It's been rather nice taking a bit of a break from the fast paced world of Portland. I've continued reading regularly (I've moved from Druid books to WWII memoirs for a bit) but I have also looked for opportunities to remove myself from technology. As bit of a pro and con, this summer my area is experiencing a drought and record high temperatures. The sunshine is lovely but its also damaging so my family and I are limiting our time out in it. With temperatures nearing 100 degrees in an area that rarely sees 85-90, it's been very drastic. I keep trying to find the silver linings and welcome the sunshine but I cant help but fear for our forests as this is going to be a truly dry season and lightning could destroy so much, so quickly.
Last week, despite the heat, my husband, our son, my boyfriend, and boyfriend's sister all went camping for a bit over 24 hours. It was phenomenal to get out of the city and into the beautiful forest. We camped along a river and it was so bright and clear that we could camp with our rain fly off and stare up at the stars through the trees. We could hear the fast flowing river next to our tent at all times and at night time it was amazing. We tried desperately to see Venus and Jupiter as they are SUPER visible and bright right now but the amount of trees around us obstructed our horizon view.
One part of this camping trip that was exceptionally important to me was that we were camping on the night of a full moon. The moon was HUGE and BRIGHT and absolutely perfect. I walked everyone to an area that was in full view of the moonlight and propped up a white taper candle among stones and lit the fire. Ive always believed that when in doubt of a spell, or ritual, do what you feel is respectful because it will have the most meaning. I know ADF has full moon rituals, but I was camping and did not have access to them so I made something up that felt right to me. Lighting a beacon from the children of earth to the moon I felt that we had created a bond between where we stood and the radiance of the moon. One spot on the whole wide earth lit up in the moonlight, we lit our candle, held hands and danced in a circle 3 times around the candle in the moonlight. Enjoying, experiencing, and rejuvenating under the moonlight. In a time when our nights are so short the moon seems lonely to me, by celebrating in the moonlight I think we did our part of lighting up the night sky and making the moon shine a bit brighter.
The next day we all wandered to the lake and I swam in a lake for the first time in over a year. It was incredible. Not only was I thrilled now that my foot is healed enough to support the ankle movements of swimming but the atmosphere was phenomenal. Swimming in a pool is nothing like swimming in the lake, when I swim in a lake I feel LIFE all around me. I feel life in the water in the aquatic animals, I feel the trees and plants along the shore line, I feel the animals hiding in the bushes, I feel the birds flying over head. I can watch and hear squirels and birds. Swimming in a lake is a way for me to connect with an element of life, water. It was near sunset and we swam in crystal clear water and watched ducklings swim along the shoreline. We threw rocks making various ripples and sounds and genuinely enjoyed the nature around us without the temptation of looking at our phones or any other form of technology. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
The next day we were lost in the hustle and bustle of a busy Amusement Park full of hundreds of parents and kids in 100 degree weather waiting for fireworks that night. Nothing about Independence Day was relaxing like camping had been, until the fireworks started. As we sat down on the grass at sundown I looked out across the horizon and there they were, Jupiter and Venus BRIGHT in a horizontal line on the horizon in the direction we were facing to see the fireworks show. I could have watched the stars and been just as content as watching the fireworks but there was something sorta magical about watching the the fireworks against the backdrop of two magnificent planets. Here on earth, we celebrate summer, we celebrate our country, and maybe, just maybe, the cosmos could feel that I sat there connecting all the dots. Between the planets, between the seasons, and between nature and the modern world.