I’d just finished a six day run of eight hours a day working in an office, so when I woke that morning and there was enough light to see I left the house with the urgency of a deep sea diver who’s got no oxygen left in the tank and is rushing to the surface desperate to breathe. My body felt so exalted and full of joy and unexpressed power and exuberance that I was half running half skipping my familiar route down to the river like a sugar high child.
I lingered a while and for once I was speechless and songless as I contemplated my friend flow, unable to tell her what my aching heart was holding in but just watching her following her rapid course and wondering what it would be like to jump in and give myself to the urgency of her currents. She knew her destination for sure, so why, after 34 years of life, did I still not know mine?
Instead of doubling back and returning up hill and home I decided to follow the river further. My body was straining at an inner leash like a dog who hasn’t been walked properly in days and it gave me much joy to give in to her, I swear I could’ve grown a tail just to wag it.
It wasn’t long before the first giggle was drawn when I sank into mud in my not for walking boots and felt a delicious ooze enter the left one as I admired the neatly painted inches of mud flood around the bottoms of my jeans. Now this was walking, not with a plan and wearing the right gear but just a kind of what the hell wild kinda walk. Not long after that first giggle I came upon a huge tree. I stopped in admiration and approached reverently as I leaned against this beautiful being and looked up. And as I looked up…something else looked down.
A squirrel. A cheeky, beautiful light as you like squirrel, looking very funny because he or she was upside down (How did it not fall? This is where Physics could get interesting…) and bobbing its head at every angle to look at this big ungainly creature looking up. That released the second giggle and immediately the startled squirrel raced up the tree in alarm at this terrible noise and disappeared. I sighed and leaned into the tree, closing my eyes and resting my forehead on the bark. And then they came, the tears of pain, confusion and anger that my heart hadn’t been ready to give to the river, were now given to the tree. Something opened, something heard, and something spoke to my heart. I sobbed loud but not long for I could almost hear it, ‘There there…’ coming from the tree, “no need for all these tears, don’t make a drama of it. Just breathe.”
I really can’t describe how safe, held and seen I felt. The tree gave me a level of acceptance nobody else had been able to or at least one that I was able to receive, not least because it was so unexpected. I was ok, all would be ok and if there was anything to forgive it was forgiven. Life was a miracle, one to be celebrated, not endured, and I was remembered…the tree remembered me.
That was the second time I got a lesson from a tree this week. The first was a little less magical but no less powerful. Nature doesn’t judge, she just is. When I judge myself, I go into nature and I’m reminded to just be and the emotions turn into elements and are released back into the play dough from which all life is moulded and made in the warmth and love of the Creator’s invisible hands. Magic isn’t about wands and flying broomsticks, magic is in paying attention to the miracle of every moment and to the depth of our forgetfulness so that, for that magic moment, we remember what a miracle and a gift it is to be alive.
Do you believe in magic?