Owen Chooses a Painting

Owen Chooses A Painting

To: Owen@ nekelew.net

From: Thea@ nekelew.net

Subject: Your paintings

At the risk of sounding like the classic “would you like to see my etchings,” would you like to come up on Tuesday about 5 pm for a drink and to choose a painting for our trade?

 

From: Owen@ nekelew.net

To: Thea@ nekelew.net

Subject: Re: Your paintings

Good timing. Tuesday would be great and I’ve cleared a space on my wall for a painting.

 

“Welcome, Owen. What can I get you? I have wine, beer, gin…and tequila.”

“Actually, I don’t drink anymore. Friend of Bill Wilson’s, you know. I’d love some juice if you have any.”

“Oh. I have apple juice if you’d like. Either plain or sparkling.”

“Sparkling would be lovely.”

If Thea was disconcerted by Owen’s choice she didn’t show it, pouring herself a glass of Merlot after she handed Owen his Martinelli’s. Standing in the kitchen alcove, they made small talk about the craftsmanship of the trim little house. Its previous owner was connected with Owen’s parents and it had been built by Charley with wood from Owen’s family’s sustainable timber operation.

But soon Owen’s eye was drawn to look around at the paintings. “Have you done all this work since you came down here?”

“Nope. That one there is an older one. It’s the Green Seed painting that Ursula and I were talking about when she suggested I come to you for a Soul Retrieval.”

“And this one?”

“That’s a new one about the Mountain – or rather a Wild Woman in the Mountain. I think her name needs capital letters. Have you ever heard of a legend about such a one?”

“I think there are stories of her in the collection called Nekelew Tales, but nothing substantive is coming to mind about her. I wonder if she has any connection to Durga that Ursula was just telling us about the other night or Kali. They are serious wild ones from India.”

“She came to me strongly and I just assumed she was Native American. In fact, the Mountain almost seems to be talking to me. Does that sound really weird?”

“It is weird – in the sense of ‘witchy’ – but I know what you mean. For me it comes through the plants. Which reminds me.” Owen dug through his knapsack and pulled out a small brown bottle. “Comfrey flower essence as ‘prescribed’ by Dr. Ursula and made by yours truly. It’s also known as bone knit so symbolically it’s about putting the pieces – the members – back together. Either literally if you have a broken bone or figuratively such as your lost parts we retrieved.”

“Is that why she said ‘remembering?’ I’ve been wondering about that.”

“Yes, as in re-membering,” Owen separated the two parts of the word as he spoke it.

“But what is an essence as opposed to a tincture?”

“A tincture contains the biological components of the plant. I make those too but these are the subtle energies. I can also make essences from crystals or even the energies of events. They’re more like homeopathic remedies that are diluted so much there’s nothing left of the original substance but the signature energy. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but the more they’re diluted the stronger they are. I make these from Mountain spring water in a crystal vase with the flower or root – usually in both sunlight and moonlight and often created during a special celestial or earth event such as an eclipse, solstice, or full moon. Or a new moon. They contain alcohol as a preservative so I don’t use them myself except when they are fresh – or from the freezer.

“Because they are Spirit Medicine they operate on a subtle level of one’s being. Always they come from a being – a plant, a place, a stone – that wanted to give its gift to us humans. I listen to the meaning & character of each gift as told to me by the being itself.”

“So this won’t cure a cold, say, but might help me find the meaning of my green seed or integrate my soul retrieval beings?”

“Exactly. It could very well help with those processes you are in the midst of. If you did have a cold, it would tackle the deeper basis for why you ‘caught’ it. Often unexpressed grief is involved and it could be very ancient. Or say if you had a sprained ankle or broken limb, it might help heal whatever it was that caused the so-called ‘accident’ in the first place. Why did you lose your footing or what is ungrounded in you? But you started to tell me about the Mountain talking to you.”

“Do your plant spirits come to you in their creature spirit form or in people-like form with distinct personalities like Eliot Cowan describes?”

“They are very amorphous for me. I just get a sort of feeling about them. It’s very subtle and easy to miss if I’m not listening carefully. And I often did miss it in the early days before I learned what was happening…”

“When I was painting the other day…. I’m not sure I’m ready to have you spread this around.”

“I won’t breathe a word until you’re ready.”

“As I finished this Wild Woman painting I heard a voice – no, it would be more accurate to say that I saw a voice in my head. I’m such a visual person that’s the only way I can describe it. A voice that said…well, see this fire in the painting here? I don’t know why that came in but it really wanted to be there…. The voice told me it’s a beacon calling me – us? – here…. And that the dragon is protection…. and something about Wild Woman…. I’m not sure what. That’s why I was asking about her.”

“Cool! We’ve often talked in the Medicine Circles about people feeling called here and occasionally the word “beacon” even gets used. Plus it’s not unusual for folks here to see flickers of dragons out of the corners of their eyes as well as in dreams. Or even just turning up a lot in books and cards at propitious moments. It’s a potent symbol. I’d say you are tuning into the deeper levels of what’s here. Good going. It’ll be fun to see what else you come up with.”

“I don’t know whether to be relieved or more worried that you seem to think I’m tuning into something others are also getting.”

“Well, I, for one, would welcome accurate, beautiful depictions of what many of us suspect about this place and its purpose. And it wouldn’t surprise me for you to channel images that give us new information too.”

“ Should I say ‘thank you?’”

Owen laughed. “Did you ever have experiences like this when you were a kid?” he queried.

“Nooo. At least I don’t think so.”

“I’m wondering if it is your psychic self that has been closed off, shut down the way it was in so many of us. Often we had experiences as a child – some can recall them and some can’t – where a grown-up made us feel ashamed or crazy or fearful which, in effect, muzzled us. I know one person who knew her little brother had died before they told her and another for whom it was a grandparent. In one case the story was accepted and the person retained that ability. The other got yelled at for it and clammed up. She’s still working to regain her belief in the credulity of her other worldly experiences.”

“So you think I might have had such experiences and just not remembered?”

“It’s certainly possible. I hear a lot of fear in you about it.”

“Years ago a friend talked me into going with her to a psychic. It was amazing. He saw me as an artist and said I should be showing my work more. He had a lot of specifics about how I should go about doing that. Because of him I went on what now feels like a tangent visiting galleries back east – trying to hit the Big Time, you know.”

“Pretty alluring.”

“He also gave some directives to my friend that got her pretty bollixed up – about leaving her husband and some other stuff.”

“Sounds like by getting so specific, he wasn’t being too ethical. June says one always needs to leave room for free will in the person one is ‘seeing’ for. i.e. making it clear that there are many possible roads and turnings. Choices one gets to make rather than one inevitable path laid out in concrete.”

“Still, in a way it was a good thing. I was so turned off by the push energy of the tangent that something in me began to rebel against what I call ‘Capital A’ Art. It was about that time that I also began to discover Tarot and the Goddess and that led me down here…. So it wasn’t all bad by any means. But the thought of channeling something ‘wrong’ or ‘too much’ for somebody freaks me out.”

“Is it that, more than the fact of it happening to you or people knowing that it’s happening to you?”

“Certainly I don’t want to be considered crazy and all that. I think my mom planted some of that in my head. Hey – I wonder if she’d had some experiences she wasn’t telling me about. Or my aunt…. the one who left me the money that made it possible for me to move down here to the beach.”

“Any of them might have, of course. It certainly hasn’t been accepted in our culture for a long time. As we talked about with Ursula the other day, they burned witches….”

“Well, come on upstairs to my studio and some more of the paintings.” Ready to change the subject, Thea led Owen up the narrow, beautifully built staircase to her studio area. He had to duck under the low hanging eaves where the stairs turned and then opened out into a wide clear space full of canvases stacked every which way, as well as paintings and clippings hung on every possible surface, even the tall file cabinet next to the cluttered work table.

“Oh ho! What’s this one over here?” Owen pointed to a painting that was hanging on the east wall. “It’s really calling to me.” A large green male figure was holding an armload of plants and flowers. Foxglove and daisies stuck out from his arms while nasturtiums and ivy dangled down. A crown of what looked like Oregon Grape circled his head, though it could have been holly. Sitka spruce stood tall all around him, pointing up to the stars of the constellation Orion sparkling in the sky. A tiny figure of a centaur was wheeling near the stars. Thea had used her signature phthalo green and white to give the painting an eerie, other-worldly feeling.

“That’s the Green Man – I painted him this summer when I first got here and before I had any idea of the European archetype.”

“That’s funny because that image has become really important to me recently. It gives me chills to see it here. It’s like there’s some memory I can’t quite get hold of that has to do with it….” His voice trailed off.

“When you say that it gives me chills too….”

“To get chills is a sign of psychic connection,” Owen said absently. “The plants…?”

“You had just introduced me to Oregon Grape so it felt appropriate to put it in.”

“So it is Oregon Grape… Clearly this is the painting I want in trade for our session. It will be good to live with it and ponder why I’m responding so strongly to it.”

“I have no idea who the centaur is or why he’s in the painting.”

“I don’t know either, but that’s part of the mystery of it for me.”

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I find him really sexy,” said Thea.  She wasn’t about to admit any more about it out loud. She’d exposed herself enough already to Owen, but she was feeling the energy of Osiris on him. Osiris, Egyptian God of the Underworld, was often considered a Green Man as well. Could it be Owen who had been turning up disguised as such in her fantasies lately?

There was a bit of an awkward silence. “Umm,” said Owen. “The plants are indeed the expression of the lifeblood of the earth and they can certainly stir us up. What is more primal than the Pan image of the Green Man? Yours isn’t leering here or goat footed though that’s often how he’s depicted. The Christians made him into the Devil. The Seducer. The Satyr, half man half goat, definitely has a mixed reputation in our culture.” Owen knew he was babbling but he didn’t know where to go with this.

Thea laughed. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. But doing this painting made me feel sexy and now you’re taking it home so that has to become part of the mystery of it. Hopefully it will be disturbing in a good way.” She moved to take the canvas down from the wall and handed it to Owen with a flourish, bowing as he reached to take it. Owen bowed low in return.

“Owen, I’m pretty sure that at least some of this New Age LOVE energy is about sex. And the playful cougar seems to be coming out in me, thanks to you.“

“No worries,” countered Owen. “But I think I’d better make my escape now.”

Owen at the Tree 1

Owen had never known how to describe the giant Sitka Spruce before him well up in the Logan Family Forest, across the highway from most of the houses in the north end of the community. Always he was filled with awe at the powerful presence of THIS GREAT-GREAT GRANDMOTHER OF THE FOREST. The roots and branches – even those several stories above – were themselves the size of most large trees. The ferns growing way up overhead on her thick branches were the size of a VW bug. She was like an elephant, or rather, a whole tower of elephants. Huge legs. Massive body. One could almost see her wise eyes beaming and sense her enormous beating heart…. Yet, none of these images sufficed to express the power of her physical presence. The reverence she engendered was as boggling as a giant cathedral. Her connection to All That Is…. An ancient, gigantic force….

As kids he and Gordy had climbed into those branches. He could still see the frayed ends of the ropes they’d used to pull themselves up, ropes probably strung by their father and his brothers. They had even spent the night there on occasion, but it had always been spooky somehow and by the time they were teenagers Gordy had become disinclined for that particular adventure. Owen had continued on solo for a few years but his dreams while there had become disturbing, and soon his travels away from the community meant that he too left the Sitka behind.

Since his return twenty-five years ago, he hadn’t neglected the tree entirely, but he came up rarely and not to spend the night. The Medicine Groups held ceremony here from time to time. It took at least a dozen people, hands outstretched, to reach around it. He’d also brought Robin and the Illahee children over the years, but he’d been disinclined to share the place with many. It was too special.

He wasn’t quite sure why he had chosen this particular evening, but he sensed that September’s Equinox Labyrinth had woken something in him. Ever since then he’d been feeling a strong call to journey inward, to spend a night in deep listening to the Tree and the forest as a whole.

Owen settled into a soft mossy place in the crook of the Grandmother Sitka’s mammoth roots. He could feel the tree embracing him, loving him. It was almost as if she was congratulating him on following his inclination to choose this spot on this night. “OK, I’ll take that affirmation,” he whispered.

His thoughts as he centered in were full of Daniel Giamario’s Shamanic Astrology idea Pia had talked about the other night in the Medicine Circle – how Rising Signs are what we are here to learn this time around, while Moon Signs are the expertise we bring into the world from former lives. His own Cancer Moon explained his innate ability to care for others, his mothering of Robin after his wife’s death, and even his strong on-going connection at Illahee, both to the group as a whole and to the some of the needier children there. It was so easy for him to reach them through nature. Kids that were having trouble reading, especially those coming discouraged from other schools, thrived when Illahee got them out in the woods. Finding a newt or an animal skull could spur an interest in looking it up and it didn’t take much nudging for a drawing and eventually a little writing about it…. He knew he was also inclined to be something of a worrying mother hen. Maybe that was the shadow side of his Cancerian expertise. His Libra Sun gave him balance, but he could get fretful especially about details and young people.

His mind’s eye flickered over times when he’d been overly fussy about the children’s safety. It was hard to listen to Celeste’s sage advice that huge learning leaps often occurred right after a kid had climbed high in a tree or scaled a rocky incline. It seemed that mastering a physical challenge often meant immediate advancement of an elusive academic skill. Brain-mind connections. Somatic learning. Illogically, he still fretted even knowing his own and his brother’s tree born adventures, perhaps because of those escapades.

His Scorpio rising sign was intimidating. A wizard? He didn’t think so. Although lately the Green Man archetype had been moving him almost to tears. Green Man. Pan. That wild ultra-masculine forest being, the uncontrollable aspects of Nature – floods, typhoons, lightening-set fires. Spring growth. Procreation. Rampant sex.

Owen grinned. It was hard to imagine that part of himself going wild. What would a goatish rampage look like in a sensitive widower tuned into children and plants? Unpartnered too. No easy outlet there. He’d certainly never felt like casual encounters. Was there somebody to play Green Woman to his Green Man self? Goldberry to his Tom Bombadil? For a minute he wallowed in a longing he rarely admitted to himself. He loved Tolkien’s image of the cozy, wooded cottage and imagined a Northwest American version with Tom’s magical appearances here and there to spur the furious growth of a coastal spring and summer – blackberries and Old-Man-in-the-Ground, those vine beings that curled relentlessly, reaching for sun and nutrients. Butterflies. Bees. Pollen. Sex.

Yet right now was the opposite season. The dying back. At sixty-four, his life matched this October season. He listened to a couple of raccoons chittering in the distance, almost a quarrel, but not quite. The bats swooped low. The full moon was hidden at the moment but its silvery light gave an eeriness to the density of the forest. Suddenly he felt a little spooked. All alone in the woods…. on the Mountain…. He could almost hear a hummm, a low throb of the life within the Mountain. He’d forgotten about that pulse. Hadn’t heard it for a while….

He opened the thermos of tea he’d packed. Chamomile, catnip and salal from his garden to ground and calm, with a pinch of lobelia to heighten his sense of adventure, but also to help with any lingering PTSD upwellings. He’d tossed some motherwort in too – its scientific name, Leonuris cardiaca, lionhearted, speaking to courage in transitions which is what he was really asking for. His Libra self liked the balance of all those opposites. An aventurine stone was in his coat pocket. He used to think it was “adventurine” with a “d” but had recently learned that it was about growth, especially opening and clearing the heart chakra which he figured also means it’s about courage for making shifts. “Coeur” meaning “heart” in French.

Leaning back he settled the orange and brown Peruvian woven wool blankets he’d brought a little more comfortably behind and under him, his thoughts drifting to more prosaic topics. His upcoming conversation with Gordy about finances was sure to be unpleasant. An article to be written for the Conservancy Trust newsletter about making peace with invasive species. His nagging question about the importance of Devil’s Club…. He looked towards the stand of Devil’s Club he knew was just outside this clearing, but it was now too dark to distinguish one plant from another. This would be a good place to Journey with it….

Held in the arms of the Great Grandmother Sitka, he mused about all the people who had come into his life since his boyhood days in Mahonia and Nekelew. He had been lonely then for others who loved this place in the way he did. So many of his growing up peers either lived here without noticing or had been set on moving away. He had left too….

The Vietnam War had been calling as he graduated from Nekelew High School and going had seemed the right thing to do. For sure he didn’t have any other options lined up for himself. He wasn’t exactly the studious type. Nor wanting to learn a trade…. The War. Now there was a topic he didn’t want to think about. These home woods were so different from the tortured jungles around Duc Pho.

On the other hand, his visit to the Amazon Basin a few years ago had been all too similar a landscape. The sensory overlap of sound and smells of the two jungles had given him flashbacks of terror in the midst of learning about traditional healing plants on Peru’s Madre de Dios River, making it a truly heroic shamanic dismemberment journey. It had felt like a blowing asunder of his body parts like his recurring flashbacks of others’ deaths and dismemberments. However, the vision medicines had shown him some clear distinctions of time and place that allowed him to make peace with the differing energies. The war was then. The medicine plants were so very NOW. The war and its aftermath had tempered rather than broken him. He had been lucky – neither physically wounded, nor so psychologically scarred that he had fallen into debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Alcohol had been an issue, as had pot. But thanks to his higher powers for AA, he was now clear of those substances. He knew they could be sacraments, but he had overused them and they had taken over for a while. Drinking and smoking too much had worked to drown out the shrieking demons haunting him from the Asian jungle but he knew he had become too deadened to be useful to this world and his deep connection here in the temperate Oregon rainforest.

The people now in his life had shown him the possibilities of a spiritual pursuit and after the Amazon he had studied far afield with different teachers to learn about the sacred inward paths with no further need of outside hallucinogenic infusion…. Thus his thoughts led to the typical drumbeat for shamanic journeying and he began to hear it in his head….

Cali & Ariel Climb the Mountain

Caliente and Ariel were renewing their childhood friendship by climbing the Mountain on a cloudy day in early October. Black shaggy Lummox pranced before them as they made their way up the well-worn trail.

When they reached the saddle of the Mountain, Cali headed off the main path along a lightly trampled way covered with miner’s lettuce and a little plant she’d never managed to identify. After a minute she slowed and, pointing silently, knelt at the base of a large Sitka Spruce. Digging with her hands, she exposed the top of a good-sized rounded rock. “This is a shrine that Owen and my mom got a bunch of us to carry up here when I was a teenager. The rock is from the beach and connects energetically to a mountain rock we carried down to the bay.” She dug further.

“Here’s the Fibonacci spiral that Raven carved on the front.” Her fingers lovingly traced the spiraling pattern. “We carried this fucking thing up here in a canvas cradle. Taking turns, it still took us two evenings. My brothers powered it up the last bit.”

Ariel was awestruck, imagining the effort of getting the rock to this spot and her good fortune in connecting back with these people who would undertake to do such a thing. She was almost afraid to ask about their intention for fear it would be some disappointingly prosaic reason. The answer when it came was deeply satisfying.

“There was a battle over the placement of a cell tower up here contrary to provisions in the park’s master plan about no further intrusions of electronic equipment. Although a number of us consider this a sacred mountain and we know the native people did as well, we had no legal standing ourselves to enforce its protection. So Owen’s idea was that if we put a shrine up here it would begin to establish that standing.”

“Did the tower happen?”

“Yes, we were unable to stop it.” She paused for a minute remembering the whole process and then grinned. “I gotta say it’s nice to have the cell phone reception.”

Ariel grinned back understanding the ironies. “What did you mean about connecting with the Bay?”

“The Bay Shrine is also in the State Park. Owen and Raven got the rock from the place on the back road up here where they dump the landslide fall from the highway. Mom says that when the two rocks were in place she could feel the zing of a field establish itself between them. Would it be an electrical field or a magnetic field?” Cali mused. “Who knows, but a lot of good things have happened since, more or less between the two rocks – ReBound, the Conservancy Farm, Elk Ridge. Cain’t say for sure they came out of this act but it’s fun to think maybe they did. At any rate, it’s all part of the cool things that have been happening in the twenty years you’ve been gone. And every year in May, around Mother’s Day, a small groups visit both shrines and rededicates them, ending with a picnic at the Bay. I haven’t done it in the last couple of years but my folks almost always go.”

“It really does feel like a remarkable place, both here at the shrine and the community as whole,” said Ariel. “I’ve wanted to come back ever since my parents split. But now I’m realizing that there were reasons to come home besides just the ocean and you guys.”

“Let’s go on up towards the Pinnacle. It’s cool to see the place laid out from there.”

They stood and brushing off their bottoms, set out along the trail that curved around the north side of the Mountain. Lummox raced up from his woodsy snuffling adventures when he saw they were headed onward.

“Didn’t you used to be able to see north up the coast from here?” asked Ariel.

“Yes, when we were little this side was newly clear-cut. But trees do grow and these are now blocking the view. Can’t really complain. I do miss seeing further in this direction but the wind doesn’t whip so much through here anymore.” She shrugged.

After fifteen minutes the trail angled up again towards the ridge and it wasn’t long before they reached the last bit. Rather than a path it was a jumble of sharp toaster-sized rocks heading steeply up. The drop off on either side was precipitous and there was little to grab onto for balance except prickly wild rose bushes. The big shaggy dog bounding between them didn’t help. Cali’s legs were rather shaky and she kept having to stop and catch her breath as she crawled up. What with the baby and all, she hadn’t climbed the Mountain in a while, especially this far. The thought of Menolly made her breasts tingle. She shouldn’t hang out up here for too long.

They clambered up the last bit, and Ariel, who had not been breathing hard at all from the scramble, gasped breathlessly at the panoramic view, South, West and East.

“I’d forgotten!” she whispered.

Laid out below them were the sparkling ocean, river, bay and mountains. There was much evidence of human presence, of course, but it was exciting rather than depressing. They could see the Illahee School playing field with its building tucked mostly into the woods. ReBound was a scar in the dunes but it generated a feeling of accomplishment and hope. The clearcuts and housing developments were less easily forgiven but Cali pointed out the Elder Home now ensconced in one of the former fancy McMansions, as well as the abodes of various people she knew. Her folks’ house was hidden but the very corner of Benden Farm was visible. Cali’s body thrummed again at the thought of her baby down there.

Looking over at her, Ariel snapped a photo on her phone of Cali sitting on the rocks, the magnificent lay of the land in front of her. “Chica…. so many cool things down there that you guys have accomplished….” She hesitated, “But….  do you ever feel a little spooky up here?”

Cali looked at her in surprise. “No. Although sometimes I worry that the dogs will fall off. Mostly I feel power. I feel satisfaction at all that is happening down below. I feel the beauty and ancientness of the mountain. But spooky?”

“Right now I feel like someone is watching over my shoulder – like there is a BIG presence here that doesn’t really want me to be here. It’s almost growling at me. How weird is that?”

“Seriously? Maybe since I’ve lived here all along, I am tuned to the Mountain’s energy…. but I don’t sense that at all.”

“It’s like needing to make friends with a growling protective dog. Like I have to pass muster somehow…. At least I hope it’s a test and not a warning because the longer I’m here the more I want to stay here. In fact, I’d almost say I was meant to be here, that I was called here. Does that make any sense?”

“Yes, it does. Many people feel called here. I was born on the Mountain so I haven’t experienced that feeling either. If there was a call for me it was before I was conceived.”

“I was born here too so the call for me has been to return to my homies.”

With that, a wild high-pitched screeeech drew their attention. Spiraling up towards them were two bald eagles. The young women watched reverently as the huge birds, white heads and tails evident, swooped up past them before peeling off to head west out towards the ocean.

“Wow! It is indeed a powerful place.”

“There’s your confirmation,” said Cali with tears in her eyes. “My brothers used to mischievously call them B52’s. The eagles are welcoming you. I’d say you need to make a conscious connection – make friends almost – with the presence in the Mountain. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I’m guessing it will unfold and you will know.”

“It seems to me since there were two eagles that they are welcoming both of us,” said Ariel. “Or rather saying they’re stoked we’re here and conscious and that we have work to do together.”

“Maybe the eagles were reassuring the Mountain or at least the scary presence you were sensing.”

“That rocks my world! Guess we’d better head back down and get to it,” laughed Ariel. “I wonder what will happen next? Wish I’d gotten a photo of those eagles!”

“We were too amazed to even think of it, weren’t we? Come, Lummox.”

 

The Mountain, of course, appreciated the attentive visit of the two young women, as well as the continued energy shown by them and others to the Shrine, the Peak and the details along the way. “I have special fondness for those born here. They made a choice to come from the get go. Yet, so many of them are wandering now, riding the ripples outward…. Of course, I have an equal fondness for those heeding the call to appear here now for the first time. How challenging it is to come even though they don’t realize they are actually remembering their intentions from the Council Fire to help make the changes here. Guess I should be thanking you, Sister Spider and Sister Coyote….”

“You’re welcome.” Abuela Coyote appeared on the Pinnacle. “All these two legged humans with their blasted free will clause are so tricky to work with. Their twentieth century acculturation has drummed out of them their most basic connections with Earth and Sky, not to mention the likes of us. It’s a delicate business to call them awake. But it’s gotta happen. You’re usually more patient than I am, what’s up?”

“Oh, change is in the air, don’t you think? The fiery one today – she’s aware of the possibilities and is working hard to make alternatives realities. Even spawning new ones to carry on after her.”

“Her attunement to you is muted though. She is so used to your presence. That’s the disadvantage of having been born here. What will it take to really wake her up?”

“That airy angel one, now, is a special case. It doesn’t pay to get too fond of her who has been gone so long, hence my grumble that spooked her. I never quite dare to believe the statements any of them make about intending to stay here but especially the young pups. There’s so much to lure them away.”

Coyote Woman made a sympathetic noise. She knew what it was like to care so much.

“Yet so much is at stake,” continued the Mountain. “So much wanting to happen. I sometimes feel desperately lonely. The tribal Old Ones are silent, mourning their losses. They still hold the space, but barely. We very much need the living ones to wake up.”

“Breathe,” said Coyote sagely. “Just breathe.” The Mountain inhaled deeply and a puff of cloud appeared like a cap at its crown.

Far down at its feet a few sensitive souls felt a subtle shiver in their bones. Ursula looked up from her berry picking and saluted the peak barely visible above and through the trees. Owen cocked his ear as he dug for potatoes in the garden, noticing sweet birdsong all around him. Baby Menolly sighed in her sleep and dreamed of a warm hand patting her bottom in a welcoming sort of way. Carlos, trimming in the orchard, looked forward to the new spring growth a whole season away.