To sit in a place

Silhouettes 1 by Randi Hauksen. Shared under a Creative Commons License

In preparation for the Wild Therapy training I am taking this year, we have been invited to find an outside place, and to sit in it for ten to fifteen minutes every day.

Our temple – my home – sits halfway up the Malvern Hills. Our garden is tiered. On the top tier is our veg patch. The next tier is down a sloping grass path, alongside the high stone wall that holds the first one in place.

In this stone wall is an archway. Some kind of old storage place, perhaps? It goes a few feet back into the earth, a man-made cave. This is my sitting place.

This morning I noticed the cold edge of the cast iron chair against my leg. I spied a hazel catkin shaking in the wind. I noticed how quickly the clouds above me were moving, and how still the grey sky above the horizon seemed.

A pair of bullfinches was singing high up in the bare branches of a tree that I don’t know the name of. Every now and again I would see the bright flash of the males red chest.

Three dark crows joined them in the same tree. Off to one side, hidden in the holly, a blackbird was singing.

In the distance, two small birds danced in flight, shadows against the sky. Swifts, I thought at first and then later I saw two long tailed tits and wondered if that’s who I’d seeing diving and leaping earlier.

I could see our three stands of bamboo, gold, black and something else, waving without pattern in the growing wind.

Sitting like this is not a new practice for me, although going to the same place every day is. A week or so in to the practice and each day has been different. A few days ago it was snowing. Yesterday morning the pond was frozen. This morning the pond had thawed and I could see into its depths.

In the past I might have taken a notebook with me, to record what I was seeing, either in the world or in my inner processes. It has been nice to leave the book behind and just sit.

The world goes on under its power each day. All of that life goes on doing its thing whether I am sitting in the cold chair watching it or not. And my own life goes on as well of course, whether the birds are noticing me or busy with their own lives.

There are patterns, and nothing is predictable. The seasons come and go and each day’s weather is unique.

I find a great solace in watching it all unfold. For me, there is a great healing in connecting with the natural world. We are animals, of course, and creatures of the wild, even though we have created a world of order around us.  I have a great trust in the power of returning to our place as one small voice in the always playing, never repeating, song of life.

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