I spent an hour and a half yesterday hiking with a friend, deep in conversation as we climbed and curved around the trails of a local forest. After hugging and thanking one another, she drove home and I got back on “the shortcut trail” that leads through the trees, emptying me out onto the dirt road behind my home.
I love this freedom of being able to meet my hiking buddies by simply walking out my door, through the edge of the green space, and greeting them at the parking lot; the proximity of my hearth-sanctuary to the forest-sanctuary is ideal.
As I made the right-hand turn that puts me on the narrower forest path toward home, I got very quiet inside. I practiced making footfalls that were silent – avoiding leaf- or gravel-crunching. I paid closer attention to the birds rustling through the dry foliage and chirping long songs through the treetops. And I opened my eyes to the details around me in the forest, letting go the thoughts about my friend, my family, my work projects that were whirling in my mind.
Just as I made the transition from thinking to sensory perception, I was stopped short on the trail. That is - the moment I became presenttomy surroundings, I became one withthis forest.
Before me was a scene of great beauty, of great healing:
green leaves shining in the pale morning sunlight in front of me,
dark pine needles backlit against the sky like tall paintbrushes.
On the one hand, it was no different from what is there each and every time I meander through this patch of trees.
But somehow in that precise moment, it caught me unaware, unguarded, raw, sensitive.
I literally stopped moving. My heavy breath from the quick pace I’d been keeping was the only motion in my being. It was an exquisitely calming moment.
And I entered the new opening in my day with the feeling that I’d been healed … made anew and whole once again.
(orig. posted 8/31/18)
All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2019 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."