My daughter came last week and within a day I suggested we go into the woods. There particularly was a road I wanted to explore, but not alone, as I was familiar enough to know there were places where it was only one lane, and I still do not know where it ultimately leads. What I did know was that there were redwoods there, and redwoods are healing. So we went. We immediately felt ourselves breathing more deeply, soaking up the negative ions and grounding. It is still winter, afterall, however, and the dampness and the hour caused me to refrain from wanting to hike up any unknown trails. Oh, yes, the knowing that there were most likely bears and mountain lions in those woods was also a deterrent. Better to inquire first.
Our full circle celebration past, the workweek began and I felt restless in my body, just unusually at odds with my familiar temple. “It’s time to focus on yourself, Kathryn. What do you need to do to bring yourself back to yourself fully? What would help you integrate what has happened and bring you back to peace and joy?” I knew it was time to go back to the woods for a second helping. This time I chose to go back to the road that carries many many family memories in its energy field. It’s the road that took me to live in the woods when Antonia left for college. It’s the road I drove over to carry my father out to Mendocino to stay at the small local hotel. It’s the road that delivered my amazing 94 year-old Grandmother to her greatgranddaughter’s wedding. It’s the road that continues to take us to sacred familiar ground that frames the many phases of our lives and will, no doubt, for many years to come. It is stomping ground. It is holy ground. Let me show you.
As I head toward the redwoods my head whips ’round and I can barely believe what I am seeing: this flock of sheep running amok in a vineyard! I turn the car around and go back to capture the raucous, naughty frivolity! I am still giggling over this little event. The doggies liked it, too. They barked appreciatively.
Continuing on our quest we made a pit stop at Gowan’s, which everyone does. I’m sure you have your version of this in your world at large. The small local fruit stand. (Maybe one day some of us will have our own!) Gowan’s is on over 250 acres and they have a LOT of apples!
I bought some homemade blackberry jam, which my daughter will appreciate on my scones on her next visit up, no doubt. And a nice bag of apples came along. Feeling better already! As I let the doggies stretch their legs, so to speak, I found myself thinking how kind and thoughtful and inviting it was of the Gowans to add this little picnic area in back. I loved the primary colored swings, awaiting joyful children in the sun. And the rustic bench is so inviting. Lots of behinds have sat there, I can imagine!
The energy of the forest changes markedly. I remind myself that I am on a thin pencil of pavement that runs through a very large and holy terrain. Mindfulness of this fact is intrinsic to this experience. Even if one had no words one would know something has changed. We enter the forest.
These ancient plants remind me how old the forest is, how small I am, how connected we are.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
~ David Wagoner ~
Love and Earthly blessings,
Happy Postscript: I am honored to acknowledge that Plant Whatever Brings You Joy was given a Premio Dardos Award this week from esteemed colleague Anita Bruzzese on her blog 45things.com!
Posted on March 18th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Sacred places