I’ve been to the mountains for a week of camping and have come back with some things I’d like to share. It was a time of sweet connection with family and friends, a yearly journey to spend time with each other in the beauty of nature. Being out in the woods and mountains speaks to us in a very deep way—it takes us out of routine and busyness and immerses us in a fluid rhythm with no agenda. We sink into the timeless movement of the natural world and breathe in the offer of a simpler way of being.
Without a busy calendar, time loosens its pell-mell momentum and we become receptive to whatever shows up. We are offered great gifts—the ripples of a black snake gliding so smoothly through the lake, crawdads and frogs moving to and fro at the water’s edge at night, river otters splashing and playing in the currents of a mountain river, glimpses of a buck running along the rocky shore under the full moon, mist rising on a quiet lake at sunrise, sacred geometry in the swirl of a pine cone, so much beauty everywhere. By week’s end the moon grew full and red, and while we marveled at its color, we knew its eerie glow came from the smoke of fast growing wildfires in the south. It was like a naked heart in the sky, and it spoke to us of its sorrow.
We felt into the weariness of mother earth, the lakes are at their lowest levels we’ve ever seen, algae is building and choking the clear water, many trees are dying due to the drought which makes them susceptible to bug infestations, there is trash on the shores and even some far below resting on the lake beds. A sadness settled into my heart. I watched children play on the rocky shore and wondered what their future will be if we don’t teach ourselves and teach them how to live in harmony with our mother, the great earth.
It’s a sadness that I brought home with me, a feeling that we have forgotten the source where all life is born, created, and nurtured. A feeling that we take so much for granted and overlook what’s most important. For three days I felt this heavy sorrow that turned me inward to see what I can do to deepen my own relationship with mother earth. What came up first was a feeling that I need to do things, more things than I already do like buying and using less stuff, recycling and reusing whatever I can, eating organic and local foods, and so on. And while each step that we take to reduce our physical footprint is so important, I’m coming to know in a whole new way that what is most powerful is inner change, a deepening of the understanding of ourselves and our connection with mother earth.
The sorrow of these past days is still present but is becoming less opaque. Now it’s imbued with great gratitude and love for how the earth is teaching me its profound wisdom. There is a sense that the most important thing we can do is to rediscover what is most sacred within ourselves, to come to live from our great heart, and to understand that from there we can work together to lighten the weight of our footprint on mother earth. We are her caretakers and when we take good care of her, she offers us endless abundance. When we take advantage of her gifts without wisdom, we lose sight of our connection with all of nature and with each other. We become separated, isolated, and there is the feeling of lack. Fear arises and we forget our heart connection, we forget our true strength, we forget our source. But when we listen to the whisper of our heart, we begin to hear the wisdom that is always present, that is always offered. We are love, unconditional and boundless; may we soften into its grace with open gratitude and wonder for the miracle and sacredness of life.