Some years ago when I was standing on the banks of the Ganges River in Varansi, India, I watched women and men by the hundreds step into the river for a ritual washing. I could not bring myself to join them because the river carried cremation remains, human waste, animal parts, garbage and many unidentifiable foul smelling items. A local must have read those thoughts on my face. He responded, “Mother Ganga always cleanses herself.”
Maybe once she did, I thought, but how can she possibly restore herself after everything we have done to her? All that we are now doing to Mother Earth is rapidly changing her liveliness. She births beauty and love and life. But mourning yet another slaughter of the innocent, in the Sandy Hook School massacre, I wonder if the earth would more easily restore herself without us.
The splash of waves on a drizzly day seemed to whisper, “Am I not your mother, struggling to renew you once more?” Using a 400 mm lens at f/40 with two polarizing filters I was able to get a slow enough shutter speed (1.5 seconds) to render the fast moving water as a comforting silky flow. I used two polarizing filters stacked because I did not have neutral density filters at hand. The cross-polarization also produced sepia like color on a gray day.
The winter rains here in the Bay Area are literally and metaphorically mother earth renewing herself. So I returned to the blood-red white patched-caps of the Fly Agaric (Amanita). Pushing up the spruce needles they return each November-December, after the first of the seasonal rains, to channel water to the trees that nourish them. (See last week’s post for my mushroom techniques.)
My hope and prayer is that the waters of renewed commitment to earth-wholeness will wash over us as we move from the comforting womb darkness (solstice) into the light of the lengthening days of justice!
Hyphae (tiny little threads) connect the mushrooms to the roots of the living host trees. Let us be so connected one with another!