Random thoughts on awakening where we are.
We are all connected.
Then why too often do we feel so alone?
Within us all is a universal need to find our sense of community, of belonging within this big beautiful world; to find the special place where we belong, the special few to whom we belong.
I want to belong.
(Don’t we all?)
And yet, here I am.
Hiding in the trees.
Is not, then, here
where I belong?
Here, it is all around.
Surrounding, encompassing, embracing.
My community, where I belong, where I find myself, allow myself to be.
Nature and the wilds.
For half of the year, a white, still, silence shared between the trees and me.
Now, a passing motion, stirred by the heavy rains on raw spring soil. Rocks shifting in loose dirt, river roaring brown. Trees holding vigil as the seasons come and go and come again.
Slowly the mountain livens not with her accord but for the elk, deer, hummingbirds and humans that begin to migrate upwards.
And still, I reach for more.
The challenge of finding our place and space.
Becoming or creating a community to which we can be apart.
Expansive and inclusive.
Challenging and creative.
When it’s too easy to fall for same, similar, safe, close, closed.
Community can be that which awakens us, or that which suppresses us.
The choice is ours.
Community can be the pillow of protection, surrounding us with assurance.
Or it can be a matter of contention, rebellion.
The comfort of connection, or the battle to define one’s self.
Seal ones position or deny one’s place.
Surrounded by like minds, or contrary minds.
Absorbed in a similar reality, or forced to defend your views, define your truths.
What are your challenges in finding where we are meant to be?
Being a part, or being apart.
As we can not be all places at all times, or all things to all people, how do we realize the Self and place of Self within our world?
Here in the high country, spring is late to come. The leaves are only now opening and will remain attached for merely four months, at which point the trees release and we begin the big slumber that remains here for half the year, while the other three season share the other half.
Spring is a time of adjustments when I go from being the happy hermit to becoming the social misfit.
It is happening now.
People in four directions
When what I reach for is
air earth water trees
Naked branches suddenly
thickening with leaves
views enclosed and narrowing
Silenced is the rushing river
Tonight in moist and mild spring air
I see lights in strange cabins
Brighter than the big spring moon
Dancing silver on winding river
I lose touch
Now is the time
I hole up
Turtle retreats to his shell
Is that where he belongs?
So, we’re coming out of the Wilderness. My dog and me. I am armed with my camera. Nothing more. Perhaps a half eaten granola bar in one pocket, a bandana in another, and chapstick in the third. What more do I need for a day hike?
What should I really fear our here that I cannot handle? What are we told? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Yes, we have those. But it’s not them I have learned to look out for.
We’ve been hiking for how many hours, how many miles, on a trail that has not been used since the hunters were run off the mountain in last November’s snows. Tracks of elk, moose, deer, coyote. And my dog and me.
We’re almost back to the trailhead, and it feels like returning to civilization. This is often a strange and bittersweet place to find myself. My dog is ahead of me. I see movement just past the trees, so quite calmly I say, “Gunnar, wait.” He stops in his tracks and waits. Good boy.
Two more steps reveal a woman in day-glow colors and day pack, and odder to me still, a man with a big stick in both hands, held over his head, shaking it at my dog, who reads people well enough to know not to get close to this one.
Maybe it was Bear Phobia. Here he is, going into the Wilderness, and you know what he thinks he’ll see. Not some little wild woman and her friendly dog.
Is he friendly, the man asks, still shaking the big stick. Yes, I reply, he is. I call my pup and continue on, growling beneath my breath something about how I’m the one he should watch out for, not my dog…
See, it’s not the bears I’m afraid of up here. It’s the people.
This was my first chance encounter with the human race on this mountain this year.
Is it any wonder why I long for the return of winter?
Take a deep breath.
Don’t go there, I remind myself.
What matters more than connection?
We are all connected.
Then why do I feel so detached?
Here I watch people come, people go. At times my heart sings when they leave; other times it aches as they vanish like a passing storm that left the soil soft and ripe.
With each chance encounter, we have the opportunity to learn, laugh, love.
Upon fertile grounds of compassion, we open, expose our souls, and though we risk being left empty when they take what they want or need and leave, we also chance a great awakening, or a simple story, or something beautiful shared.
Passing though, they come and go, unlike the certainty of the seasons, but with the season.
For years I fought to leave
Time and again, she pulled me back
(kicking and screaming at times)
And tied me down
Only now do I see here is where I belong
Not because I have given up, but because I have opened up.
My community, I found in the trees.
Here we learn the natural adjustment to the seasons.
The cycle of life
To which we are a part
Neither above nor beyond.
As the leaves emerge bright and shiny and as suddenly the size of squirrels’ ears, only to fill out and wash the hills in a lush green wave, until the brilliant gold of late September in long shadows lays the land back to rest, and under the white we remain.
Expand into this world
There is neither right nor wrong
There just is.
Along with our need to find our place
Within some precast mold to which we may not fit.
And when we learn to let go
We may find ourselves
Way out here.
A part of it all.
I sit with the evening sun on my face
Bound by the lull of a rushing stream
Dandelions aglow on the moist hill on which we rest
Leaning on and into each other, wordless now, my husband and I
The dog on vigil behind us
For one beautiful moment
This is exactly where I belong.
Where I want to be, without wanting more
It feels so right to say that, to know that, to feel that,
to finally believe that,
until the wind reminds us to leave.
The adventure of standing still.
Am I wrong to say this is where I belong
This is my community
And find connection, wisdom, soul
In wind, water, bark and branches?
Do trees have soul?
The collective soul.
These are the old wise ones.
A walk deep in the woods with a small glass jar in one hand, sticky fingers in the other, gathering pitch from my beloved once blue spruce. The old ones, the big ones, are now long gone; their sap dried and brushed into the earth by elements and time. Now it is the smaller ones putting out their last liquid essence in a vain attempt to hold life, when what they are doing is dying. I am collecting the blood and tears of their wounds to create a healing salve. To honor my neighbors, my friends.
As I reach into the dried bare branches once green and lush and flexible, snapping them off with no more than the weight of my extended arm, stretching towards the last of their golden, glowing life oozing through their wounds, my flesh is scored by a broken branch. My tears and blood blend with theirs. Different colors, mine warm and red, and yet all the same, is it not?
Their souls remain after the needles fall. Perhaps a secret stillness remaining in their roots for a year or more in the silent soil.
And then they are silent.
Where do their souls move onto?
Fragrant and bright and wild
Where am I going,
And I tell you
I do not know.
7 thoughts on “Creating Connection: Finding Balance Between Nature and Man.”
Beautiful! Every living thing has a soul.
I am on my way!
And you shall be welcomed with open arms and branches!
Interesting thoughts on you and your dog alone and then the jolt of threats from strangers. The pitch from the blue spruce can heal in more ways than one on more creatures than themselves. Thank you for the provocative words.
Thank you, Judith, for taking the time to read and reach out.
Always my issue. An introvert in an extrovert world. I turn inward. Into my house – my yard- away from the people and suffocating heat and humidity of the lowland mid-west. Threatening strangers are everywhere. I move through this world daily, only not belonging – but trying to since this is where I must stay for a while. So I belong in the little space I created, and quietly arrange life so that I can go home again – uphill. High and dry. Compass pointing north. I believe in “place”. Just have to keep tending the inner core til it’s possible to get home again.
I’m with you on this! The understanding of introvert and extrovert is a big one, Elizabeth, and one often misunderstood by main stream society, whereby the extrovert = good (i.e. works well within the social system); and introvert = not good (does not conform to the professed social norms). Thing is, the introvert is equally the social norm, only the quieter voice. And there are just as many of us, though far less out spoken, and thus, less observed and understood. I’m seeing a natural wave of power swelling throughout the introvert natures as we find ourselves tired of the loud buzzing voices and oppressive energies and are learning to find peace, comfort, compassion and wisdom in our quieter ways. Nature, place as you well call it, too seems to be more important element in the life of the introvert. I suppose once again, it is in the diversity and balance of differences that makes this world a beautiful, balanced creation.