August 6, 2019. After a long trip comes an indefinite period of prowling through camera images and phrases noted in journals, piecing together highlights of experiences to be savored (likely not repeated). In June we camped several days in the National Forest up above Cloudcroft NM, where we frequent in August for the annual Gathering Of Circles. This year our mountain time had to be earlier, as Gary’s school year shifted earlier. Tonight the Gathering begins; but yesterday teachers were already back at Stony Point High School. Since I cannot be at the Gathering, I am instead immersed in photos and memories of June’s mountain bliss. Wild irises were in bloom – something I’d never seen before, as they finish their cycle well before August. I found this haiku in my journal.
August 26, 2016. One more post stemming from recent camping in the Lincoln National Forest above Cloudcroft NM – as I continue to process the many photos, I relive memorable moments – some flowing into poems.
This magnificent hawk settled into his surveying roost on our first evening, when we were the only campers. We hoped he would return as this seemed likely one of his regular hunting grounds. But next day additional campers arrived, then more and more as the Gathering of Circles crowd rolled in from all over. No surprise the hawk chose to hunt elsewhere for awhile. Likely the many little underground burrowers needed a few days’ reprieve. Our hour of binocular hawk watching was a gift, one of a kind. The image below is from the camera of Gary Kendrick – he has the lens that can span a meadow!
August 16, 2016. More reflections from recent Gathering Of Circles (more at Gathering Of Circles on FaceBook).
In 2003, my first experience of GOC included a strong call to create a labyrinth! Located in the Lincoln National Forest, the protocol is “leave nothing, take only pictures”. My challenge was to find a weather-proof, terrain-adaptable portable labyrinth. Back home, gears turning, I improvised a “ribbons” labyrinth that fit into a duffel bag, thus fit into limited car space for transport. Ribbons are harness material from an equine supply – extremely durable for years of use.
In 2004, laying the labyrinth put me down on my knees alone on Mother Earth, for eight hours. Phenomenal experience. Subsequent years, the laying went a little faster, but always a ritual of focus and endurance. Time I savor still.
But I got older, less flexible, and had to stop laying the labyrinth. I missed it. Others missed it. And last year, I agreed to pass the materials to younger hands. This year Chris and Christine spread the ribbons, created the familiar path in a new location – beginning anew. My first walk was soon after sunrise, new light shimmering, ribbons inviting!
August 14, 2016. Recently returned from our annual Gathering Of Circles excursion, I have been reliving magic moments while processing photos. Some of the best moments were spent tip-toeing around on the mountain photographing horned toads – watching to be sure no toads were underfoot. They were incredibly well camouflaged. We were following a little toad’s maneuvers when suddenly aware of a very large toad a foot away, staring at us. What must toads think of humans lurking around? Likely we represented an unwelcome deterrent to ant-eating. They surely had no clue how we admired them, that they made our day. Hats off to Lanson Moles for his keen eye! And to Gary Kendrick whose ground pose conveys the mood of mindful enthusiasm.
The Gathering of Circles is an annual August event in the Lincoln National Forest above Cloudcroft NM. Elevation 9500. Temperatures ranging from 50’s to high 70’s. The Gathering consists of people from multiple states of mind and geography coming together for camping, ceremony, and workshops. For more information, see GatheringOfCircles on FaceBook.