Among the many cool sights we saw during our road trip to Montana in July were two fascinating trees:
One tree is growing near the Bitterroot River and has two ninety-degree angles in its trunk. This tree seems to have specific ideas about what it wants to do and where it wants to go—up, out, and up again.
The other tree is growing in Hell’s Half Acre, and its trunk is swirling every which way. This tree appears to be spontaneous—ready to go every which way.
I’m a cross between both tree styles—I enjoy planned spontaneity. Approximately seventy-percent of what I do is pre-planned. The remaining thirty-percent I block in my planner as free time and spontaneously decide how I’ll use it.
While walking Willa in the Laura Moore Cunningham Memorial Arboretum, I saw this small cairn.
Used by people around the globe, cairns—a human-made stack of stones—serve many different purposes:
Utilitarian: to mark a path, territory, or specific site
Spiritual: inviting passersby to stop and reflect
Ceremonial: when placed within a circle of enclosing stones
Memorial: when friends and family members voice a fond remembrance of a loved one while adding a stone
Symbolic: the uses are endless including love, prayer, and artistic expression
In Scotland, it’s traditional to carry a stone from the bottom of a hill to place on a cairn at its top. In such a fashion, cairns grow ever larger. An old Scottish Gaelic blessing is Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn — “I’ll put a stone on your cairn.”
There are five windows in my writing studio: three of them face east (for the most part), and two of them face north.
The east-facing windows used to let in heat—a lot of it! That is, until Len installed a translucent film designed to let in light, but not heat. We left the north-facing windows alone as lush trees shade them, and they provide an inspirational view.
There are many things we want/need, but not too much of. The first thing that comes to mind is food. We need it to stay alive and most of us enjoy it. I, for one, consider myself a “foodie.” But too much of it—without exercise—and we gain weight.
What is it that you want/need, but Goldilocks style—in just the right amount?
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. At least that’s what I was taught in school. I didn’t know about the exception:
“A straight line isn’t always the shortest distance between two points. The shortest distance between two points depends on the geometry of the object/surface in question. For flat surfaces, a line is indeed the shortest distance, but for spherical surfaces, like Earth, great-circle distances actually represent the true shortest distance.”
Perhaps it’s not about the two points, but HOW we move between them.
Depending on the distance, walking is my favorite mode of transportation, (no less than six miles per day).
If we take the truck, it means we’re on a road trip, and you have to love that!
In the Fiat? I’m running errands in town.
On our bikes, or in the plane? We’re enjoying a goof-off day.
What about you? What’s your favorite way to get between Point A and Point B?
My friend, Shirley Showalter, has a blog whose posts I never miss. Recently she asked, “What do you do when the world seems wrong, and you are sad, lonely, confused, or anxious?”
I responded, “When I’m in a place of discouragement and overwhelm, I submerge myself in nature. In my experience, the two things that people yearn for the most are: (1) to love, (2) to be loved. It’s in nature that I find reassurance for both of these needs.”
Shirley replied, “I would love to read about how love reaches you in nature. It’s easier to feel one’s own love going out, I think, than universal love flowing in. Do you agree? Maybe you will answer this question in a future post!”
Hence, this post was born.
I realize that everyone’s experience is different, and people embrace many different beliefs. This post just happens to be about how nature informs me of love.
Nature has taught me a lot about faith, it helps me to draw near to what many people refer to as God, and others call Goddess, Yahweh, Jehovah, Jesus, Moses, Allah, Krishna, Light, Mohammed, Supreme Being, Buddha, All That Is, Source Energy, Shiva, Universe, Higher Self, Creator, Brahman, Spirit, Mother Earth, Father Sky, the list goes on.
It’s my experience that the name we use isn’t as important as our relationship and interaction.
How does love reach me in nature? When I contemplate earth’s beauty—especially the cycles, the repeated refrains—it touches me deeply, and I feel loved. And in this love, I am recharged. In this love, I find reserves of strength I didn’t know I had. In turn, I’m able to love more deeply.