Chronicles of a Modern Pict

June 21, 2000


Solar Flys and Sun Flowers

Sitting at my desk, sipping a hot cup of brewed java, I watch the sun rise from behind a magnificent 200 year old sugar pine, and soak up the incredible solitude of the new morning. If only the spinning hard drive and fan of my computer were not necessary in order for me to write these words... My desk is actually a virtual laboratory connected by underground data cables to a grid of sensors and distant computers physically located in my laboratory, a five minute walk from here. Web-based computer screens of digital widgets and gadgets tell me in terms of precise solar units the moment the Sun approaches the horizon to share his energy, while on my desk are two little solar toys my daughter and I constructed that wait for their moment of solar contact to activate circuits and motors in an attempt to mimic life that they designed to artificially simulate. The Solar Fly, with its photo-voltaic wings and photo-sensitive eyes, charges up its capacitors with the first photons of the morning, and in a few seconds sends out a pulse of power to its small wheeled legs. Its eyes tell its simple brain which wheel to activate in order to find that part of my desk with the most intense sunlight. A corral of file folders, a stapler and a small statue of Yoda keep my little fly from quenching its inexorable thirst for sunlight in a Kamikaze-style dive off the edge of the desk. On the window sill sits a more rooted artificial life form, a stylized sunflower constructed from the same circuitry as the fly, but designed to point its digital inflorescence perpendicular to the suns ray, and then anxiously track the sun for the course of its path across the sky.

The Sun is life for me, and for the living and non-living ecosystem that now surrounds me. As a man, I am told that the Sun is the spiritual connection to my sex, the male God, the counter balance to the Moon, the Goddess. I tend to agree although I dance under the full moon each month, it is the solar events that fill me with maximum spiritual energy. This years solstice was a poignant and powerful celebration for me. My personal rituals are always outdoors in one of several sacred spaces that I have worked over the years. In my area of the world these spaces retain very strong energy from being the site of Cahuilla (native American) ceremonies for literally thousands of years. Some are registered archaeological sites, while others have yet to be classified. Anyway, I spend most of the day collecting herbs, 'talking' with animals, and sipping the sensory pleasures of pure nature while the apex of the Solstice draws near. This year my connections to bird spirits are really strong. I'm seeing more variety and numbers than in many years past, and the closeness I've encountered with many of them is amazing.

My spirit animals happen to be Eagle and Vulture, and I usually wear their feathers whenever I invite them into ritual. This year I decided to incorporate a Cahuilla "bird song" into my ritual in honor of my year of birds. I choose the Four Saints Lookout, the large outcrops to the east of my home, as the place for my ritual. I was sitting on the summit, facing south, a minute past the actual Solstice, and about two lines into my song, a darkness was momentarily cast across my face. I opened my eyes and all I could see was a huge dark silhouette. In the 3-4 seconds it took for my eyes to adjust, I realized that hovering less than 20 feet from me was a huge turkey vulture. I continued my song and the bird dipped his wings and began a slow circling around me, weaving in and out of my cone of energy. At this point my goose bumps were getting goose bumps, and as I finished the song my vulture came as close as arms reach before he silently flew towards the north and out of sight. It was a very good day... The Sun beckons, my cup is cold, and my toys are happy... so am I!


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