Monday, June 22, 2009

Litha 2009

I did not have an opportunity to have any kind of ritual or celebration for this Sabbat. I was on a kayaking trip, but it turned into one of the most magickal experiences I've ever had.

The trip brought me to a part of the river with which I was very familiar. It is my favorite place to paddle, and there are many plants and creatures to see.

On the trip, I had an opportunity to paddle this creek at dusk. They launched us well apart from each other, so it seemed like we were on the water alone, but we weren't really alone because that is not safe. We were told not to use any lights and to refrain from talking.

I know this creek. I know its turns, its shortcuts, and its obstacles. Paddling in the growing darkness was no problem for me at all. I think the familiarity of the water made it that much more special for me, because I did not have to focus on where I was going, and what I needed to avoid hitting. Instead, I could listen to the sounds of the night, the sound of my paddle in the water was almost an affront to the gentle murmurs around me.

At one point, just before crossing under a bridge, I saw two juvenile Barred Owls. Some little bird was picking on them, and they flew over the creek, screeching at it. I had only seen an owl in the wild once before; I passed one sitting on the side of the road. This was two owls!

Passing under the bridge brought a chorus of night sounds, where before it had been very soft. I paddled as far as I could, to where navigable water ends at a vast beaver dam. There was a breach, which I knew from an earlier day paddle, and the water joined with the creatures singing their night songs.

On the way back, the paddlers gathered near the bridge. A group from the trip walked there to try to call out some owls. I had already seen two, I knew they were there. At the recorded sound of the Barred Owl's cry, those two young ones and four others hooted in agitated reply. 

It was a family, two adults and their brood of four. They stood in a tree, flapping their silent wings at us, then glided hauntingly across the creek one by one. They hooted there for a while before soaring back across the creek. It is so hard to even attempt to explain the majesty of these creatures, and how being in their presence caused me to weep with the beauty of it, of the night.

I can think of no better way to have spent this Sabbat.

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