None of your knowledge, your reading, your connections will be of any use here: two legs suffice, and big eyes to see with. Walk alone, across mountains or through forests. You are nobody to the hills or the thick boughs heavy with greenery. You are no longer a role, or a status, not even an individual, but a body, a body that feels sharp stones on the paths, the caress of long grass and the freshness of the wind. When you walk, the world has neither present nor future: nothing but the cycle of mornings and evenings. Always the same thing to do all day: walk. But the walker who marvels while walking (the blue of the rocks in a July evening light, the silvery green of olive leaves at noon, the violet morning hills) has no past, no plans, no experience. He has within him the eternal child. While walking I am but a simple gaze.
A Philosophy of Walking
A meander at Pocomoke River State Park
I’m painfully aware that the experts in fields like religion and spirituality sometimes feel that bringing mysticism down so far into ordinary life is an insult to the great mystics and makes it all too light and breezy. I feel just the opposite. I believe that one day we’ll understand that we’ve lost out on religion because we made it too lofty and distant. I see it as a simple quality of everyday life, and in that simplicity lie its beauty and importance.
~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own
Brief experiences of sublime absorption, as ordinary as being struck by the brilliant blue of a cloudless sky, may contribute to your sense of being religious. The mystical moments multiply and over time you extend the borders of yourself, you are less prone to protecting yourself, and you have more empathy with the people and the world around you. If you define religion as a strong sense of the divine, your daily mysticism contributes to that sense by drawing you out of yourself into nature and then beyond.
~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own
Before the fall
by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
A weekend of walks
Like leaves in the autumn or wood in the fire, all things pass. But, there is a moment in which we can see things as they are.
~ Sandra Hannebohm
You are here
IT IS EASY to dismiss the magical world as just a fairy tale belonging to childhood or old tales, to maintain that what we need at this moment more than ever is hard science, that carbon reduction and loss of biodiversity are our most pressing concerns. And yes, there is important work to be done reducing our industrial imprint, restoring wetlands and wild places. But if we do not remove the rational blinkers from our consciousness, how can we respond to the deeper need of the moment and recognize that we are part of a fully animate world? If we are to become partners with the Earth, living our shared journey, we have to once again speak the same language, listen with our senses attuned not just to the physical world but also to its inner dimension. We cannot afford to continue to dismiss so much of our heritage—the thousands of years we were awake to an environment both seen and unseen.
~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Emergence Magazine, excerpted from Where the Horses Sing
Joanna Macy writes that until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it—grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
by Burton D. Carley
I do not know if the seasons remember their history or if the days and
nights by which we count time remember their own passing.
I do not know if the oak tree remembers its planting or if the pine
remembers its slow climb toward sun and stars.
I do not know if the squirrel remembers last fall’s gathering or if the
bluejay remembers the meaning of snow.
I do not know if the air remembers September or if the night remembers
I do not know if the earth remembers the flowers from last spring or if
the evergreen remembers that it shall stay so.
Perhaps that is the reason for our births—to be the memory for
Perhaps salvation is something very different than anyone ever expected.
Perhaps this will be the only question we will have to answer:
“What can you tell me about September?”