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Monday Photo Meditation: Reclamation

Adobe Ruin

The Falling Leaves Moon is on the wane, and with it, the year.

Truth be told, there are not many leaves left to fall now, although those that blanket the ground remains mostly gold. An early turn, and a few early storms, together felled most before they could shift from amber to copper to bronze.

In my way, the new moon only a week or so hence is the Freezing Moon (some call it the Freezing Over Moon), but if the forecast holds, the freeze will come tonight. And the next. And the next.

Oh, we’ve had plenty of sub-freezing temperatures here already, but this will be the sort of freeze that only come with the rain, and then the snow: the sort that drives all leaf to ground and thence into it, the  more easily that the earth may reclaim it.

This downward slope of autumn is a season of reclamation.

I know that most think of it as death, decay — at best, dormancy — but a culture that fails to understand the role death plays in life, decay in renewal, fails to understand existence. For it is reclamation that leads to renewal; it is the shedding of matter not long for the living, the decaying tissue of the year, that the earth reclaims and uses as fodder, as food, as sustenance to midwife the world into being again in spring.

Even if that were not the case, however, it wouldn’t matter; death is a faît accompli for us all. Mother Earth will have her own, and her due, irrespective of human desires.

It’s true, too, of the works of human hands: Earth claims it all eventually, and reclaims her own to her own purposes. The old adobe is proof of this truth: Earth to earth and dust to dust, mix and mortar and masonry all only the thinnest of barriers in the end. In a place where shelter rises up out of the earth itself, of the earth itself, it is the age-old act of emergence writ in cosmic terms, and a reminder that the cosmos will reclaim us, too, one day.

This is not a bad thing.

In a dominant culture where it has now become facile to pronounce that “water is life,” where “the earth is sacred” has become a shibboleth of colonizers, as though proof against their own conduct, it is a misconstruction of our peoples’ relationship to the earth to traffic in such tired clichés.

We are of the earth, and the earth is of us; we are her, and she is us.

And she will always, always reclaim her own.

~ Aji





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