Veronica's Garden

Rachel Creager Ireland on writing, living, the Flint Hills, and the Post Rock Limestone Caryatids

Tag: magic device from the future

And Yet More Prairie Burning. This Time At Night.

I talked a little about the ecology of controlled burns on the prairie, and posted some photos, and thought I might be done with burning for this year. (Though it’s possible the fire bug has bitten me, and I will be out doing this every spring, as long as I live in the Flint Hills.) But late yesterday afternoon as I sat at the computer, I could see through the window smoke billowing up from behind the fairgrounds across the highway. As twilight set in, I was preparing dinner, and just as I was setting it on the table, Kevin came in and told us all to go outside and look. We could see ribbons of flames stretching across the hills, too close not to go have a look. I quickly took the food off the table so the cat wouldn’t get into it, then loaded the kids into the car.

My magic device from the future isn’t really equipped to take night photos, but it does surprisingly well, considering that the first camera I owned would have required special film (measured in inches), and manually twisting some dials to get anything at all, and then you’d have to take the film into a special little room and dip it in stinky chemicals in total darkness. It sounds like some kind of joke, doesn’t it?

But here we are, and this is what I can get. The focus isn’t good when the light is poor, but I won’t complain if you won’t.

And a note to the kids’ teachers: Sorry if they’re tired today, some life experiences are more important than school.

Bluebird, Ego, Ostrich

It was the kind of week when you have three shut-off notices and too many checks already out to cover, you should have some money coming in, but you’re not sure how much, or exactly when, and the process of earning the money complicates the managing of it. I did okay, though, but on the way to the bank on Friday, multiple shut-off day, I realized I’d forgotten to stop at the other bank first. Cursing, I turned around at the historic marker and drove back the way I’d come. It was then that it occurred to me that I needed to dedicate my day to the Divine, to let the ego be the operations manager but not the CEO. To operate on the assumption that whatever happens is okay, and nothing is something to get upset about. Every day should be thus, and I’ll admit to being somewhat pleased with myself for remembering this before I got too bent out of shape about the way my day and week were progressing.

Still, I didn’t feel it. I could think about the perfect Divine nature of everything, but it was all in my head. To elucidate it, I need to feel it, so I mentally flailed for a bit and then my thoughts drifted somewhere else. Maybe later, after the errands, the massage I was scheduled to give, then picking up the kids from school, I could slow down and get myself there.

Then I was at the bank. I did my errand and went on my way. I was still in Strong City when I saw a tiny flicker of most brilliant blue. “Bluebird! Bluebird!” I called out loud, to no one, as I was alone in my car. There’s nothing like a bluebird (except perhaps an indigo bunting, but this was a bluebird), and on second look I saw the rosy belly before it disappeared from my view as I drove on down the street.

My attention was piqued, and as I came onto Highway 50, I was alert for every creature. I studied several hawks at 65 mph, though only one was a red-tail, the only one I can easily identify. Most of the geese have departed to the north, while the gull migration has just begun to appear here. There were starlings and other black birds I didn’t get a good enough look at to identify, and possibly a meadowlark. I also thought about the northern flicker I’d seen earlier, while taking the kids to school. The birds are back, and wintery weather doesn’t stop the birds from getting down to business.

Then I noticed warmth and openness in my heart chakra, and realized I’d entered into the divine space I’d been seeking earlier. It occurred to me that connecting with that which is larger than the self is as much as anything a process of noticing what brings one there. It didn’t come from speaking words, or thinking, or planning, or being in control of a sticky situation which on another day might have brought me down. It came from noticing, paying attention, to that which is alive and present in the moment. It came from being willing to let nature be part of my daily life.

In the words of Ted Andrews, “The bluebird is a native bird of North America. Although once common, they are now quite rare. This often is a reminder that we are born to happiness and fulfillment, but we sometimes get so lost and wrapped up in the everyday events of our lives that our happiness and fulfillment seem rare. When bluebirds show up as a totem, it should first of all remind you to take time to enjoy yourself.”

What do you enjoy? What arrests your attention, bringing you out of mundane egoism and into awareness of the big Oneness? What does bluebird say to you?

Western Sky At Dawn

I was getting the kids ready for school, so I opened the door and poked my head out to check the weather. I was greeted by the most stunning sky I’d seen in –well, we get a lot of stunning skies here, so I guess it’s been nearly a week since we saw that moon halo. Nonetheless, to see such beauty in the western horizon at dawn is a delight that knocks on the door of the still-sleepy heart.

Sky photography is not my gift, and for years I wouldn’t even try; but the magic camera from the future goads me to attempt the impossible. Occasionally I get a little bit lucky.

Rachel gets an iPhone

Rowan stretching

I tried explaining to my eight-year-old and her five-year-old sister that if you could magically transport eight-year-old me to today, and hand me this sleek thing with no buttons (or dial) and tell me it would be my personal telephone, that I would carry it everywhere I went, and it would enable me to talk to anyone, anywhere, and also to access all the information in the world (before we had a name for the Internet, before anyone knew it existed), just how unbelievably science fiction it would be. It would be this fantastic thing from the future, it would be Star Trek (which they don’t know about). It would be . . . like Magic Tree House.

I tell them sometimes how excited my Dad, the physicist, was, to have a pocket calculator. No, you couldn’t text people, you couldn’t take pictures, it didn’t have any games. You could do math with it, and that was exciting, because before that he used slide rules. It truly wasn’t that long ago, I’m truly not that old.

Please notice and appreciate the incredible revolution we are living in. We’ll save for another time discussions of rare earth elements and geopolitics, the environment, privacy invasion, identity theft, and child safety. Just think for a minute about how radically different life was for ordinary people twenty or thirty years ago (if you can remember that far back).

That is all. Thank you.

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