The Moon of the New Grass
February 24, 2013 by Bill
My brothers and sisters of the Lakota and Cheyenne people called this time of year in their calendric system, “the moon of the new grass… new life… new renewal.” They knew this, naturally, living so close to the rhythms of the natural world.
Within those rhythms we are moving now into the month of March, of new grass, new life and new renewals. I have my calendar of the soul that is far more accurate than the printed one on my desk. It tells me that nature says the new year is here, with bursting buds and warm earth and fresh new leaves dancing and quaking on bare winter branches.
I am not alone in calling this “moon of the new grass” and renewal the beginning of my new year. The ancient Jews, Egyptians and Greeks all had early March as the beginning.
It is the time of year when “Hyla crucifer” begins to call. The little peeper makes a calculation which would baffle a meteorologist. He takes into consideration humidity, temperature, length of light and darkness, and knows when the rhythm of renewal has come. He inflates a little bubble in his throat and sends out a clear note audible for half a mile. At that point, something older than any mythological god has risen. THE EARTH IS ALIVE AGAIN. ALIVE, with new grass, new life, new beginnings.
Where is it that I most fully experience this glorious new time of the earth coming to life? For the entire twenty years of my full time residence in Palm Springs, I have never been able to say “thank you” enough for the glorious gift of the sacred canyons of the Cahuilla Indians as a spiritual retreat that truly “transcends language.” When you drive through the gate and enter a magical and mystical world of the sacred earth… with no fences… no telephone poles… no visual pollution… and go sit by the stream with the tranquil sounds of water bubbling and trickling, you can rewind… REWIND your mind/brain/soul/spirit back into another time frame. Where the flow and rhythms of the universe, the seasons of the new leaves quaking over new grass… the seasons of spring and fall equinox, the winter and summer solstice and the times of the full moon still nurture the land, the four-leggeds and two-leggeds, the feathered ones of the air… raven and red tailed hawk… and everything and all that has evolved from the same FIRST SOURCE.
In Zen Buddhism they say that “the highest modes of experience transcend the reach of any language.” And so it is. How can I, through words, describe what I feel in the desert rain? The fragrant odors, the rich aroma of an earth moist and alive. Rolling sounds of thunder waking the earth from its restful slumber, as they say in the Taos Pueblo, followed by dazzling rainbows receiving a standing ovation from the little red flames on the tip of the Ocotillos. And the Candle of the Lord, the eloquent creamy white blossoms shooting up high on their great spike of the Yucca.
When sitting on a rock slab, in the midst of all of these miracles of the natural world in the Indian Canyons, I always find joy in letting my mind and emotions play with deep and significant questions. How is it that we are all connected in some marvelous and mysterious way to this cosmic dance of solstice and equinox? This something unknown doing we know not what. I am in awe gazing at the wild flowers. A long, long time ago, there were no flowers. And then, just before the Age of Reptiles, there was a soundless explosion that lasted over a million years. It was the emergence of the angiosperms, the flowering plants. And from these flowers came the mystifying emergence of man. The flowers have a long memory in their seeds, and I too, as I remember that my very existence as Homo sapien depends on these flowers.
And I think that the flowers of a rainy Spring, and the grasses of a showery Summer are good and beautiful and sufficient, even though they will shortly vanish.
Here in the Indian Canyons, I live surrounded by miracles, and I realize that we humans are only a very small part, a unit of one, symbiotically related and dependent upon all the other billions of protoplasmic relatives.
The Canyons remind me that we must come to terms with non-physical reality. We came from non-physical reality and we will return to non-physical reality, two realities which are yet ONE. Every moment of our lives we are being influenced by other energies from non-physical realities. It is like ultraviolet light, microwave light and infrared light and many other ranges of frequencies which coexist with our visible light spectrum and yet are invisible to us. Solstice and Equinox remind me that we live in the midst of and are supported by mysteries beyond our comprehension. “This Mystery” as Albert Einstein wrote “that is the source of all true art and true science.”
The desert speaks to me of endurance and flexibility, silence and solitude. The living forms of the four-legged and the two-legged, the winged ones of the air and the crawling ones on the ground adjust to the heat of the day and cold of the night. And the great, lush oasis of the desert canyons remind us of the Yin and Yang of nature and how it cares for its own. Long after our artificial cities have crumbled… the desert, with its timeless beauty, will once again call to those who have survived.
When confused and fragmented by city chaos, perhaps it is in the desert, and the precious gem of the Indian Canyons, that in silence and solitude we find our spiritual oasis.
Having personally experienced a recent major “LIFE RENEWAL” with a new aortic heart valve… driving out again to the Canyons several days ago… I sat by that sacred water, in that sacred place, with soft light flickering through the palm leaves. I had once again to just throw up my hands to the sacred and mystical presence of WAKAN TANKA, the great Mystery of the Lakota and Cheyenne, the Mystery who gave these precious and magnificent Indian Canyons to the Cahuilla… who have allowed us to share in their grandeur and gift to our sense of wonder, awe, and balance. To that same Mystery…who is a presence and protector of many Indian traditions… I threw up my hands and offered a verbal affirmation of THANK YOU, to the Mystery and to the Cahuilla… THANK YOU.
A thought for your meditation: Spiritual consciousness is our being, the context of life itself. Expanding consciousness is always a risky business for it endangers the vested interests of the status quo.