With the coming of spring, I find there is part of me that warms and expands with the thawing of the earth.
A piece of me that has been waiting quietly for the time when I can return to living with the windows open, to inhaling the subtle scents of dirt and growing things, and, like a cat in the windowsill, to laying in grassy patches, the sun warming my chilled bones. It is a time when nature calls me to come and dance with her, and when I heed her call, my body and mind invariably are rewarded with what can be best described as a long, deep, cellular exhale. Ahhhhhhhhhhh
Today the call was loud and clear; her lure undeniable, I followed.
I walked the 300 feet to our little patch of community wilderness (some would call it a park, but that would be a stretch.)
A mug of hot water and lemon in hand, I planted myself on top of a picnic table, unconcerned that the boards, damp from last night’s rain, would leave me a little soggy.
My plan was to meditate, eyes closed, mind open, maybe a little “OM” for good measure, but as often happens, today meditation found its own form.
Today, I sat in the tress, and grass and just ….was.
I sipped my lemon tonic and took in the world around me.
I spotted out of the corner of my eye, a robin digging up breakfast. I followed her until a cloud caught my attention.
Like Alice’s “White Rabbit” he moved across the sky rapidly, late for some important date, literally forming as he traversed the sky.
My cloud moved on and was replaced in my awareness by a lone leaf on a maple tree cordially waving “hello”.
Racing clouds and waving trees are all fine and good but my call to nature and desire to meditate this morning were not merely born of some noble quest for enlightenment. No, my body and mind has been stressed. I have been living with a background of anxiety for several days and I made this trip with the explicit intention to get free.
For as long as I can remember, the forest has been a welcome reprieve to the stresses of life. As I was growing up in the Canadian north, we had a cabin on a lake. A favorite pastime was to hike to my prized discovery, an outcropping of bedrock nestled between the cottages. Hidden on 3 sides by trees, the forth side of my little piece of paradise was lakeside property. I spent countless afternoons feeling the sun warm the rocks, listening to the loons call, dipping my feet in the numbing water and having conversations with my creator.
You can take the girl out of the woods but it seems you can’t take the woods out of the girl, for no sooner had I gotten settled into my spot in the park this morning, I found myself recreating those connected moments at Setting Lake, asking questions of the universe, my subconscious, and the trees.
“Ok, what’s up? Why the anxiety? What am I afraid of? How can I find peace?” I asked.
The answer came quickly, “because you are confused. You have forgotten who you are.”
I was suspicious. This sounded familiar, every self empowerment/path to enlightenment book on the planet was going to take me down this path. I challenged the thought, concerned my mind was playing tricks, throwing out random bits of disembodied wisdom it had saved for just such an occasion.
Unphased by my skepticism, it continued.
“Look at the tree…the cloud…the dandelion…”
I looked, and as I looked, I saw that they were beautiful; that they were perfect; each in their own unique way. Whether the tree was a big tree or a little one, whether the dandelion was a bright yellow sun or its frail remains, disbursed by the slightest wind or a child’s wish; they were good.
In the next moment, the question came,
“How are you different from the tree?”
And I saw it. I saw truth in that moment.
I am not different. The tree, the dandelion, the cloud, and me, we all came from the same place. We are all built to do what is in our nature to do. To grow, to head towards the sun, to move with the seasons and the cycles of life.
I would never ask anything from the tree but to BE and to do what it is here to do; flower in the spring, sleep in the winter, grow with each passing year. Why would I think there is any greater expectation of me?
And In that moment, I saw life in a way that relieved every fear, every touch of anxiety, ever bit of pressure and expectation, and left only peace and knowing.
Maybe this is what little ten year old Joey instinctually knew back on the rock at Setting Lake. Regardless, I am so grateful to know it now, if even for a fleeting moment.
You may not have grown up in the woods like I did. You may not even be a big fan of trees and dirt and the things that come with them, and you may not be searching for the meaning of life.
But let me tell you this.
You are a part of nature and the natural world calls to every single cell of your being.
The world we have created allows us to live without ever stepping foot in a garden or being surrounded by silent wilderness. We have done an excellent job of separating ourselves, but along with the comforts of a warm bed and central air, we have deprived our souls of the wisdom and beauty that is nature’s alone to give.
I do not know what your brushes with nature will reveal to you but I know she holds a piece of you in her hands; some wisdom, some peace, some beauty, something uniquely for you and the nurturing of your soul.
No matter where you live – there is nature waiting for you; in a nearby park, a walking path, a community garden or your own backyard creation.
Do yourself a favor, go there. Be there, and let the natural world share her wonders, healing and love.
When nature calls…. PICK UP!
Share Yourself: Do you have a favorite spot to go be with nature? Have you had a moment in nature that deepened your experience of life or brought you new answers and wisdom? Tell us about it here on the Coach Joelle Blog.