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A meander at Pocomoke River State Park

The wondrous colors of the bald cypress in autumn.

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

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Before the fall

On the Hemlock Trail (New Germany State Park in western Maryland)

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.

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A weekend of walks

Autumn colors.

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

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You are here

Sunset gathering.

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

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