I wasn’t called in to substitute teach much lately and husband took a half day off work to walk with me in the woods on Thursday. I almost declined, thinking I wanted to continue decluttering, but I’m glad we went.
After reading Paul Rezendes book The Wild Within, I decided to put my nose to work and breathe in the air deeply. One thing I noticed this time was that every different area – forest, wetland, prairie – had its own unique scent.
Tree trunks fascinate me. Especially when they grow strangely.
The ponds are full of rich algae (and frogs….lots of frogs).
There were two new swans in residence.
It’s really neat to see birds stretch their wings.
This frog hadn’t moved at all for 15 minutes. Not even after husband made a walk towards the pond and about 10 frogs jumped in the water nearby. I’m still not sure it was alive.
And this smaller one was sunning himself on a rock.
We spent about 20 minutes watching this Blue Heron. I was hoping it would take off so I could get some in-flight shots with my new 55-300mm zoom lens, but all the stinker did was groom itself.
I love this little seating area that overlooks the pond. It’s a nice place to rest and watch the wetland birds.
Husband inspecting a Black-eyed Susan.
I’m glad I’m spending a great deal more time in Nature lately. It’s been medicinal for me lately as it’s helping me to put my experiences in perspective.
I’ve been through a lot of difficult experiences…and I’ve come to realize it does not matter any more. I find that none of my mistakes…all of the things I’d done or failed to do…have any bearing on the present moment. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy focused on what I did wrong, what I should have done instead, how stupid I was for the choices I’d made, that I found it exceptionally difficult to extend forgiveness to myself. But taking so much time in natural settings has shown me that those things in the past just don’t have any bearing on who I am today or who I will become tomorrow. The mistakes I made 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 16 years ago don’t define me. And, because I’ve learned a few important lessons, I can choose differently now that I know there are options and I’m not destined to repeat unhelpful patterns anymore.
I know my boundaries are stronger. And I know husband is more clear about where they are, too. It was a difficult task to draw some where there were none before. There were times when our marriage didn’t seem like it was going to survive the strain of establishing them.
I used to think, and even lament to a dear friend of mine, “How can I be a good person, I did x, y, and z?” Somewhere in my readings I had read that we shouldn’t label ourselves as a “good person” or a “bad person”, but we are people who are capable of doing both good and bad things, and none of what we do characterizes our entire beings. Intellectually I understood that. I had a hard time internalizing it.
But interestingly enough, the more time I spent in Nature, the more clear it became to me that it was true. There was no one judging me anymore…except me. It helped that I broke with many of the people who were (friends who turned out not to be supportive), and set boundaries with those who were going to stay in my life (family), and I’ve not had much problem with people these days, though my social life is still quite barren (though I’ve learned to really enjoy the pleasure of my own company). No, most of my problems came in from emotional flashbacks. Seemed to me that I became my own worst enemy for a time. I know why. PTSD has a way of undermining your resilience in cruel ways.
Which is why I’m spending so much time in Nature, because, for me, it acts as an antidote to PTSD and depression and anxiety.
Nature doesn’t care what I did wrong. Nature doesn’t care what I couldn’t do but should have done. Nature doesn’t turn away from me or condemn me. Nature still exists in harmony and shows me her gifts, no matter how many times I’d made mistakes.
The world is constantly changing, and so am I. I know I will probably stumble yet again on the path, but I know that is okay. I’m older, wiser, and have more compassion for myself. I can trust that life will bring me the experiences I need to grow and that I can find the strength I need to meet challenges along the way.