I would be remiss if I didn’t write about my reflections during this time of isolation because of the corona virus, when connecting is at odds with social distancing. I know we’ll look back on this when future conversations will begin “remember when” stories that will never end. I think of memories being made now for those “remember when’s” later.
I came upon a quote from Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist Monk and ordained nun.
“This very moment is the perfect teacher.”
I can’t help but to think just how our now moments might be teaching us something.
This morning, sun beams outside pierce parting gray skies, free heavy wet snow cradled in tree limbs, and warm my legs inside as I sit writing this. And I think of the sun’s strength and how its touch and our sense of feeling dance in connection to make us feel warm, comfortable and in a good place.
I wrote my memoir, subtitled discovering connections and finding home, and I think of how a birch tree was my connection to finding the comfortable, the familiar, and warmth when I didn’t feel connected in any way to a good place. I shared an experience in my book about when I was fifteen and had to move from my girlhood home. The unfamiliar made me feel disconnected. But during a long walk one summer evening along a row of backyards of townhomes, among them my new home, passed tennis courts I noticed the “Illumination from the court lights and stars above took the lead for me to follow and to discover. Silver tree trunk skins reflected their positions in the field. Birch trees!”
I ordinarily would have kept walking, eyes and feet following a bumpy asphalt path with nothing but memories of my old home to keep me company. But I was drawn from the expected course to dream, to look up, to feel a slight breeze carrying the scent of sweet wildflowers and damp rye grass scattered in a prairie nearby, attracted to the brightness of tennis court lights. My sense of plugging into sights and sounds drove me to connect differently.
Getting outdoors and walking is being suggested to combat stress and anxiety during this challenging time. When you go for a walk, treat your senses of sight, sound and smell to engagement. Holly Worton in her book, “If Trees Could Talk,” says “Trees have given you this story: of slowing down, of stopping, of resting, of sitting of listening of seeing, of hearing of enjoying, of taking in through your senses all that is around you.”
Simply be aware.
“. . . because everyone does have a place . . . if you feel drawn to a place, visit, experience, connect. And simply allow yourself to dream.”
Now is a time when we’re challenged to connect in ways we ordinarily would not consider. Where we once relied on physical contact through hugs, hand holdings, pats on the back, we are now open to connecting through our remaining senses as they act as backups for each other when any one is compromised.
So when we are once again able to sit near one another and share our “remember when’s”, we’ll think of the moments when we slowed down and became aware of the teachings of nature.
And I’ll end with this quote from Holly’s book: “There is a reason you are drawn to some places. Once you visit these places, it’s easier for you to connect and to feel that deep sense of belonging. That sense of “I am home, I am here,” that so many people crave.”
What have you discovered on your walks you hadn’t noticed before?
In my next post, I’ll share a few observations from my “now moments.”