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Lines of Light | Lightwaves
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Lines of Light

November 27, 2010 by sylvie mazerolle
1,664 views

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I have been learning the land by assisting Sonni Greene in surveying the dips, bumps, grooves, swirls and curves of the 115 acres under the care of the ashram. Elevation points have been charted by inserting metal pegs and wooden stakes, marked with neon ribbons tied to trees, and recorded by way of an instrument and prism that render topographic maps.

When Swami Radha founded the ashram in Kootenay Bay in 1963, she came with a group of young men, one of whom (Michael Tacon) was a registered land surveyor. Having been instructed by her Guru to accept only donations for her teachings in the start up years, surveying became the more reliable and primary source of income. Only now, forty years later, is the ashram conducting surveying of its own terrains.

Lines in the shades of the full spectrum string to life the data gathered so far (some 8000 elevation points), and bring me back to the places I stood: the sweet smell of cedar, the glow of refracted waves on the rockface, the snow-kissed wind pouring from the neighbouring mountain peaks. From breathing, pulsing land to abstracted lines to remembered earth: what does it mean to reify land into rainbow-coloured maps? The simulacrum summons me into remembering what it felt like to stand for hours on a mound of moss, feet growing cold then frozen, yet completely enamored with the green carpet. Or that glorious November morning:

She who Weaves the Great Mystery

The sun is carving corridors of light above the meadow, blinding yet also revealing spiders’ webs and hundreds of hovering flies. A crow suddenly swoops into the pasture and then up again over the trees, heading west. An hour passes until we enter the forest. I sit on a log, waiting for the next station to be set up further east, and notice what looks like steam coming out of a tree.

The tree is transpiring! I can see it clearly because of the magnificient light cast by the rising morning sun, which I realize is also sending a lightbeam straight into the underbelly of my heart — a tiny yet sharp ray visible only if I incline just so, which I have done inadvertently to better admire the breath of the tree. Filled with light, suddenly I know I am breathing with the entire forest. All that is around me transforming into all that I already am…

Where the Ancient Ones Live

As I drape this piece of earth with angular and linear measurements, I feel the Great Mother standing behind me, whispering secrets in my ear. From Her, I learn the weave of the cedar roots and how to breathe from the sacred centre to reach out towards those around me; I learn the absorbancy of the moss and how to settle the bones into flesh; I learn the uneven ground and how to find the gravity line; I learn the breath of trees and how to thread lifeforce in and out and in again, in an endless cycle of dying and birthing.

By way of instruments, we are delineating the form of the land, extracting data shot by shot. From this laser precision, a bigger picture is being drawn, points strung into lines of light to help illuminate the ashram’s comprehensive land management project and move us deeper into the knowledge embedded in this sacred place.

Laying down a constellation of points like a blanket of stars…

5 Comments »

  1. Beautiful

    Comment by Sheila — November 27, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  2. This is quite sweet teachings from the land ~ beautiful way to listen to her, thank you for the inspiration.

    light

    Comment by gef — November 28, 2010 @ 12:20 am

  3. Poetic and moving description of how relating with and responding to the presence of the land, being with the life of it, is transformative and revealing.

    Comment by Alanda — November 28, 2010 @ 10:45 am

  4. Tes belles observations de la nature nous font réaliser que nous devons apprécier la nature tout en pensant à nos liens avec celle-ci. Ton texte est touchant! On a bien hate de lire la 2e partie… J et P

    Comment by Comment by Paul and Joanne — November 29, 2010 @ 6:51 pm

  5. Your poetic word choice touches and moves me; I feel I was there with you. Thank you, Sylvie.

    Comment by Terri — December 17, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

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