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