Most people might head off to the pool during a warm sunny day like today, but me and my girls took off to spend a peaceful morning in the local cemetery. I wasn’t gathering any dirt this time, since I collected plenty during Beltaine, when the Ladies of Bristolwicks gathered.
Graveyard dirt– bottled and labeled all neat and tidy– was one of the items that I offered at our new-age yardsale, and it’s one of the items I sell at my online shop. During our yardsale, one lady showed up and worked her way down the tables, chatting with us as she did so. She came to the bottled dirt and stopped dead in her tracks– “Why would anyone want to buy graveyard dirt?”, she asked to no one in particular, in a very loud and brassy voice. “I’ve been getting that for years! What’s the big deal– take a pail and shovel to the cemetery.”
I chose to ignore her bad manners. I could have, but didn’t, tell her that not everyone may be comfortable in cemeterys, and there are people who may not be comfortable disturbing the ground.
The girls and I were going to the cemetery this morning to visit Mother Willow:
She’s a majestic old willow tree complacently growing in a wide green swatch of ‘no man’s land’, between the protestant section of the cemetery and the catholic section. She seems to love where she is, and the birds and other wild things love her just as much.
At Beltaine, after gathering our cemetery dirt, the Ladies and I left four silver coins with Mother Willow as an offering for the soil. The willow has a hollow spot in the center of all those large limbs, a spot large enough for me to step into. We buried our silver coins there back in May:
The silver coins of Beltaine were gone, of course. But my youngest daughter buried another coin as a token for some willow wands we gathered from the those lying on the ground. My daughters and I spent some time then, with Mother Willow, enjoying her beauty and wondering at the secrets she keeps.
As the sun rose high overhead, and the heat of the afternoon descended, we reluctantly left the peace of this place and the comfort of this tree.