A few years back I had a job as a trail guide in Northern California. I spent my summers finding alpine meadows and fresh water springs that would create an interesting hike for the tourist that came into the area. It was on one of these scouting that I came across Crone Pond. This was not the real name of this pristine alpine meadow that was above the 10,000 feet level. But it was the name I gave it because a fresh water spring bubble out of a pipe that was wedge between an old gnarly grey branch. This weathered branch was in the shape of a laughing old woman and the spring water seemed to bubble right out of her mouth.
When I found Crone Pond I just had passed through my menopause years and I was dealing with all the issues a woman goes through as the petals of ones beauty fades. And I must admit I have not resolved all the issues around being a woman, beauty and aging but in those moments of transition as I enter my elder years I like to remember the beauty of this day when I found Crone Pond.
I was driving up North Fork like I had so many times before looking for any dirt road I had never explored. I turned on to one of roads off the beaten path and I came to what appeared to be a deer hunter’s camp. There in the middle of what could of been a pristine forest piles of trash, broken whiskey bottles and empty gun shells were left behind. The forest had seemed to absorb the negativity that had been left behind by the hunters. The branches bared no leaves and were darken by some plight that had spread through many of the trees. People may not realize this but nature is at all times trying to purifies the thoughts and actions of humanity, but when the negativity out weights the strength of the forest the trees can fall into a state of disease. This happens on very subtle planes. Stop one moment and think about the collective whole thought process not to mention what can happen when our negative actions are also out alignment with Mother Natures natural purification process. This old hunting campsite was an example of the Earth just absorbing to much negativity. Death, violence and unconscious behavior laid on the land like a grey cloud of depression. I shook my head and moved on up to the higher road to look for a more suitable site.
I climb to a higher elevation and then what I came across was Crone Pond. This pristine alpine meadow may have only seen two and or three months out of year without snow, which offered a degree of purity that rarely found in the low elevations. I found the upper source of the spring above the pond. The spring bubble out of a mossy green earth mound in the shape of a vulva. Ahhh I sighed here is the Virgin aspect of the Earth Mother coming directly from source. As the stream of water made its way through the landscape it went underground and resurfaced again at the gnarled tree branch in the shape of the Laughing Crone. A few feet away another interesting shaped merged from a moss covered stone as a rock woman with green moss hair. A crown of alpine flowers blooming from her head turning her into the glorious queen of the meadow. I sat there seeing the three stages of woman in this little microcosm in nature. The Youthful Maiden, the full blooming Mother and the withering Crone laughing at the every changing and unfolding landscape.
Fifteen feet of fallen snow hide this alpine jewel from the feet and eyes of human traffic most of the year. Even when I found a few pieces of litter that had been left behind by careless campers when I picked up the garbage it felt clean. The snow had purified it. I had never had this experience before of picking up litter that actually felt clean. But the purification of snow had clean everything that was apart of this Sacred and Holy Ground. Even the trees that had died had turned into weathered artifacts sculpted by the winter winds and wild elemental forces. Death itself turned into a natural art-form, only to be admired for the beauty that was left behind. I sat down and reflected what was nature teaching me?
One part of the forest had absorbed so much negativity by human hands a grey depression laid over the land. Being human and going through human experiences can be just like this. We can absorb so much negative experiences all we have left is depression, old age, sickness and death. But Crone Pond was reflecting another side of the story but one would have to climb in elevation, at least in one’s mind to create such a pristine state in one’s life. The purification of the snow is symbolic of purifying ourselves, our experiences and how we view our experiences. The wildness of wind and the elements, removed the dead wood from old trees. It is a natural trimming process. We to need to stand strong when the wild winds of change come in our life and allow the trimming process to take place. When we allow what needs to fall away fall away we make room for new growth…even when we do not know what our next steps will be. Then by the very hands of the Sacred your life will become a work of art molded by the experiences of life and when death comes you will leave behind the traces of beauty. Beauty in the youth is a gift. Beauty in midlife is a cultivation. But Beauty in Old Age is a rare artifact only cultivated through wisdom, de-attachment, and allowing life have its way with you.
Written by Raylene Abbott