Walking around the woods opposite my parents’ house, I am delighted to see the seasonal changes in the flora since my last visit in Spring…the wild flowers, the reeds that have grown tall around the small lake, the luscious foliage everywhere. There is an abundance of green. Even the canals are green, a blanket of algae covering them completely, disturbed only when a mallard swims through it and leaves a trail.
One summer evening I go for a 40-minute walk and I was struck by how silent it was. I could hear the distant murmur of traffic from the N44; a handful of people walking their dogs and laughing; but other than that it was silent.
And yet in that silence I heard so much.
The rustle of the undergrowth where I guessed a blackbird was seeking its treasure by tossing the leaves aside. A female blackbird, brown, suddenly flying off out of nowhere. My own thoughts and feelings finally coming to the fore.
Walking along a treelined cycle path, I could hear the faint sound of baby birds chirping. I wondered if they were young woodpeckers nestled in one of the holes their parents have made in the tall trees.
I smile and my heart feels light at the sound of this sweet “music”.
I purposely avoid the people who are walking their dogs as I want to be with myself, and explore my own thoughts and feelings, uninterrupted. Though it’s not a time of ruminating, I am letting the thoughts go, releasing my grip on them and observing instead. I am curious about what’s going on inside of me.
Being in nature like this is a chance for me to seek and find answers. I ask myself a question about something that’s been challenging and frustrating the last few weeks. No matter what I’d done I kept encountering obstacles. It got to the point where it was becoming ridiculous. Why had this situation become so hard?
I queried within what to do, what is my next step. I wondered whether in this silence I might be able to sense it, hear it, know it. Without external distractions, other people’s opinions, noise…what was it I needed to know about this situation?
Paying attention to my surroundings and taking them all in, I am hopeful of spotting a buzzard or a fox, too. Or perhaps a heron, which I often see in these woods.
In the end, I only encounter some mallards, coots and blackbirds, but I don’t mind. I know another time, another day I will see other wildlife. Any wildlife makes me happy. Or just walking in the woods makes me happy.
The answers I am searching for slowly emerge but it’s not till the following day that I have some major insights and I finally know what to do.
This is my creative process and I trust it…knowing that the answers don’t always come up when I ask for them. Sometimes I am not ready to hear them straightaway. Or perhaps they do come through another person.
Nature teaches me the process of emergence and growth. This process of trust and inner knowing.
In any case, as I walk back home I relax into the knowledge that my answers will come clearly and effortlessly. And when they do, I know exactly what to do. My feelings will confirm what feels right and true to me.
Where do you seek answers to your questions? Does Nature help you to discover them, too?