|The decaying one-half of One.|
A sympathetic wanderer on the same trail who also lamented the loss
of these familiar denizens indicated that they are Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus).
"I know that all beneath the Moon decays..."
A belated "Poetry for the Esbat," because we were busy constructing Mushroom Shrines & preparing for the arrival of a special guest & of course, we were foraging...
If you step into the forest now, you can smell the highbush cranberries (Viburnum edule). They are rotting.
This is a sure sign that the foraging season is screeching to a close & yet I love that familiar, dank, heady odour.
I had chosen the poem below for that reason -- the decay, the inevitability of endings, the reliability of impermanence.
What I did not anticipate was that this poem, chosen for the Esbat, when the Moon is at Her fullest, was that it would take on an even more poignant & relevant meaning to us.
We began our Mushroom Moon Shrine assemblage as usual, by collecting a wide variety of beautiful fungi from the trees & forest floor. Cheerful & diminutive seemed to be the theme of the day.
But as we passed thru the territory of the mating pair of raptors, (ironically?) discussed in the previous post's comments, I noted that they were peculiarly quiet, or absent...
And my husband, my mate, was suddenly drawn to a Devil's Club (Oplopanax horridus) leaf he mistook for a mushroom. I cannot recall what he said, or if he gasped, or groaned, but there, beneath the leaves of the Devil's Clubs & ferns was the decaying body of one of our beautiful, avian forest neighbors.
The bird appears to have been shot for sport & left to rot under the still, watchful gaze of our Moon.
Of it's mate, there was no sign.
But how can you blame the creature? If I witnessed the loud & violent death of my beloved, I would never return to that haunted place either.
And so, this is the way of things. There is no real sense to it. However, there is an Order.
But my heart still hurts.
And I am reminded & know that all beneath the Moon decays...
"I know that all beneath the moon decays"
by William Drummond of Hawthornden
I know that all beneath the moon decays,
And what by mortals in this world is brought,
In Time’s great periods shall return to nought;
That fairest states have fatal nights and days;
I know how all the Muse’s heavenly lays,
With toil of spright which are so dearly bought,
As idle sounds of few or none are sought,
And that nought lighter is than airy praise.
I know frail beauty like the purple flower,
To which one morn oft birth and death affords;
That love a jarring is of minds’ accords,
Where sense and will invassal reason’s power:
Know what I list, this all can not me move,
But that, O me! I both must write and love.
I hope your Esbat was indeed blessed, my friends.