Fires, the Sun and the Stars

I am sat outside on a rug and I am looking at the golden outline of the horizon. Fingers of light are piercing the clouds. I have begun to drum and it is that time in the morning. The Sun is rising.

A fiery sliver peeps over the mountains and within minutes it emerges round and magnificent, beaming in every direction. A miracle! I am able to look directly at the light for the first ten minutes. I can feel the rays streaming directly into my eyes, cleansing and vibrating. Everything around me comes to life: colours glowing with warmth, the light catching the wings of the morning birds swooping down to the valley and the woods behind me hum as the bees begin to gently buzz.

 Giant cloud bird at dawn 

Giant cloud bird at dawn 

A good friend recommended this as a powerful practice and I have been getting up for the Sun most mornings for the last six weeks. It is always an effort to get out of bed at that hour, to make myself brush my teeth and splash my face with cold water when I would rather turn over and sleep. What spurs me on is that I have a date with someone exciting, one that won't wait! The moment I step outside and see the glowing sky behind the blue mountains in the East, all resistance leaves me. 

Sunrise is a good time to pray for those I love, and for those I don't love so much! it's a good time to bless the water all over the world and to thank the Earth, to remember that she is alive, that we are like mites upon the back of a whale so large we don't even realise she is moving and breathing as she carries us on her journey. It's a good time to think of all those elephants, whales, insects, tigers, fish and all those in trouble. It's a good time to ask for help with transforming war into peace, with turning hatred to love, to ask for wisdom and guidance. It's a good time to ask the infinitely powerful Sun for help with all of that. It's a good time to remember that we are all related.

 Sun rising over the Pre Alps

Sun rising over the Pre Alps

At the end of July, while driving to Manosque, I saw plumes of black smoke darkening the sky to the West. Forest fires were burning in the Vaucluse. Others started along the coast. The Mistral wind blew for three days, fanning dying embers and sending ancient pine woods up into flames, spreading a black, resinous smoke. It has been so hot and everything is so dry, it only takes a single spark from a hot machine, a barbecue or a careless flick from a cigarette. Sometimes fires even start where lightning strikes. Living right below the woods, high up on the hills where the wind blows, makes me very aware about how fast they can spread. So, even though I have had a month of delightful visits from friends and family, there have been no barbecues.

 Uncredited photo - thank you to the photographer.

Uncredited photo - thank you to the photographer.

On the twelfth of August, as a dear friend and I walked back from the village in the dark, we saw many stars streaking across the sky. Some, the 'earth grazers,' travelled horizontally, others fell vertically. One was so bright and it's tail so long, that we turned and reached for each other in excitement there on the rocky road. 'Did you see that?'

 Once home, we lay down upon a blanket in the garden and looked up at the dark dome above, pricked with bright stars . We were generously showered by at least forty or so etoiles filantes, so many that it became a challenge to think of another wish. So there in the dark, we silently remembered obscure friends, people we hadn't thought of in a long while.