The Holy Fool
Walking on All Fools Day, me and my dog and enchantment at the edge of the pond.
Blue sky and sunshine made for a clear afternoon by the woodland pond. Bella scampered ahead as we walked slowly breathing in spring moment by moment. I found a bench and, sitting gazing out across the water, that was when I heard their song... I couldn’t see them at first.
Bella danced about around me, jumping up and then darting away so I couldn’t catch her and pick her up. “No” she said, “You can’t catch me!”. I wanted peace and quiet. Just sitting, such a pleasure on a fine spring day.
Eventually I got up and wandered to the waters’ edge. Or as near as I could get to it at least, with the boggy ground and reeds. It was then I saw who was singing. The water, which should have been calm on a day with no wind, was covered in ripples. It shimmered and pooled and ringed around the reeds and Alder and willow roots.
There! A glimpse. There! Another glimpse.
The water lifted up and sank and swirled. In between dry stalks and newly shooting green twigs the dark pond reflected their sky shapes. The singing was louder. Sweet chirruping all around.
Little heads appeared. Little bodies heaved up out of the water momentarily and then disappeared again. A foot here and there, making a small splash. My delight was spontaneous. Oh, what joy. What simple pleasure. How enchanting. How magical to witness their dance creating new life and hearing their joyous songs.
I tried to photograph them but no sooner did I point my camera than they disappeared. There, a little head surfaced nearby , but I was impatient and moving made the frog disappear in an instant.
Human families called to each other in the distance. Birds called to each other overhead. Frogs called to each other in the pond.
The Alders at the edge of the pond help to keep the water clear, and fresh and clean. They are the mangroves of our Northern climes, their roots very happy to be in the water. They, the willows and reeds providing safe haven for the little frogs. Like the frogs they too can live on land and in water. Alder is the bridge between both. It sits in a liminal place. It bleeds when cut. It was used for shields and it is said to be associated with death but I think too that it is life also for its protective qualities, and for the fact it turns red when cut. Red of course being representative of life and blood. It is also associated with the king Bran the Blessed who used his own body to span the waters so his troops could cross. Yes, Alder is a bridge between land and water.
The willows too shelter frogs, their root systems larger than their canopies reaching out to water. Their branches once broken can very easily root and grow. They are irrepressible life rising up again. Naturally enough they are associated with water goddesses like the Irish Boinn. Like frogs they too can sing as their wood is made into harps.
All Fools Day
The time of the Holy Fool, of innocence and joy found in simple things. I had a sudden realisation of what day it was and it struck me that I was indeed the fool accompanied by my little dog just as depicted in the tarot card of the same name. Walking and wandering enjoying the moment. Feeling at peace as I sat, I had realised the contentment I felt. In the tarot the dog might be said to be the chattering mind wanting attention while the fool wanders in simple pleasure. But I also felt the little dog can be spontaneous joy arising in the moment, a child-like innocence.