A Neighborhood Ancestor

In the latter half of the 2000’s, the ongoing development boom in my area swallowed up a venerable affordable-housing complex nearby. I was a bit cynical about the developers’ promise to build new units, but they did. A few years after it opened, the space between it and the office building next was made into a park dedicated to a former Arlington County Board chair- Ellen Bozman. The park- Ellen’s Trace- is a lovely, quiet refuge from the urbanized area, and has plaques celebrating Bozman’s long career of service to the community. She was champion of smart growth for the area, and a passionate advocate for integrated social service programs, public transit, public education- and fair housing, which made the placement of the park even more appropriate.

I got one of those “Is it an idea or a little poke from the spirits? Does it matter?” pings- Ellen Bozman is an Ancestor for Arlington, and the park makes a fine shrine and memorial to her. I felt I needed to do some more work to make this manifest, though. To start with, I found out her birthday (April 21st, today as a matter of fact) and resolved to walk the park, reading the plaques an placing flowers on that day or as close as I could.

I also found that there was no Wikipedia page for her and I decided to fix that. See the link above- it took a little wrangling with the site guidelines about photos and such, but it was worth it. I’m proud to say that it was the very first page I created for the site, and I’m happy to see that others have added to it.

Hail Ellen Bozman!

The Duergarbok

Some years ago, I was commissioned by Andvari to write a poem about His folk, the Duergar.  Raven Kaldera asked me to submit it as a contribution to the book about the Duergar that Asphodel Press was going to be putting out.
 
Well, the book is out and my poem’s in it!
 
The Duergarbok: The Dwarves of the Northern Tradition
 
I’ve had a chance to read an advanced copy and the whole thing is very well done- great writing, fascinating content, and put together with appropriate craft and care.  Especially recommended for followers of Spirits of Craft and Making, and/or those interested in the Northern Tradition.

 

Outside Time

I reread Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising every year, starting on the solstice and ending on Twelfth Night (the duration of the book).  It’s an important book to me, full of magic and wonder, and I count it as one of the influences that set me on the path to Paganism.

There’s some things in it that are even more relevant to me now than when I discovered it.  An example is this quote, from the chapter titled (of all things ) “Christmas Day”:

“Everything that matters is outside Time.  And comes from there and can go to there… the part of all of us, and of all the things we think and believe, that has nothing to do with yesterday or today or tomorrow because it belongs at a different kind of level… all Gods are there, and all the things they have ever stood for.”

This rings true for me, and not in just a metaphorical or archetypal sense, either.  Although we incarnate into bodies that experience time, we have an eternal part.  And the Powers exist mainly in the eternal, although they can reach into time to interact with us and the world.

Glacier Bay

We took a trip to Alaska last month, and one of the stops was Glacier Bay National Park. It was awe-inspiring and beautiful, and the spirit of the place was very evident (even to a cement head like me).  Maybe it’s because everything is so new there- I tend to think of “natural wonders” as being impossibly ancient, but the fjords of the bay formed very recently- since the peak of the Little Ice Age in the 1700s, as a matter of fact.  There was something very raw and brash and youthful about the place.

Johns Hopkins Glacier

Crack! and rumble as we face the
Wall of ice; a woman behind me
Murmurs “white thunder”, and lightning
Ices my spine. More chunks tumble
And splash as the delayed crash follows.
Hard to find a scale to size it
Until the eye, the mind grasps
That those tiny curved dark dots
Are harbor seals, five hundred pounds
Or more, hauled out on the floes
(Oblivious to the plummet of blocks
Bigger than them). Blue glow
Shimmers in the serried spikes along the
Glacier top, and all is quiet for an
Intake of breath while our ship pivots.
Then a span of the ice-face fails
Its hold, spouts and plumes at first,
Then it all merges as the wall dissolves
At one point, fountaining high before
The roll of sound reaches us. A wave
Heaves up, spreads, touches the hull,
Rocks us gently, massive, implacable,
Before passing down the bay towards the sea.