My wife and I decided to take a small hike in the woods near our house the other day. It was a brisk fall afternoon, and the dazzling blue sky was pocked by a few meandering clouds as we set out – a perfect time for an adventure.
We entered the nature preserve quietly, stifling our footsteps so we could see Mother Nature in her normal state. A raven cawed overhead as we took pictures of intricate details surrounding us. Our only exchanges were a few whispered words, furtive gestures towards things of interest, a quick loving squeeze of the hand, and silent smiles. We just WERE as we took all of it in. The rustle of leaves from a scampering chipmunk. The carbon of the forest floor filling our noses. Faerie breezes brushing our cheeks.
I branched off the wooded path towards the side of a pond to see what could be seen. Sunlight cavorted upon the water, a frenzy of beauty meeting my eyes. Birds flitted to and fro to reeds that bent under their weight when they landed. The lightest of winds flowed, adding another layer of texture to the scene before me. A small circle of ripples expanded from a spot where some unknown creature ducked beneath the water’s surface.
Stock still I stood, not wanting to disrupt the moment. My feet melded with the earth. I was growing roots into the soil. Blending into the tableau. I was tasting, smelling, feeling, hearing it all. I was consuming nature, and it was consuming me.
It was the rarest of moments: complete synchronicity with my surroundings. A oneness you strive for but almost never achieve. Awash in the coexistence of everything.
And then it was gone.
I came crashing back down into myself, and sadness immediately filled me over the lost moment. I looked around me hoping to rekindle that feeling, but it had fled.
Walking back to the path, I found Jillian marveling at an evergreen riddled with holes on its trunk from woodpecker assaults. Each hole was weeping sap, leaving a white trail beneath them like ghost tracks of tears. We shared a smile that conveyed the wonderment we felt and came to a spot hosting a rudimentary wooden bench, so we sat for a few moments.
In a hushed tone, I told her about my experience by the pond, the connection I felt to all of nature. How I selfishly wanted more of it. To take it all in and to be absorbed into it. How I felt that we as humans rob ourselves of becoming part of nature by trying to lord over it and command it.
She looked at me, green eyes ablaze. “That’s the thing…we ARE nature. We’re in concert with it, a symphony of beings and things making one great melody.”
That simple statement abated my sadness over losing that connection and replaced it with the realization I will have it again if I simply open to it. That I’ve experienced a similar resonance in my own marriage and symphony of beings creating melody in union. My presence is not merely part of something greater, but in concert with it, and that there will be a time we coalesce again.
One connection feeding another. A symbiosis as natural as time.