Reprinted from another one of my blogs, from May of 2010.
With weather the past few days being in the teens, I am sooo ready for spring. In fact, since I can’t wait, I thought I’d share an old blog post of mine from a couple years back on another one of my blogs.
This past Saturday I had the extremely wonderful pleasure of a solo hike in the local Arboretum. I was blessed to have a warm but not too hot day, and hardly ANY other souls around. If I ran across another human it was far away. For a brief moment I thought if I got hurt, I’m not sure anyone would really find me for a while. But I shrugged of the irrational fear and walked on. I’m so glad I did.
I spent about 4 hours and walked about 4.5 miles of trails. I brought my camera, my journal, a sandwich and some water (oh, yeah, and my cell phone…just in case). I left my darling husband and dear daughters at home. This day was just for me. Something I’d been needing since…well, forever. A part of me really wanted to share this day with someone, but I’m so glad I went by myself. As much as I wanted to share this experience, I really needed it for me.
The thing I noticed most about the place was how noisy it was. The cacophony of many different birds tweeting and honking and trilling and pecking (because there was a woodpecker somewhere) was amazing. There was croaking and a weird alternating buzzing sound coming from the wetland area. I have no idea what kind of insects were making that noise, but it was creeping me out a bit being out there by myself.
The fresh air was of course amazing, but every now and then I’d whiff a mildly pungent odor reminiscent of onions as I walked through the forest.
I was never able to capture a great shot of it, but as I came around this pond, a great blue heron flew up out of the water. It was a majestic sight to behold! Every time I tried focusing the shot, he flew out of range.
I loved this pond.
I had been having trouble identifying these beauties, until someone told me they were probably Eastern Kingbirds. They have black and white plumage, a white belly, and a little fringe of white on the tail.
This is the view from the other side of the pond.
It was right about here when I finally understood this quote.
There was not a thing in the world that was not just as beautiful, just as desirable, just as joyous as it’s opposite. It was blissful to live, it was blissful to die, as soon as you hung suspended in space. Peace from without did not exist; there was no peace in the graveyard, no peace in God. No magic ever interrupted the eternal chain of births, the endless succession of God’s breaths. But there was another kind of peace, to be found within your own self. It’s name was: Let yourself fall! Do not fight back! Die gladly! Live Gladly!
~ Hermann Hesse, from the story Klein and Wagner in Klingsor’s Last Summer
The world could have blown itself up that very moment and I would have died gladly!
I walked a while in the hot sun to get this tranquil spot. It was an amazing tree to sit under and journal my thoughts awhile. I was sitting in the cool shade, feeling a nice breeze, enjoying the songs of the birds.
There were Baltimore Orioles in that tree above my head while I wrote – a male and a female, and I realized they were there because there was a nest for their offspring. I lingered a while, after taking some pictures of the nest and the birds but didn’t get terribly great shots though because they kept hiding behind leaves. I did manage to capture one shot when the male Baltimore Oriole flew into another tree.
And I almost thought I would not find one, but towards the end of my hike, when I stopped to take a break, I found this beautiful blue jay.
Last but not least, I rested a while at this smaller pond just before I left.
Afterwards, I felt so blessedly at peace. I was happy and tired, and realized that my brain finally had some rest. I left the arboretum a little body weary, but very soul-content. I didn’t rush home right away, but took some time at a bookstore – the whole point of me being away was to give myself some much needed respite. And I realized, for once, my mind slowed down and I DIDN’T need to entertain its demand for input or analysis. I didn’t read or write like I normally would do. I just sat, drank my Raspberry Mocha Kiss, let my mind wander and watched people. It was very cool.
I have been granted a great deal of clarity over the past few days. I’m wondering if a this solo immersion into nature has unblocked some things and has renewed something important in me.