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The Green Lady's Garden

by Sue-Ryn Burns


I have only lived here on this Island for about 30 years, though my husband was born and raised here. There are areas I am still unfamiliar with, but I have a lot of miles on the roads and paths in and around Wellesley Island State Park , and the Nature Center within it’s boundaries. I go there in all seasons, mostly on foot, but I have also enjoyed the park’s winter beauty on cross country skis and snowshoes. I go there for exercise and fresh air, but mostly to soothe and feed my soul. Walking amidst old-growth trees and ancient rocks too big for the last glacier to move puts things in a better perspective.

I’ve had many magical experiences there and enjoyed sharing space with all manner of creatures, from Bald Eagles and Deer, to Muskrats, Otters, and Mice. Since I started working with wildlife rehabilitation it has radically affected the amount of time I have for walking the woods and fields, but the quality has intensified. Of late the voice of nature has become an occasional conversation that I will try and interpret here.

I was moving quickly at the end of a pleasant hike and somehow thoughts about hungry wildlife entered my mind. The summer drought of 2016 affected the Oaks and Hickories, which produced hardly any nuts for the wildlings who rely on them for food. Someone had written in his weekly column about not helping a Squirrel he saw swimming: I recalled how many road-dead I’d been seeing – knowing they had been searching for food. A woman phoned me about squirrels “breaking into her house & they’d never had that problem before”.

The Green Lady said,
“People need to help care for
the rest of my children,
I feed theirs every day”.

There are currently seven adult Grey Squirrels coming to my bird feeders daily, including a few who are black. Typically we get two and they don’t show up until mid-winter when their stash runs out or is frozen under. I know one is a young female I released across the road a year ago. She later moved to some woods down the road and I have seen her well-traveled trail to our house. Two seem to come from the tree line on the other side of the yard. I’m uncertain where the other four come from but they seem to head towards the ridge when alarmed. There are also two resident red squirrels who spend less time at the feeders, but they have plenty of pine and spruce cones to dine upon. We call it the Squirrel Circus. While I’m fairly certain you can’t train squirrels, they do seem to understand that a tap on the window means the dog is coming out and it’s time to vanish. Chasing is part territorial defense, part play, and also part of their mating ritual later in the season. A diet that consists only of black oil sunflower seeds is not healthy for Squirrels and can lead to bone disease. Because of the added feeding in my yard I have started mixing 1 part chicken scratch grains (a mix of cracked corn, wheat, and oats) with 2 parts birdseed and it seems to be working. Most of the food disappears by day’s end and what’s left is eaten by Rabbits at night. Adding the scratch mix has helped stretch the bird feeding budget.

After a late summer walk down into the family camp, a bouquet of beautifully shaped, leathery oak leaves to press in hand, the Green Lady was in my heart again. I’d noticed some picture-perfect apples on a tree at a summer place and stopped to pick a couple to see how they tasted. Wild grapes seemed prolific, and jelly making entered my thoughts. I contemplated trying to find a phone number for the owners and asking permission to pick some of the fruit.

Then she reminded me
about the animals.
I can get more,
they can not.

Maybe I’ll wait ‘til next year and ask them in person, if there is a big crop. Foragers know, in a lean year you take less, maybe not even the seventh in a series. Going back to look many days later, I discovered the fruit was all gone and there were signs of wildlife all around that tree.

A friend was bemoaning the Milkweed that was trying to take over a perennial bed. Knowing it was a key food for Monarch butterflies, she let it stay. I recalled the joy of picking a mature stem that was dry and ready to free it’s seeds, and dancing around a field with my “magic wand”, letting the wind carry the seed away with my wishes. I hope the next owners of that field were blessed with butterflies. One summer I pretty much erased a burn scar by applying milkweed sap to that scar on every daily walk. I encouraged my friend to wait for the seeds and lovingly plant them where she’d like them to grow. The blossoms have a delightful fragrance and I try to get them to grow where the breeze will carry their scents to us. I have done this with many “weeds” and been rewarded with a bountiful harvest of healing herbage or seed-heads to feed the wild ones. A Canadian bird rehabber friend harvests the seed heads in paper bags, separates the dried seeds to plant and puts out the fluff the following spring for birds to use in their nests. I’m sure the green lady would approve.

A buck passed through our yard in broad daylight recently. We had seen him up the road one night after dark. He had about five points on each antler, so he’s seen a few winters. I’m wondering if he’s the one who kept nipping of the tops of beans and peas all summer. He hops the fence regularly and seems to know where to dig off the snow to find the greens he’s after, including what was left of the collards and kale. I am also wondering if he’s still sleeping between our house and my brother’s place next door, reasonably safe from predators who don’t come that close to human dwellings. A friend who lives in town had a doe who slept cuddled against her pump house all one winter. We have seen and been called to rescue animals seeming to rest “spread eagle” on black-top for warmth on early spring mornings. Even a little warmth and food is appreciated in a cold season.

Most of these interactions and accidental experiences are a result of just showing up. Making time to be out in nature is the only way one gets to engage emotionally with all the beauty and wisdom that surrounds us. The more opportunities we create for our hearts to open to nature, the more we will come to understand.

A recent trip to a favorite trail showed many others visitors’ tracks frozen from a previous warmer day. The winds were high and tree tops were rattling as Delilah the dog and I made our way along; she with her nose to the trail and the winds, and me with my eyes scanning for birds and watching my steps. As we were crossing the parking lot to leave, some other hikers showed up. They were dressed for ice and wind. We greeted each other appreciating the radiantly sunny day, a gift after many gray ones in a row. I could tell, even though they were strangers, they were there to enjoy some time in the Green Lady’s Winter Garden.

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Places of Power
an Introduction

by David S. Warren, Editor

Here is a map showing supposed lines of force, or connection, or power transmission, or something simply mysterious called “Ley Lines”. When they intersect, Ley Lines are said to create places with a special power - typically the habitat of Bigfoot or powerful spirit beings, the landing place of aliens, or serving as portals through which one communicates with other worlds or other states of being. Spiritual centers, sacred places, and locations of political power...
(Go to Story)_______________________

Places of Power

by Tarka Wilcox PhD

Reply: Have you ever seen a small chunk of pure sodium metal burn, shriek, and tear itself apart when dropped into water? The energy release during the extremely rapid oxidation is impressive. It’s not the same as the earth, but in some ways it’s analogous - earth is burning (slowly), and tearing itself apart constantly - as a result of trying to cool off.
(Go to Story)


by David Rollow

At this site on top of a rocky outcropping a castle once stood
that was the main stronghold of the Cathars, the heretics who were systematically wiped out in the Albigensian Crusade. At the time, I knew nothing about the Cathars. I went to Montsegur because
a friend put it on the map for me... (Go to Story)


The Brook
by Franklin Crawford

The most powerful place I've ever known isn't there any more except between my ears.

It was a flat swampy wetland with a brook flowing through it that once fed a shallow lake that Mom said she had skated on in long ago winter times. I imagined Mom skating in a mental newsreel, black and white and shaky; not a memory of my own at all but of something else I never knew but wish I did. (Go to Story)________________

(more "Fish Eye" cartoons by Mark Finn)


Water Power
by Georgia E. Warren

It seems that humans can’t resist following water. I am sure that it didn’t take primative peoples long to know how much easier to get from one place to another perched on a fallen log and then a hollow log, a canoe and then finally a boat.

If you get tired going down the river, you pull to the side and stop. If there is a waterfall too steep or rapids too rough, you pull to the side and stop. Build a hut and eventually it becomes a community. (Go to Story)

"Collector's Luck
in France"
review by
Josiah Booknoodle

It seems that humans can’t resist following water. I am sure that it didn’t take primative peoples long to know how much easier to get from one place to another perched on a fallen log and then a hollow log, a canoe and then finally a boat.

If you get tired going down the river, you pull to the side and stop. If there is a waterfall too steep or rapids too rough, you pull to the side and stop. Build a hut and eventually it becomes a community. (Go to Story)

The Stone at the
Old Same-Place
by David S. Warren

The Old Same-Place, as we called it when we lived there in the seventies, was a nineteenth-century farm house next to a small, unmowed cemetery under tall White Pines as old as the stones where Blackcap Raspberries thrived in a couple of patches. Wild Morning Glory vines hooded the tomb stones and climbed the old pines to their first branches twenty or thirty feet above the ground. The old Pines had grown so large that their sprawling roots tilted the vine-hooded tombstones so that they seemed to be running away

One morning I was poking into the cemetery with my dog Kasha to check on some ripening BlackCap berries in which Kasha had no interest, she lay down in patch of Morning Glory vines near a stone I had never noticed before. It was mostly obscured by the vines but the thing was bigger than a bowling ball and glowing red. (Go to Story)


Entering a
Powerful Place
by Davey Weathercock

Connecticut Hill, about the wildest part of Tompkins County, has some reputation as a portal between worlds, a landing spot for space aliens, and the habitat of Bigfoot. I don’t know about all of that, but I have hunted, prospected, and skied for years on that hill, and I don’t get how people manage to come across Aliens and Bigfeet there, and not even notice the numerous Littlefeet: the small yellowish natives who retreated to the Gorges when the pre-Iroquois Algonquins arrived, and left the gorges for the hills when the Iroquois took over.
(Go to Story)


A Note from
Gabriel Orgrease

In the 70’s I was known in Tompkins County as someone that had an interest to play with stones and this fellow wanted to find a particular boulder to set on some property in Ellis Hollow at the northeast quadrant at the corner of Turkey Hill Road and Ellis Hollow Road. He explained there was a confluence of ley lines in the area and that it was full of power. He wanted to place a boulder at the intersection to make it even more powerful a meditation space. This was, as I recall, to be called something like The Temple of Light.
(Go to Story)


by Franklin Crawford

Before Alcoholic Anonymous, or AA, there were Ancient Astronauts, the first-ever AAs. I met some of them when I was drinking spiked Mother’s Milk in a far away Power Place called The Womb and later, after getting deported, at the Friday night Mensa meeting in Halifax.

They were a fast-talking fun-loving crowd but none too clever given they chose Earth as a crash pad. That was their big mistake and a dead give-away that these so-called Ancient Astronauts were on the interstellar lam and just looking for a new place to party. (Go to Story)




We would drive the buggy where
apart from the wheel tracks
we’d left last week
there was no trace of anyone
the land was so very flat
in all directions
we must unknowingly have crossed
one horizon after another

we might have been
let down from an angel chariot
for all the time
that distance seemed to take
your summons uplifted me
when the horse had its head
the prairie just rolled back
as steady as knitting

and in that pleasure
the body takes when it is
inured to hunger
and the fierce desires
in the renewed
appearance of tranquility
in each moved moment
we rehearsed our satisfaction

over and over so that
later I would find myself
repeating it even in my sleep
where there could be no expectation
of sharing it with you
how your call abides
that invited me
to look from that grassy shore

across a blind eye of water
with the ducks returning as
soon as our carriage-sounds stop
in a line that flattens as the surface
approaches beneath it
only to spill apart
and splash into several gratitudes
at the last moment

Chris MacCormick

Wake Me
by Mary Gilliland

In the treeless light of Delos
mullein flowers burn round
and the stone lions
have waited so long
some have lost their smiles,
others their heads.

In Eleusinian bus exhaust
rain beads like wax
drops along a candle
toward the smashed ruins.

In Samaria the temples
are not slabs of stone.
Water cold as fire
channels the gorge.

In the neglect at Dodona
Persephone has burned
to a shade thinner than sorrow
and fled to the caverns
leaving a painted turtle
to stare down the lizards.

'Nice Girl' first appeared in
The Greenfield Review 14, 3/4 (1987)


Places of Power
Mt. Shasta


In the fall of 2016 our prose writing workshop (“Traveling, Thinking, Writing”) read books by Eddy Harris, Linda Grant Niemann, and Robert Michael Pyle. Pyle’s book is called Where Bigfoot Walks and one weekend in early November we endeavored to go out walking in one of the places where Bigfoot is reputed to walk, Siskiyou County in northern California. We drove north for five hours—in a rented van—from Berkeley. (Go to Story)

Places of Power
Mt. Shasta
by Peter Fortunato

I’m originally from Kansas, and that’s why the name has stuck. A guy I met when I first hitchhiked to the Mountain started calling me that, and I liked it, and so on Shasta I became Kansas for keeps. That was my first time up there, 1976. I came down from the Mountain when Rinpoche arrived in the Bay Area, and there I made some new friends and we all stayed in the same house with him in the hills near Orinda. A lovely, friendly little town in those days—I wonder what it’s like now? (Go to Story)

The Texture of Music
by Peter Wetherbee

As a musician, audio engineer, and listener, I would like to define beauty in sound. What is it that makes something sound good? What is my favorite kind of music? If there could possibly be such a defining measuring stick, how would one quantify the magnitude of a given piece of art or music, the depth of beauty, or the absolute weight of meaning in the artistic gesture or statement?

I would like to call this magical sweet spot the location of power in music. (Go to Story)

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