By Myra Dutton
Idyllwild, the Sacred Mountain
“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”
The magical, fleeting moments of living so close to the sky infuse our days with a sense of connection to the Source. Clouds pass by so intimately we become part of them, part of the air we breathe, part of the universe. Stars, unfolding into constellations, rise above the horizon in giant sweeping images of animals, water bearers, birds of paradise, charioteers and altars, while the full moon casts visible emanations across the vault of night, recharging the mountain range and all that lives upon it. We feel we have invisible wings, tucked under our shoulder blades, and that it is time to shake them free.
From our mountaintop, local astronomers can see the Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, where man first walked on the moon. Early astronomers thought lunar marias (Latin for “seas”) were large bodies of water because they were flat, expansive, and bluish in color. However, they are actually basaltic plains formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.
The same basalt that exists on earth exists in the heavens.
Our forest acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth, welcoming the stars and moon with open arms and anchoring that energy into the depths of our planet. Those of us fortunate enough to reside in Idyllwild are not bound by the same gravity as those who live in the flatlands. Nor is there a frenetic jumble of places to go and things to do. “The sea of tranquility” watches over us, encompasses us, streaming consciousness into our hearts, rocking us gently as we sleep.
Our overview of the valleys below instills an ancient presence within us, one with the indigenous peoples who lived here before us. We watch the comings and goings of the rest of the world as we would watch the workings of a busy, teeming anthill. We, too, feel we are guardians of nature. Our national forest of pines, cedars, and oaks is ours to protect and cherish. It is no surprise that we follow the progression of seasons, just as we follow the movement of the moon and the stars. We learn the ways of nature and become them: forests, streams, mountains, clouds, birds, and animals are our guides. We listen to the Earth and move deeper into the circle of life.
In December and January, we feel the need to hibernate, to go into the cave and incubate new ideas, keeping them safe from outer influences. It is a great time to write, if you are a writer, or to finish a project that requires intense focus.
In February, we sense the grass stirring underground. A hint of warmth tells us spring is coming. Blue jays, the first birds to return to the mountain, begin making their haphazard nests in the most unlikely places.
In March and April, squirrels, deer, raccoons, and bobcats give birth and nurse their young. Ravens, robins, bluebirds, and towhees return to build their nests and dash about with twigs and found fluff in their beaks. Then there is the quiet that follows, while they sit and wait, almost in a trance. Creation reigns. Trees and bushes flower profusely in celebration.
In May and June, eggs hatch everywhere. Baby birds outgrow their nests and the first courageous ones take flight. The babies that didn’t make it, the ones thrown out of their nest by marauding blackbirds, are sadly found on the ground. Swallowtail butterflies return again to mate on our mountaintops.
In July and August, Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies are found in profusion. Their vertical, spiral, mating dance has paid off. Monarchs, Painted Ladies, and Fritillaries come down from the mountaintop into our backyards. My garden, with 20 butterfly bushes, is a major attraction.
September and October bring the brightest azure blue skies. Indian summers frequently offer warmth and keep the autumn-colored leaves on the trees until November. Autumn is my favorite season here. The lighting glows magically, and it is the perfect time for photographers.
November and December bring us back to winter. The magic of the winter solstice completes the circle, preparing us for the next round of seasons.
On this sky island, at this time in history, may you reconnect with the “sea of tranquility,” where peace is the norm, not the exception, and where nature is alive and well, awaiting your arrival.