Where have I been? I have been on my parents’ 83-acre farm in rural Ontario on a dirt road off a dirt road far away from the light and sound pollution of civilization. In the mornings I sat on the big wrap-around porch with my tea staring at the lush green rolling hills, trees, fields, and garden with butterflies, dragonflies, and bees swarming all around me. During the days we went on adventures finding rivers, lakes, forest paths, chip wagons, and dodging turtles and frogs crossing the dirt roads from the marshes. At night the fields were full of fireflies and the fen was filled with the beautiful chorus of the frogs – like fairy music in the distant groves. I dreamed many dreams under the influence of the full moon.
I tried to sleep under the light of the strawberry moon in my window, but the cicadas kept buzzing and tapping at the pane, trying to get in. The same thing happened to me when I visited the farm last June, but this time absent the large white moths. Cicadas are supposed to be diurnal, not nocturnal, and the local ones are not supposed to be golden or that big, but there they were in the moonlight at my window – again. In Greek mythology they are sacred to the Huntress and are her messengers and also of her brother, the seer Apollo. They are creatures of intoxication and spiritual ecstasy, but also of rebirth and transformation. After my last encounter with cicadas, my life went through massive transformative events just months later. While visiting I dreamed of cocoons and wings. It seems I am being reminded of the message of last year – that transformation and initiation are ever ongoing. I may have made it through one very hard one last year, but there are still many more to come – yay!
My old childhood cat passed away this spring and is buried on the farm, but the two black dogs were still happy and healthy and followed me everywhere I went, gleeful to get into mischief in the fields and forests. I walked alone, just me and the dogs, through the three huge hay fields to the deep forest full of deer, wild turkeys, grouse, woodpeckers, and rumours of a lone wolf. I saw many medicinal and magical plants, but didn’t have enough time to harvest any. I ate wild strawberries and sorrel. I found black elderberries and wild currants ripening, but not yet ready. The maple sugar shack was empty, waiting for its season of late winter.
The most awe-inspiring part of the farm for me is the grove of Ash trees in the muddy marsh right behind the house. It is greener than green with the white bark of the trees looking like mist mixed with the sunlight through filtered leaves. It is hushed, like a sacred place should be and humans can’t wander into it without getting stuck in the deep mud so it is untouched. I saw two great herons fly out of it towards the pond on the other end of the farm. I had never heard herons before, now I have. A sign I am following the right path, juggling and balancing many skills and many passions to make my living. So many signs from nature this visit. Nature is so much louder and clearer when it is untouched.
My parent’s spoiled me and cooked for me. We went to see Snow White and the Huntsman (which I adored) and the day before my flight I went with my mother and grandmother to see the Van Gogh exhibit at the national gallery in Ottawa. Now that I’ve seen Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and the Group of Seven’s paintings before my eyes, I can died happy as an artist. I am now back among my mountains, inspired and eager to craft, write, and illustrate.