still attached. It had simply bided its time after being so badly treated by us and the deer, and grew back slowly under the cover of the tall weeds. Now that its drip connection is fixed and the deer have been ousted, I take great pleasure in greeting it every time I go back there to watch the garden progress.

fruit

And that in a nutshell is how to survive a divorce. Hunker down, do what you need to do to survive, but never forget to unfurl your leaves at the least little bit of sunshine or rain. Life is too sweet, and too precious, to deprive yourself of a minute of it. And in time, you may surprise yourself by blossoming more than you ever thought possible.

Sit Down and Be Counted!

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One of the most interesting studies to come out in the past decade is Voices from the Pagan Census. The book is based on surveys that were circulated from 1993 to 1995, by hand and via magazines and newsletters, but also through the new communications tool called the “internet.” I remember coming across several copies, though the one I ultimately filled out came from an online bulletin board service.

Voices from the Pagan Census

From the several thousand responses they received, Helen Berger and her associates were able to compile the most complete picture to date of the beliefs and practices of Wiccans, Pagans, Goddess worshipers, Druids, Shamans, and Unitarian Universalist Pagans. The results are quite interesting, as they reveal varying attitudes towards family, marriage, the environment, psychic phenomena, education, life after death, and many other core issues.

Now that over a decade has passed since the original survey, many changes have occurred in our eclectic little corner of the universe. So Helen and crew updated the survey, and are now asking people to participate online, here. The new survey asks many of the original questions so the results can be compared, but it also includes questions about internet usage and other new, relevant topics. It also asks about other spiritual traditions that have been influential aside from the original six, so those of us who don’t consider ourselves strictly one thing or another now have a lot more latitude to describe our spiritual orientation.

The survey is comprehensive; open-ended questions such as “which books have been important to you” took a while to answer. But the more complex and descriptive the answers, the more we will all benefit from the final picture that emerges. All told it took me about 15-20 minutes to complete the survey.

So if you are an information geek like me, or mildly curious, or if you just want to humor the rest of us, hie thee down to the Pagan Census Revisited, have a cup of tea, and share a little bit of who you are and have been.