Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Smell of Forests

It is unseasonably hot today, and humid. More like late June than early May. And I have realized that it is the sugar maple that says "summer" to me. Now that the familiar shapes of sugar maples have taken back their female roundedness on the hillsides and edges of fields, my heart says it is summer. Even when the mercury drops again--as it surely will, as it always does in early May--I will be in summer now.

It is Beltane, and the woods are awake and full of life.

Walking in the woods today was like nothing so much as making love. Never mind the tracks and sounds and movements of animals, or the many small flowers on the forest floor, the smells of the woods were sensuously overwhelming. I kept opening my lungs as deep as I could, breathing in the scent of May woodland the way one can breathe in the scent of one's beloved.

It made me remember the weekend, when Peter and I were in the first, utterly-stoned-on-love stage of our relationship, when we stayed at Temenos together. I remember being wrapped around each other, damp with sweat as I am tonight from the humidity, smelling the scents of the forest around us and hearing the rustling of the leaves overhead, tangled together on the small deck at Knoll Cabin.

Bursting with lazy delight, we invited in the God of the Greenwood.

Deep in our hearts, we heard him laugh. He was too big, he seemed to answer. (Of course, a god can be any size he wishes. Perhaps he meant, we were so in love, the size of the god we were reaching for was vast--as large as the forests of all the world.)

Images: Maple leaves, Bruce Marlin, Creative Commons License 2.5; Green Man, Sally Holmes, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0


Erik said...

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. - e.e. cummings

I'm frequently not a fan of modern poetry, but sometimes I glimpse a Truth in it - and I think cummings' leaping greenly Truth is the same as this, or nearly so.

Our 15th wedding anniversary is later this month, and we are going into our own beloved leaping greenly heart's-place in the NC mountains, to be together with all the gods that grow on those hills, and breathe their Spirit. It is good to have such places, and such Gods.

dmiley said...

Garrison Keillor- The Writer's Almanac
Young Dawkins- from the book The Lilac Thief

Letter to my unborn child

6 weeks later but the same idea :-)

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Thanks, Erik; thanks David.

Lovely poem, that Letter to My Unborn Child.

Thanks again for stopping by. Erik, may your greenly heart's place be all that you and yours recall.

RuthCD said...

A quick thank you - for the original post, and also to the other readers who have posted comments about Letter To My Unborn Child. The poet, Young Dawkins, is my husband, and it was an enormous pleasure and privilege for him to have his work read by Garrison Keillor. It has been just as wonderful to see wee mentions of the poem here and there on blogs like this one, by people who heard or read it, enjoyed it, and have shared with others.

We are in Edinburgh, where Beltane is well celebrated, and the poem is a true story.

Thanks again for your support and interest. Please feel free to drop Young an email at or become a fan of his on Facebook.

Best, Ruth

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