Wanderings & Ponderings


In my daily walks through the forest I do a fair bit of communing with trees,
and lately what they’ve been wanting to tell me about is surrender.

Imagine . . .
From seed planted, randomly falling, miraculously germinating;
brand new roots searching . . . trusting;
the most tender of green shoots reaching . . . trusting.

Imagine what it feels like to be a tree
~ to surrender to rootedness,
with endless patience reach for the sky,
lean into the light.
Gather up all sustenance offered by soil and sun, air and rain.
Offer up all your givings-back, there for the taking,
from air cleaned, through food and medicine given, to shelters built and warmed.

We can learn a lot about ‘surrender’ and ‘trust’ from trees.

I’ve taken to going barefoot on my forest walks this summer,
it’s a big help in coping with the extreme heat we’ve been having here,
and it’s a wonderful lesson in surrender
~ with every footfall I’m learning to trust that I won’t be hurt,
to trust that all my reflexes will engage as needed;
and in doing so I’m learning to accept the benefits the forest floor offers to me
~ a new level of connection,
a new exchange of physical sensations,
a new depth to my feeling of belonging.

~ yet more layers, never-ending, on the spiral that is the learning of surrender.

– Barbara Brown

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Follow along with me here, in your imagination

We can feel spiritual blissfulness through experiencing beauty.  Beauty can move us so deeply in nature, in the forest ~ through our senses; it is with this body that we’ve been given, with its great capacities to feel, that we experience the beauty that surrounds us.  This is an amazing gift of life ~ the joy of beauty experienced through our physical bodies.

In the forest, when we stop our minds and place our awareness in our physical senses, all our stresses and troubles and busynesses fall away; we come into the here and now, become present in the moment and are filled with awe at the beauty of nature, of life, of wild and free, that surrounds us.  We connect with our creative source, our own true nature.  This connection to the beauty that we experience and the wonder that we feel, is the tonic, the medicine, that can heal us.

Follow along with me here, in your imagination:

Imagine yourself in the forest.  Envelope yourself with its healing green.  Smell the pine, the soil, the clean fresh air.  Hear the wind rustling in the aspens, the ‘cheerios’ of the robins.  Feel the breezes on your skin, the earth beneath you, supporting you.

See the sunlight shining through those leaves ~ take it in.  Sink your awareness into the microscopic world of mosses and tiny creatures at your feet ~ take it in.  Gaze up and travel out through the treetops into the blue infinite ~ take it in.  These are gifts of the forest in its beauty.  Feel the rush of awe and wonder that floods your being ~ and soothes you.  Let yourself be transported ~ nothing is wrong anymore ~ be at peace and in joy.


As an artist, it’s the experiencing of beauty that inspires me to paint ~ to try to capture and share the images that I see that open me up so wide.

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What places a little vine growing in the forest can take me!

What’s been impressing itself upon me, calling me to ponder upon it recently, is the experience of  beauty in the forest ~ what it feels like, what it means.

Come into the forest with me . . .
Look at that little vine (Sweet-scented Bedstraw), in its spiralling embrace of the big old cedar; does it know what a perfectly pretty-as-a-picture vision it’s creating?

VineIt seems to me that we must all of us beings ~ plants, animals, humans, mountains, galaxies . . .  all of us that form matter in this vast creation ~ we must all be hard-wired to resonate with each other, our senses all in harmony to recognize beauty in each other.  We’re all made from the same stuff ~ stardust! from the big bang.  We’re all one.

My goodness, what places a little vine growing in the forest can take me!


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Posted in Writings

After a difficult week of sorrow, leave-taking, confusion of feelings, relief, drama and frustration:

This afternoon, as I stopped for a while in the forest, in an attempt to settle myself:

I laid myself down and curled up for a nap, wanting to sink my troubles down and out of me into Mother Earth through the thick mossyness at the feet of a friend, a sympathetic young yew tree I wrapped myself around and snuggled up against seeking oblivion.

However, the forest had other plans for me.


I was conspired against:

~ squirrel, not six feet away, needing desperately to proclaim my presence as far and wide as he could;

~ raven, whooshing wings round and round through the tree tops above me, responding to my earlier attempts at conversation (mimicking him with no idea of what I was saying);

~ a second raven, back-and-forthing with some unknown melodic caller (perhaps owl?);

~ then a jay, a gorgeous shiny Stellar unable to contain his rambunctious exuberance.

Oh well.

All I could do was give-over, and laugh, and welcome in the comfort and regeneration I had been seeking with the nap.



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and the inextricable connection between them

When we witness beauty, profound beauty, it near to breaks our hearts.

A beautiful piece of music makes us cry.

Beautiful actions, expressions of love between beings also bring us to tears.

We feel we can hardly bear the poignancy of such beauty.

The emotion that we feel in its presence is sadness ~

a deep and graceful, even joyous, sadness.

We can’t feel those deep joys without feeling sadness ~

they are inextricably connected.

And what about sadness?

Is there beauty in sadness, just as there is sadness in beauty?

When the sadness is pure,

not mixed with fear and not the result of any wrong-doing;

then I believe it is somehow a beautiful feeling,

one to be embraced and leaned into.

When we do embrace it, we come upon the same grace we find in beauty.

There will always be a life lesson there to find, which brings us to profound joy.

The joy of being alive.

Beautiful life ~ so beautiful that it hurts.

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The universe, the ‘uni’ ‘verse’, the ‘one’ ‘song’,

singing itself into existence, into beingness,

and into beauty, endlessly, forever;

singing us, and all that is, into being.

The music the heavens dance to.

The dance of the cosmos.

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Bear and Me

Posted in Writings

This morning, heading up the path into the forest I heard a “crash, crash, crash”, through the bush not far from me.

I knew it was something big ~ likely either elk or bear, to make that much commotion!  So, of course my curiosity got the better of my caution and I had to sneak a peak around that next corner where it had crashed away off towards.

And there, from behind some bushes, sneaking a peak back at me, was a beautiful, glossy-coated, black-as-black-can-be young bear.  I could just see the top of his head with his Teddy-bear ears; and his gorgeous, clear, present rich brown eyes looking directly into my own and glinting with such intelligence it took my breath away.

What struck me, in the moment, was how so alike we were; the shared experience we were having.  We two were equal, having the same feelings, thoughts and actions.  Curious, cautious, respectful; intelligent.

As we gazed into each others eyes we had a shared moment of equality of consciousness that I will never forget.

Then we both, simultaneously, turned quietly, and, honouring each other, walked calmly away in our opposite directions.

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It’s November 2nd, All-Hallows-Eve just past;

the anniversary of my mother’s passing is tomorrow.

The veil between the worlds is thin.

I’ve stopped to write this while walking through the forest on the mountainside.

The sun is shining, burning off the morning mists after two days of rain.

Silvery shimmers all round.  It’s a shiny, clean, sparkly world.

The autumn colours are so intense they take my breath away.

The larch trees are radiating such goldenness against the

rich dark evergreens it’s a wonder such a colour can exist

without bursting into flames.

The depths of the browns of the fallen leaves,

against the impossible variety of greens and shapes and

textures of the mosses staggers my mind.

The smells are deeply nourishing to me.

Sun kissing wet cold earth brings forth a primeval scent that

smells somehow of the infinite potentials of life.

The profound stillness of the forest in the mountains feeds my soul;

nourishes body, mind and spirit.

All the sounds that are contained within it don’t seem to disturb it.

How can that be?

The creek burbling, the leaves rustling;

a frog croaks, a squirrel chatters, a raven calls and a nuthatch chirps.

The profound stillness remains.

It’s the trees and the rocks, the earth and the clean wild air.

And here I am.  A part of it.

Breathing it in and out.  Appreciating it.  Loving it.

So thankful for it that my gratitude is barely bearable.

In order to take in the forest, or any environment of the natural world,

be it forest or ocean or prairie, desert or icefield or garden ~

in order to even begin to take it in we have to give over to the

impossible miraculous beauty of it.

And in doing so we open wide.

So wide that we expand into it and become one with it.

And are healed.

All is well.

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