Forest Gateways Through Wonder Walks, Cougar Eyes, & Plant Hums
The sun dips over the Salish Sea towards the tips of the Misty Mountains in the West as I begin my evening walk into the Forest. I finished dinner early and the golden glow on the tree tops and in the high soft clouds, pale blue sky lured me outside as I anticipated another wonder venture in our verdant cedar trees nestled in the Snohomish River valley. Here at Our Sacred Acres, although we are fairly close to roads, other homes and Seattle, you can step into the woods and easily enter the land of the magical, the Enchanted Forest. Tonight was no exception. I entered into the soft leaf, needle and moss covered forest floor, weaving between trees with their low curved branches and climbing up and over green carpeted logs. “Which way shall I wonder tonight,” I wondered? Yet I know one of the forest’s secrets and I looked up to receive my answer.
Ahead was the gateway…I recognized it as an imperceptible breeze moved through the sword ferns under the tall stretched cedar. I recognized its happy greeting, its waving, dancing invitation to come, come come….come this way. This is the way for this magical night! “Oh Yay,” I feel delight rise in my heart and head that direction. I love my forest wanders,…so much presence, sacredness, joy and miracle of the beauty of living, moving natural life singing their songs. There is a palpable hum in the forest. I just require listening, my heart open, my eyes both pouring out love and drinking in beauty. This is how I walk. This is how I play. This is my pathway into Enchantment.
The last few days I find my feet and our forests guiding me off path. At Wilderness Awareness School the other week I learned some animal forms…ways of moving through the forest as various animals. My favorite currently is the cougar…getting down on all 4 paws and stalking, sneaking through the brush, climbing under and up over big mossy logs, jumping and moving off of stumps letting the wave of motion and impact onto the soft soil undulate up my spine through my neck and down my arms, out my hands as I move through the wooded terrain. The forest looks and feels different as I embody cougar…I see and experience with new eyes.
Other times I become Owl, jumping off logs silently, lightly and listening for my next move. I like the challenge of deliberately walking into areas of fallen trees, large stumps, undergrowth and feeling how to foot my way as animal, becoming familiar, at ease and eventually graceful with diversity.
The Forest awakens me. Awakens my shen 神(spirit in Chinese), an inner light to more fully sense and feel the Beauty of the life around me. The last 2 days, I’m feeling plants in a way I haven’t before. In a carpet of forest lilies, many new fiddle head ferns and bleeding heart greens were vibrating in a way that caught my eye. I crouched down and just observed and was in awe. The smoothness and perfection of the lilies’ lines, curves of their leaves and the delicate, so delicate lobed lacy leaves of the bleeding heart. I feel these plants as my teachers…I listened and felt, felt, felt with my body. They shined in presence and I will invite them into my dreams tonight.