Cycles, like the rise and fall of ocean tides, come and go.Obvious as this is, we’re prone to resent the fact, in favorable circumstances, to the point of illusion.Things and situations that reach to us through intention and struggle often become “objects” of devotion; we give them the possessive pronoun, while in moments of clarity, we might see them as barriers to growth––limitations on creative evolution.
In the archer’s praxis, we spend effortful time with the draw––to “get it right.”Focused so, we may forget that the draw’s resolution is found only in the release.More often than not, there’s residual fear as the new archer “stands” on the precipice of “letting go.”The archer might “freeze,” which is entirely reasonable considering the tactile sensation of the bow’s resistance––a wonderful potency in held potential.The fear has an inverted twin which triggers haste, and the arrow launches from a careless hand.
The whirlwind of tension that rises with the draw, is tethered at anchor-point––eye of the storm.For the attentive archer, a dynamic stillness can be here found.Its a fortunate encounter, an actionless instant––bud to bloom––when an arrow flies with kinetic vibrancy, with breath, with life; its profound to notice.On the Archer’s Green “there” becomes “here” again, when intention’s arrow meets destiny’s Mark.
From the ancient lore comes a tradition of stepping across doorway thresholds with a deliberate mind. The forefoot advances with unformed anticipation, while the aft briefly lingers with grateful regard. Grace resides in the pause between, a blessing from an unseen source.
Solstice is our planetary threshold, spacious enough for all to freely cross; the southern legions come north––come they must, and go we will. In the intimacies of this grand affair––pole to pole––secrets are sometimes revealed, although usually overlooked for their subtleties. If you were otherwise engaged to notice our recent global passage––sun to sun––take heedful comfort in knowing that a solstice resides in the center of every breath. The lore instructs the attentive further, with an injunction to keep the door-stoop and threshold clear––a practice which speaks for itself.
On the archer’s range we deal with innumerable thresholds, one of the more apparent occurs at anchor-point, where/when a well drawn arrow reaches the nexus of tension between effort and surrender, time’s threshold otherwise called the present moment. If the archer eludes the hazard of hesitation and the temptation of haste, the “still” arrow ripens into a shot that falls from a bow like an apple from a tree.
Leaning into Winter’s gate, night overcomes our day. The intimacies of light which we huddle around, can burn in three degrees, but in crossing the threshold we turn inside out and lift the Capricorn sun back home to our zenith. Before you go, dear traveler, turn North, and in the luminous night use winter eyes to glimpse the supernal light emanating from the dark gate of your empty mirror… Winter’s midnight sun is all yours.
Tended by a devotional heart
Your tender-strong hands
Wrestle beauty from
The blistered earth
A Joseph lifted from
The deep well of knowing
Set dancing as leaf and petal
Pollen-drift and broken stone
Hear the spectral banners snap
In the wind
Merciful green to the gold ‘n red
Your fierce eye keen
To the indivisible moment
Generous hands provoke
Fragrance and fruit
But in the deep harvest
At your alchemical touch
And our quicksilver is found.
Leaving shoes behind, dervish-like
You step through the hidden gate
Of your garden
Into the secret one, nearer still
Where everything is
And everyone will be…
Hear the tattered banners snap
In the autumn wind
Hear the birdsong you alone
You will entirely know yourself
As lover and beloved.
While losses to our orbits of family and friends seem to shrink our world of known relations, sometimes it opens us to the creative universe of the unknown. Our town bears the recent loss of a beloved friend, a son of Hermes, who nurtured a heart-full practice of and regard for the arts, and especially for those who bore them in trouble and in joy. Although he never let arrows fly across our range, he intended to do so, and his sincerity in this regard left it simply to be a matter of good timing. Along with others, I share a notion that he’s not done with us yet; that this sudden departure allows him to work and love in a more comprehensive orbit. Godspeed and thanks for the rain, dear friend; we’ll let an arrow fly here for you.
Summer’s spell is nearly broken, as the northern earth gives up another sun. Golden Rod bids a silent farewell, while our overturned shadows trace the polar paths of winter. The Horned Owl is already making plans with the full moon, disturbing the sleep of Hummingbirds that still linger. The treasury of green is sealed in wooden attic vaults, stored in cooling root cellars, and opened only with hunger’s master key.
Capricorn will greet the sun in Madagascar, they’ll swim together in Shark Bay then dance in Rio, before tiring of each other’s company. Till then, we’ll fix an arrow on the string of the waning moons, and bust the seals of chestnuts where winter’s sun hides.
The drawn bow opens a threshold held between left hand and right; where potential trembles, an arrow rests. Can the archer hold the patient ground as the tension ripens to that undivided moment of surrender? Will he loose himself into the dynamic stillness of being from whence the art emerges? The unwavering eye looks ahead.
The humid and hot breath of Summer is trailing south, as the nightlong cool-downs, and the pensive Bush Crickets with their Autumn song, ignite old memories of childhood poets, river bluffs & travel. Even now, Yellow Poplar leaves have begun the turning; in their golden conclusions they fall, lighting up the forest floor.
Spiny green husks swell between the serrated leaves of a big Chestnut standing deep-rooted before our home. Her kind were brought from Asia to soften the sad loss of our own in-kind native. She’s preparing a big feast this year, and the impatient squirrels can’t help but sample the season filled nuts, “green” as they still are.