Thickness of the Wind on my Back

REFLECTIONS ON THE WEAVING (Casco, Maine, September 27-28, 2013)

#1:  An Awakened World:  The earth, through and through, is an awakened being of which we are one, mutually cocreative aspect.  It happened that I walked past the yurt towards the Maine woods to urinate.  I followed a slender path into the trees beyond the wood pile and turned onto a thinner side path.  As I leaned my head over, I pushed against a spider’s web.  I pulled back immediately, regretful that I had not paid more attention, but there was no spider there.  The web had done its work and had been abandoned.  Still, I had the feeling that this was the wrong place for me, so I went back onto the first path and went further into the woods and there did my business.  The earth was utterly calm.  Autumn was humming in the trees besotted with color, a self-delight that found itself inhabiting my own body.  This pattern of nature is everywhere: we are all changing together.  It’s not romantic.  Aging has its frailties swirling in the physical years of my body, long long long past the afterglow of youth.  My bones are also moving towards brittleness.  The winter of life is in my hair, mostly grey, and thinning like the leaves falling from the trees around me.  Late afternoon, and no birds were singing….no rustling of the undergrowth by a chipmunk I had noticed earlier, who knew I was watching, as it stretched from one shrub branch to another to eat, eating while watching and being watched….not even the silent fall of a leaf glistening at the corner of my eye, reminding me of having heard the sound of silence many years ago.  I stood up and turned back on the path.

Suddenly I knew that I was being followed.  It was unmistakeable.  A very large creature was stalking me.  I stopped walking.  The skin on my face tightened instinctively.  The feeling had no fear in it, but the sensation was a crowding thickness covering the skin of my back, a voice of sorts that requested I turn and acknowledge the great, gentle beast tracking me.  I turned around.  It was the wind and the trees and the grasses pushing on me.  The wind had bent the trees towards me, really, literally down towards me.  It was such a gracious dance of equals, the music of the breezes rustling the upper skirts of the trees, some of the leaves falling from the delicate limbs.  I thanked them all, felt the communication between us, one integrated community of beings responding to each other.  When I said Thank You, bowing and returning the honor so graciously given, the wind stopped, the trees straightened, the grasses relaxed.

And yet, I carried for a long time the gut feeling that I was still being watched, that nature was watching….partly joy, partly an immense pride of the observer in all its marvelous complexity and seasonal changes, of which I am only one of the observers….nature–tall, willowy, caressing, demanding, with dignity embedded in its soul.  The earth was pulling its resources into itself towards winter, noticing footsteps on its belly, sucking on attention and fully embracing the wanderer who steps into its midst and reminding him that we have coevolved to this moment.  Do deer, foxes, raccoons, stones, old leaves, rotting wood, brown grass stems, the whole changing world feel this in some way particular to their own realm of consciousness?  I cannot fully know.  But I know we have evolved together into a form of shared awareness.  My face flushed; the pain of behaving without awareness is a cruelty.  And yet, I felt the motions of my body striding through the autumn grasses and was happy.

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