Shawnee Mission Park

A couple of days ago I went to the park.

This wasn’t a casual visit. This park is a place where I had spent a lot of time as a youth, developing both magical, social, and romantic skills. And I had not been there in a great while.

See, recently, I had an experience that seemed innocuous enough, but was actually very powerful and has changed how I view and do a lot of things. It just happened to coincide with my reading of a fiction book with a depiction of wizardry that spoke very strongly to me. So I’m changing a lot of thing about myself and my practice.

And part of this has actually been reclaiming techniques and practices that I used to play with when I was younger, but I shied away from because  I was afraid to lose myself in them.

I’m not afraid anymore. (Or at least not as much.)

So I went back to one of my old sacred places and did some work relearning somethings I had moved away from.

I liveblogged a lot of the experience on Tumblr, but I want to present it as a whole here.

I started at a small pond near the entrance that has a small island in it.

This is a popular spot for young couples to come and cuddle. It is also a popular spot for budding witches and magicians to try and touch something deeper.

I used to do both here.

Seemed like a good place to start.

Many years ago, I came here with some friends, one of whom had some deep emotional and psychic scars. Something rode her when we left, and getting it to leave was my first experience with casting something out. I cast out to see if something like that was still there. It wasn’t there in the day, but I connected with a tree that was willing to talk about it.

This is important, because talking to trees is something that I don’t normally do, and isn’t that easy for me.

The tree explained that the land was still angry about the sudden construction of the damn that forms the lake. And people come to enjoy the lake that shouldn’t be there, and it gets made at them. Because it wants things to go back to how they were (or at least progress slower). I tried to reassure the land that things would revert back in time, and that while it may be a long stretch for us meatbags, the time on the land’s scale would be relatively brief. I felt a bit of tension release, and went back to the tree.

The tree said it actually enjoys watching the young lovers that came to bask in its shade. Sex is far different for a tree, and it has an appreciation (fetish?) for the way we pair off, and the way we can be close to one another.

This is what it told me:

Do not rush love, young child, especially if you know it to be there. It must have time to grow. Fruit pulled too soon leaves a bitter taste. With patience, it will fall ripened of its own. You have simply to hold out your hand and catch it.

Seems like good advice.

I moved on.

Long ago I wooed young ladies on this dock. The dock is different now, but the romance is the same.

I went out to the dock and dipped my feet in the lake. I was very aware of its depths and the life within it. I was also aware of its flow, and its own awareness of its temporary nature. Water needs to move, and it understood this. It wasn’t bitter that it was artificially created, but was aware that eventually nature would take over and it would empty itself downstream.

I am emptied and filled anew constantly, yet I endure. What comes to me leaves its mark, yet I let it go freely. I exist as a consequence, and I am the embodiment of impermanence. Be wary of the secrets in my depths, young child, for in seeking them you will surely drown. What you need will surface of its own.

Lakes are very Zen.

It spoke to me a bit more about the dangers of seeking what I am not ready for, and accepting what comes to me. And it was pondering death a lot, possibly because of the coming winter. But it accepted that all things move on and pass on and change form. Such is its nature.

The lake is manmade. Because this was built across the creek.

This dam holds back the water, at least for a time. It has spillovers and other things to allow the water to continue to flow downstream. But mostly it keeps the lake there.

So I went to the lee of the dam and sat down, and connected with the earth.

The dam was very aware of its adversarial relationship with the lake. It holds the lake back, allows the lake to be. But the lake constantly undermines it, and will eventually wear it away. The dam understands that its very existence and purpose is futile, but does it nobly anyway. The land itself knew it would eventually die. That’s pretty powerful for us short-lived meatbags.

The land is aware of its own mortality. And the brevity of our lives and the way we shape the land makes that more evident.

I embody strength. Daily I hold back the force of the Lake. But for all my strength, it will eventually win, wearing me down over time. We both persist because I allow it a venue of release, but one day, that will not be enough, and we shall both perish. Beware of holding back your passions, young one.

They struggle against each other daily, monthly, and yearly. And they will die together. Shakespeare envies this tragedy.

There is another place that I used to frequent in my younger days.

This tower was the result of the donations and work of a local club back in the 60’s, when people still did such things on their own. It has been repainted several times since I used to visit. The key feature of this tower back in the 90’s was that people would go up to the top and write bad poetry, which of course they thought was insightful and poignant. Some of the graffiti was pretty smart, but it was overshadowed by the whiny, self-indulgent crap that could later fuel the development of emo kids and hipsters.

Except mine. My poetry was awesome.

Magic was done at the top of this tower on a few occasions. It is a hotspot for sexual and ecstatic energies, and led to some interesting results.

I used to kiss pretty girls here. I hope to again someday.

I attempted to contact something while on the tower, and was somewhat able to connect to the South Wind, which is a very powerful force in Kansas and was blowing rather briskly. It was very fickle, though, and was far more interested in separating my hat from my head. As it had done so many years before.

The wind’s interest in me was playful and amusing. The yellow jackets that started gathering at the top of the tower, not so much. So I left.

I really need to more fully explore this connection to stinging insects.

Next to the tower is a field, which leads to the edge of the park and a small wooded area behind the archery range. And this is one of my favorite places in the park.

I’m fairly certain that this cliff is artificial, and that this hole was a quarry at some point, probably for material to build the dam (and possibly for the National Guard Armory nearby.) 15 years ago those trees were not there.
I sat in the old spot my friends and I used to come to, which was much harder to get to, as the trees and shrubs had penetrated the stone and blocked off the path. Somehow, it makes me happy that this spot is harder to get to.
When it rains, there are little waterfalls as the runoff dribbles down the cliff. In the winter they freeze. It’s very pretty.
The land here is silent, just beginning to recover from the damage done to it. The serenity is peaceful, but it is also the sound of land in shock at the trauma it has been subjected to. Trees and erosion further tear at stone that would be otherwise far more resistant and part of a more gently sloping hill.
As I pushed through the trees, I had a flash of insight: stone is terrified of plants. They take root within it, and sprout up so fast, causing catastrophic damage in the process. Trees are like flesh-eating bacteria for rock: sudden and lethal.
Incidentally, I was also visited by a swarm of tiny bugs. I didn’t even notice the little bastards until I looked at my arm after taking the above picture. They were very tiny, and I’m pretty sure they were freshly hatched ticks. There were dozens of them on my arm, and brushing them off was futile — I had to rub dirt on my arm to get them to let go. I have at least a dozen very itchy bites on my arm from this ordeal, and more in other areas.
Bloodsucking bastards.
I managed to close off the connections I had made pretty easily, and left the park. I treated myself to an ice cream cone, because I could.
It was a good day.
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One response to “Shawnee Mission Park

  1. Pingback: Shawnee Mission Park | Practical Pagans

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