November 2017
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Aurilion's visit - my partner, Aurilion and I visit the Etowah Mounds


On the 8th my partner was off work, so we planned to go to the Etowah Mounds. My partner was a little iffy about it because it was due to pour down rain in the evening, but eventually I convinced zir that it wouldn't rain while we were there (because I know these things, and because weather.com said so), so off we went! It was glorious weather, hot but not blinding, overcast and cooled by liquid-wind. My wonderful partner drove while Aurilion and I sat in the back, and we listened to E.S. Posthumus, which is intensely meaningful music to all of us. Aurilion giggled silently for the longest time (ze could explain it far better, but as far as I understand, it is zir way of releasing/relaxing, almost like a more joyful sort of meditation).





my partner and Aurilion at Subway
((oh yeah, my partner cut zir long beautiful tresses. Ze raised money for CMN by having people at zir work vote with money, to keep it or to cut it. The "cut it" votes won :-p I do miss the long hair but it is much easier to run my fingers through now ;-)))

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Aurilion glances at my partner who refuses to look up for a photo

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Aurilion & Bel cuddle

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Aurilion & Bel laugh!

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*happy snuggles*


When we arrived, Aurilion and I went to the bathroom and my partner went into the visitor center, so we came in later than ze did. Right after I stepped inside, my partner asked the worker when the trees were cut down, and I thought ze meant that there used to be many more trees on the mound, so I said "there used to be more trees?" Then the worker started talking about the drought, and how one of the trees had fallen over, so they had been cut to preserve the mound. My heart stopped and I thought "Oh, God/dess, no, no..." Ze went on to explain how ze regretted it because some of the trees were hundreds of years old, and I didn't hear any more, just started walking toward the mounds, not even able to breathe, and then I saw the naked mound through the window and my eyes flooded... Oh God/dess. I could not speak, I just started walking as fast as I could toward the mound where the Elder tree had been, and I started crying, sobbing my eyes out, completely blinded by tears. I wasn't thinking anything except that I had to get there, I had to get there! I wept the whole way to the mound and up the billion shallow stairs, and when I got to the top I felt so disoriented, because the trees weren't there. I felt like I was offstep with the world. My partner came up to me and I sobbed out "where is it?" and ze took my hand, lead me to the stump and helped me down the mound so that I could touch it, sit with it. (Ze helped Aurilion down too and I could feel zir presence but I did not consciously realize it until afterward)


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this part is deeply sacred to me so unless you can give it the utmost respect and suspend disbelief, please skip to the second bar and do not read



When I reached zir, I cried out with my spirit "are you still here?" and ze answered me, "always. I will always be here for you." And I felt a deep sense of peace, and so much relief that the Elder Tree's spirit was not gone. I spirit-asked, "aren't you upset that they cut you down?" and ze reminded me of "Deep and Strong" and gave me a mental picture of a vast root system and said "My roots are where I live. I am a little sad that I no longer have shade or shelter to offer, but as long as my roots are here I will be here. And those who cut me did not do it out of selfishness or carelessness, they regretted having to do it." And ze communicated to me that ze was glad I came, glad I recognized the loss and felt it with zir. Ze was glad that I felt zir spirit because it was something ze could still offer. Ze comforted me and washed me in gentle love.

If it had not been for that, I would have mourned for a very long time. It was such a sacred experience that I have not been able to talk about it directly -- this is the first time I have shared it.





After a little while, my partner saw someone walking out of the visitor center and urged Aurilion and me back up (since we weren't supposed to be climbing on the slopes). Then I hugged on Aurilion and we went and sat in the center of the mound for a time. Both my partner and Aurilion treated me with such care, not trying to make me stop crying or squelch any emotion, just being with me in the middle of it. I was so grateful for that ♥





the stump of the Elder tree is in the center at top

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the empty mound :-(

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the stump of my Elder tree (I poured out an offering of water)

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me with the Elder Tree, last year. (I am so intensely, deeply grateful that I went last year and that my partner took these photos for me)

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now empty -- last year this beautiful tree stood there

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Then we made our way down the shallow steps and over to grove next to the river, and took many beautiful photos!




the Etowah River

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a gorgeous place of tall trees by the river

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Faery home! next time maybe I'll remember to bring my tiny faeries and let them play ;-)

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looking up

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reaching up

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twinned trees!

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I felt really sad...

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and content, at the same time

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Me with the willow again (last year -- I'm wearing the same hairclips!)

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my partner on a tree leaning over the river (ze wanted to climb further but there was a poison ivy vine :-p)

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my partner cleverly hiding

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my partner looking up

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I love the spring green leaves blowing in the wind!

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my partner! ♥

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Aurilion *melts*

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kissing my lover!

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content together

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Aurilion: :D
Bel: >:)

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Aurilion with zir hair blown back!

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Comments
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luscious_words ══╣╠══
My heart cracked at the description of the trees cut down and the photos showing their losses. But I'm glad you found peace there, still. *sends hugs*
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
thank you so much for the hugs and understanding *hugs back*
aubkabob ══╣tree sunset╠══
I actually had a lump in my throat, reading about the loss of the eldar tree. I'm glad you did find peace with it and heard its spirit.

I was thinking today that I don't talk to trees like I used to.
belenen ══╣treespirit╠══
♥ Thanks so much for understanding -- it means a lot to me *hugs*

I've had so much increase in faith lately about the tree part of my spirituality. I am looking forward to posting about it -- if you want a hint, get this book. If I say anything I'll explode into a billion words so I'm just going to leave it at that ♥
aliyna ══╣╠══
Oh shit, Bel.

That is so unbelievably sad. My eyes are all watered-up, now. I know how deeply you loved that tree and I vividly remember your descriptions of it.

Have you ever read Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree? Aside from the selfishness I always felt the main character exhibited, this very much reminds me of that. Though the tree can no longer offer shade and greatness, now it can offer a place on which weary visitors can rest and look out over the land.

Of course, in the book, it's the main character that cuts the tree down, and it's sad and selfish and terrible, and this is a much different situation.

Still sad though, Bel! =(

♥ Love for you and the tree spirit both.
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
*hugs you tightly* thank you so so much for your understanding and empathy -- it means SO MUCH to me ♥

*hugs again*
armandii ══╣╠══
OH, the tree! I feel so sad about it, and the photograph showing the stump - oh it is an amputation, so, so sad.
belenen ══╣tree wisdom╠══
*hugs* thank you so much for understanding ♥
folkchick3 ══╣greengirl╠══
I am so so very sorry for your loss.... :..-(
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
thank you ♥
febrile_lune ══╣╠══
I'm very sorry about your loss, but my heart stirs with more than just that. I'm touched by the peace you were able to find within the raw communication with the spirit of the elder tree.
I'm not often in touch with the earth in me, but I'm getting better about it. I'm finding I have a lot more than I thought. But I've always had special connections to trees and I understand not feeling ready to talk about them sometimes. There is so much I haven't shared about my tree friends because, well, I'm not sure why. Recently I woke up and told my friend I'd had amazing dreams, but once I started I realized I was just too exhausted to talk about them. The mental images and the feelings were still so fresh and I felt still... encapsulated by the beauty and meaning but I was just too tired to talk about them.
Then Irealized I wasn't just physically tired, I was just... overwhelmed and still letting it sink in.

It's like that with some things, such as my experience with my tree friends. Though instead of the physical tiredness component being there, it's almost the opposite.

Anyway.
I'm loving reading about your visit with Aurilion.
And loving these pictures.

All three of you are so adorable!! lol!

I love you.
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
Aw, thanks for the compliment! Ben's spirit really shone in these photos, I think.
belenen ══╣╠══
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
I'm sorry about the trees, but the three of you are quite gorgeous!
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
It was indeed so beautiful to be there with Ben - zir spirit really shone!
callmebee ══╣╠══
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
At my parents' house, there was a grove of trees at the end of the park that I would visit everyday. I could feel their spirit and they had names. They became diseased and had to be cut down. Though I understood it had to be done to save the other trees, it still hurt so much. But they have come to me in spirit since. ^.^

I can feel your pain with the elder tree but remember the tree is still there, its roots are still strong and will always be there.
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
ohhhhh wow. Wow ♥ thank you for sharing this. I can feel the pain and glory of it. *hugs*
the_amberly ══╣╠══
I am so sorry. I know how important trees can be. I'm glad that the tree was able to comfort you =). This makes me think I should go and visit my tree...

Those mounds are very interesting. Do you have a link to the history behind them?
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
thank you for understanding ♥

yep, here ya go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etowah_Indian_Mounds
musicandmisery ══╣abby - one is all we need╠══
I'm sorry if this seems silly as we really don't even know each other, but your words about that tree sent me to tears. I can only imagine how you were feeling. I have an enormous pine tree right in front of my house that my parents want to cut down (pine cones are everywhere and bothersome at times due to it) and when they first mentioned it tears flooded my eyes. It's been there forever. Ever since we moved into the house and years and years before that. And I love it so much. It gives me so much peace and so many nostalgic, joyful memories. They've let the subject go for now, but I can't bear to think of them actually going through with it.

That and we use to have this beautiful little gully next to our house. With a small little brook and big rocks and wildlife and flowers and plants. And when our now neighbors bought the property next to us, they asked if they could fill it in for the safety of their children and my parents obliged. It makes me so sad to look at the mound that's there now. It was such a sacred place for me and my sister when we were little. We would sit on stumps and stones and just talk and talk. Say hi to squirrels and chipmunks. Save baby bats, discover new treasures. It's amazing the pain that is brought fourth by the destruction of nature.

Anyway, on to happier things, you and Aurilion are absolutely stunning. All of you are beautiful, especially set against that breathtaking green backdrop. :)
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
Thank you for the compliment!
belenen ══╣╠══
deleon ══╣╠══
I am so glad the tree spirit was able to comfort you as it did. This post brought tears to my eyes. Aurilion and you have the same stunningly beautiful smile.
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
Aw, thank you for the compliment!
belenen ══╣╠══
diepunyhuman ══╣gentle╠══

I feel some vicarious bit of anger/upset that the tree is gone as well. I don't know why this is, but I understand your feelings completely.

And wow... Aurilion is lovely. And very easy to fall in love with, if only through photos. :)

Thanks for sharing, as always...
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
Awww, thank you! I really appreciate your words. And what a beautiful icon, I might add.
diepunyhuman ══╣╠══
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
diepunyhuman ══╣╠══
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
austentatious ══╣╠══
I didn't get a chance to hear about your relationship with the Elder Tree, but I am so sorry that you had to go through an experience like that. :( It sounds like it was very emotionally trying. However, I am also SO glad that the Tree's spirit was able to communicate zir love for you.

I teared up during your description, and it reminded me really strongly of The Giving Tree, which I love to read despite the fact that I bawl through it every time. Haha. It's beautiful.
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
awww, thank you so much for empathizing ♥ it really means a lot to me.

*hugs!*
frecklestars ══╣coquette╠══
The photo of Aurilion sitting by zirself (I think that's right?) made me melt too. Just...wow.

Despite the Elder Tree's reassurance to you, I'm still sorry. Many hugs and some tears, after I'd finished reading.
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
*is tickled*

hey, would you like to be friends? I think we'd get along really well.
frecklestars ══╣╠══
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
painted_dreams ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
moon_orchid ══╣Solitude╠══
Your sharing reminded me of the first time I saw a clear cut forest. I surprised myself by my weeping, and Arthur just listened to my anger and sadness. I am sorry for your loss, and take comfort in your comfort. Wow, what a beautiful tree.

We have a big beautiful native cottonwood tree in our backyard that sings silently. You should meet her sometime.

:)
belenen ══╣tree elder╠══
oh, yes. :-( they recently slaughtered a stand of trees nearby and every time I drive by and see the naked earth it fills me with such sadness that I get nauseated. I don't understand why people can't just clear the bits they actually need to build on and leave the other parts alive. :-(

Ohhhh, that sounds amazing -- you are so blessed! I would love to meet your cottonwood sometime ♥
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.