Today is Summer Solstice 2010.This is as light as it gets, for those of us in the northern hemisphere. I wanted to share a miraculous story of an event that happened to me in May. There’s a good chance the tumultuous transits of this summer in the cosmos will match and mirror an earthly turbulence in our daily lives, so this tale is a reminder to me to keep the faith, trust that support is there on many unseen levels, at all times.
Sometime in the thirteenth year of my dog’s life, her red leash disappeared. At the time it vanished, I searched repeatedly everywhere we took our walks. It made no sense that it would vanish from the car. At home, Cola could roam free, so there was no need for the red leash. It never left our car, being taken out only for walks in Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks where Cola had to be on leash due to national park regulations. After leisurely strolls, due to her aging bones, I would return it to the back seat where it lived.
At the time the red leash left our lives, I found, or created a deeper meaning for the release of leash, as I am prone to do. Clearly the mysterious exit of the red retractable leash was a sign, it had to be a sign, to disappear without a trace. I was being prepared by the great Mystery of life and death, and by Cola herself for the painful process of letting her go. In my brave attempts to imagine my life without her furry exuberance filling my every moment for 13 years, I would try to find acceptance that the red lifeline, bloodline, that brought us together, bound us together, was slowly, slowly severing.
As the physical bonds were thinning, our leashed life leaving, our spiritual bond grew deeper, freer. I would loosely drape her shorter webbed leash around her neck, just to appease the passing ranger. Quickly on, then quickly off. We both cherished her freedom. Why not sooner? In those last two years of her life, she no longer tugged and I didn’t either.
Cola Bear passed on March 30 2009. I have survived the most soul-weathering year of my life. I was completely taken aback by how painful the loss of an animal companion could be, the places that the insanity of grief took me.
It is now an early spring May morning 2010. I am riding my bike up the park loop toward String Lake, ground still covered in a fading snow blanket, no earth yet visible. I am at last feeling a return of joy, the kind of cellular joy I always felt with Cola by my side. As I approach the upper parking lot, I see a red spot in the middle of the intersection by the STOP sign.
As I pedal closer, I register the unimaginable. IT IS COLA’S RED LEASH. I recognize this leash. It feels like it was waiting there for me to arrive. Eerie. Gasping, I kneel to the pavement where it lies exactly in the center of the junction. As I pick up my old familiar friend, it seems it has never left my hand. I remember vividly this frayed place in the red fabric at the head of the retractable wheel. The way the worn black/sliver hook clicks, not too new, not yet old, is the same. This is a visceral memory, the truest kind. It resides in my body.
But this is all too much to handle alone, so my brain stem goes into hyperdrive. I have to comprehend what is happening. This is simply unreal. This is a miracle. How can this be, after being buried under deep snows for possibly three winters? Even now, the ground is completely covered in snow, so how was it found? Someone must have laid it here so it could be found. Maybe it slid off someone’s car, and now another dog lacks a leash. Thoughts circle like arriving
spring sparrows. Why here, why now, how?
I hold the red leash to my heart, and begin weeping. A steady stream of tears falls, familiar by now, still slightly un-welcomed. I pull and tug on the cord remembering this exact tension. I speak with Cola and begin a litany of gratitude, saying “thank you thank you for always being by my side, for hovering close in your Raven form this past year, for keeping me alive, and delivering this gift back to me now”.
Sometimes I think it would be better to call these writings the Earth Oracle, as I seek to ground the sky truth in the reality and imagery of Earth. The season of Gemini, the sidereal sign of Summer Solstice, is the indicator of duality and opposing realities. I am reminded of the unnerving contrasts I am witnessing here in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. There is a fecundity of Earth, delirious with shades of Venusian greens and meadowed rainbow flowers. Heaven on Earth. And the parallel reality: Martian red dying trees, rusting, collapsing into grey piles, pyres for what seems to be the inevitable coming vermillion hell fires the Earth is also creating. Life and death in dramatic contrast. Red and green, fire and water. Earth in charge.
Sagittarius, astrological ruler of the visual arts, sits opposite Gemini, ruler of language and writers. Gemini describes, Sagittarius inspires. Visual images can activate the emotions in more moving ways than even words at times….moving us to tears, outrage, and capable of moving us toward taking action.
I invite you to visit the work of two gifted photographers. View the world-within-worlds water drops and flower angels of Victoria Blumberg at www.sunflowersummer.com. Track the work of Chris Jordan, if you dare, at www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/midway/ to view his devastating pictures of decomposing baby albatrosses who died after ingesting plastics their parents mistook for food. Both sets of images are catalytic in their unique ways.
What the eyes see, burned into the core of our hearts, cannot, will not be ignored.
The time when our Sun treks through Gemini (Jun 15-July 15) is a time to fully engage with the totality of duality, to bear witness to the unknowable beauty of nature, the mystery of chlorophyll, while not denying the horrific results of our unconscious human behavior. Attempt to sit with the full range of your own light and shadow. No judgment, just honesty and awareness. Conscious living is a day-to-day exercise of personal will and choice, laying the stones, creating the path to a healthier vision for our planet, our species. Gemini, as ruler of commerce, also reminds us to be aware that the power to change the world for the better always lies in grassroots revolutions, in individual choice. In this planetary cycle, note your unconscious behaviors, the places where even your automatic pilot may be stuck. Become more aware of the myriad number of ways you can shift the world simply by asking this question: Do I buy this or that? Do I ingest this or that type of food? Do I need this? Maybe not.
The Full Moon of June 26 2010 ignites the axis of Sun in Gemini and Moon (old habits) in Sagittarius (belief systems, new visions). Because the Moon is conjunct Pluto (release, resurrection, perhaps more explosions) this is a stellar opportunity to break with patterns of the past. And with the amplification brought on by the eclipse energy (when there is literally a cosmic severing of the old energetic patterns) the pressure is to get off any fence of indecision and move forward confidently, taking that first step with purpose and passion (qualities of Sagittarius) toward your long-range goals.
At this full moon eclipse, bring those Sagittarian lofty visions down to Earth in day to day Gemini living.
On a lighter note, today would have been Cola’s 16th birthday. She was a Summer Solstice dog, a complex personality, a black dog who was a being of greatest Light. In the years we walked together, I was a student of understanding how everything casts a shadow and how to work more consciously, creatively, with full acceptance of that reality. Above ground, under ground. Sun, Moon. The velvet night and the silken day. A line from my poem Obsidian speaks to the paradox of Gemini’s gift: “It is the dark which illuminates.”
If she were still in her body, I would be heading into town to buy her annual birthday present, a bacon-wrapped filet mignon. Now, in her physical absence, I drive to her favorite swimming hole, pull out the red leash and take a stroll, Spirit Cola by my side. I recall how after she passed, my intuitive friend Sophie sent word from Cola almost immediately. Her words are even more relevant since the return of the red leash. Cola’s message: “Tell Lyn, heaven is way better than Yellowstone: NO LEASHES!”
May you sense your spirit beloveds by your side, helping you feel it all, heal it all with love in this expansive, dynamic, revolutionary and magical time.
Ever here, ever present, ever free.