With me I always carry my peace message: This is the Way of Peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love. There is nothing new about this message, except the practice of it. And the practice of it is required not only in the international situation but also in the personal situation. I believe that the situation in the world is a reflection of our own immaturity. If we were mature, harmonious people, war would be no problem whatever — it would be impossible…
All of us can work for peace. We can work right where we are, right within ourselves, because the more peace we have within our own lives, the more we can reflect into the outer situation. In fact, I believe that the wish to survive will push us into some kind of uneasy world peace which will then need to be supported by a great inner awakening if it is to endure.
~ Peace Pilgrim
I went out to the woods yesterday and today. Sometimes I walk through the woods and sit on the dock, but my desire was to be in the woods, or with the woods, these past few days. There is a peacefulness in the forest that I don’t find anywhere else. Maybe it’s the trees, putting out calming vibes. Or the softness of the forest floor, covered in pine needles. Or the scent of the pines. The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.
I went out to the woods and sat with the trees, listening to the spring peepers, listening to the birds sing their spring-like songs. It’s strange how the songs changed so quickly from one day to the next. The Red-Winged Blackbirds, who hang out here in droves during the winter, went from their strange chatter at the beginning of the week to their conk-la-ree song that we’ll hear over and over and over again until breeding season ends. (For those of you up north, it’s been my experience that when the few who are going to settle here start their spring songs, the droves are moving north. You might be seeing some soon. I saw a great gathering of them this afternoon, fattening up on whatever it is they’re eating from our lawn.)
I went out to the woods to think about my place in the world, and my contribution to the state it is in. I went out to the woods to meditate, to wonder, to wander, to ask what it is I should be doing besides reacting to all the merde (pardon my French) that is getting thrown at us lately. I suppose one could say I prayed although I would say I asked my soul-voice or the divine-within, and waited for the answer.
Out of nowhere, Peace Pilgrim popped into my head. Not literally. Her name emerged from the deep recesses of my mind. I thought about how she laced up her shoes and hit the road carrying little more than a comb and a toothbrush, depending on the kindness of strangers to help her meet whatever needs (food, shelter, companionship) she had. I’ve read a little about Peace Pilgrim, and I’ve used some of her words, quoting them on my blog. This afternoon I looked her up online and found her booklet, Steps Toward Inner Peace: Harmonious Principles for Human Living, on the Peace Pilgrim website. Her books and booklets are free as e-books (or just the cost of shipping for printed versions).
Peace Pilgrim’s life was pretty remarkable, and she put a lot of mileage on her feet. She gave up her name after having a vision of herself as “Peace Pilgrim” when she walked the Appalachian Trail in 1952. Reading about her, I find myself thinking once again about a long walk of my own. I am also inspired by those bloggers I know who have walked the Camino and those planning to.
As you know, M and I are talking about doing a long walk, possibly in the U.K. Before we do that, we will have to do some training for it and, I have to admit, I have been slacking when it comes to that. I do walk every day but my walks are slow and don’t cover much ground. The camera is partially to blame. Or rather, I am to blame for carrying the camera and always, always looking for ways to capture what I see. It is a way of bringing you along with me on my walks (because I do enjoy your company!). I don’t plan to stop doing that, but I am working on a goal to take more training walks that will involve fewer photos. I take too many photographs, anyhow. It will be good to simplify.
I have been thinking about a design for t-shirts to wear on my walks. Something bright so I can be easily seen on the roads around here since my weekday walks are likely to involve a lot of walking on the back roads to get from here to, say, the Point. I will put one word on the back. That word is Love. I may leave the front blank, but “Be Kind” seems like a good message, too, and I will see how I feel about putting those words on the front once I finish designing the back. I hope to show it to you soon.
I reckon that’s about it from me on this grey Friday. Thank you for joining me in the woods. We are not likely to see much of a sunset this evening, but if that changes, I’ll meet you out at the Point. Sunset is scheduled for 5:43 PM.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 561) A hundred or so geese honking and flying overhead. 562) Exploring my relatively new lens. (I am using it almost exclusively lately so I can learn more about how it works.) 563) Breathing in the scent of the loblolly pines. 564) M, always. 565) The spring peepers peeping for the first time this season.