This morning, I went for a hike with my friend, Beth, at our local state park – a 450-acre haven of gardens and trails along the shore of the Merrimack River. These days, the parking lot is usually full and the trails are scattered with socially-distanced humans (and dogs) walking, hiking, or jogging through the woods.
Sometimes, as I move along the familiar paths, I secretly pray that the park works its magic on everyone who enters. I imagine the sweet smell of wild honeysuckle or ancient pine infusing each guest with an aroma that lingers long after their visit has ended. Or that the swelling lilac and rhododendron bushes excite people so much with the promise of their beauty, that they can’t wait to come back to see the buds burst into colorful blooms.
I pray for forest epiphanies, the kind of transcendent moments that reconnect us to our souls when we get lost.
Yes, I want the experience of being with Mother Nature to carve deep neural pathways into the brains of everyone who enters the park these days so they’re incapable of resisting the urge to come back over and over again long after the pandemic has passed.
Why? Because I care about the health and safety of our planet – her mountains, oceans and fields, and all the beings she shares with us – the birds, animals, insects, and plants. I not only want them to be protected, I want them to be revered. Because I know that when we’ve grown to honor the sacredness of the earth, we will have arrived at a place where we value each other as well. Then, the “Great Reversal” can begin and instead of spreading viruses, we’ll spread healing, compassion, and love.
Too good to be true?
Consider the alternative…
In the end, Nature always wins. I was reminded of this truth when my friend, Kelly, sent me the following poem by Haroon Rashid. I was struck silent by his message:
We fell asleep in one world, and woke up in another.
Suddenly Disney is out of magic,
Paris is no longer romantic,
New York doesn’t stand up anymore,
The Chinese wall is no longer a fortress, and Mecca is empty.
Hugs & kisses suddenly become weapons, and not visiting parents & friends becomes an act of love.
Suddenly you realize that power, beauty & money are worthless, and can't get you the oxygen you're fighting for.
The world continues its life and it is beautiful. It only puts humans in cages. I think it's sending us a message:
“You are not necessary. The air, earth, water and sky without you are fine. When you come back, remember that you are my guests. Not my masters.”
I send blessings to you this week as we all continue to find our way to back to what really matters.