Insights from a walk at The Earth Sanctuary
It's December 27th and fresh snow covers the ground. I hear it doesn't snow much on Whidbey, but the whole NorthWest is coated in Christmas magic now, and it's going to stay for at least a week with cooler than normal temperatures predicted.
The Earth Sanctuary in snow is on my list of hikes. The energy is high and palpable here. Walking up to the CottonWood Circle, I hit a wall of sacred and my chatty mind struggles. It's like opening a door on a hot summers day and walking from air conditioning into the sweltering heat. Only this is not heat, just a wall that sloooows every. thing. down. It's alarming at first, the mind is so normally busy. When it stops, it can feel scary, but it's not the end of you or me, it's just stillness and peace.
When I first went to the Sanctuary, Chuck Pettis (the creator of ES) asked me to stand between two pieces of charred driftwood in the Ley Line Sculpture. It's the same for me every time now. In a few moments standing in line with the wood, I feel light, clear. Next, he suggests I stand in the circle of charred driftwood. This time, and every time so far, I feel grounded, emptied. "That's where you can leave your stories" Chuck says.
I want to leave my stories here, especially the recent difficult ones. I want to move forward and the Earth Sanctuary is like a friend holding out a hand to me. It listens to my stories and it keeps them safe. I can walk away, be new, start over. Leave it all behind and not look back. The stories will be there always, but I don't have to keep walking through them anymore.
In the freshly fallen snow, I see tracks of the regular inhabitants: all types of birds and four-legged friends; fox, rabbits, a tiny rabbit, a Pygmy? I can see fox tracks going into the brush cave in the corner of the wood.
There is a circular and zig/zaggy dance to the bird tracks. The patterns left in the snow from these winged friends reminds me of when I'm walking in circles looking for something, or forgetting what I was doing and getting angry at myself for not remembering, or being more organized. When I see myself in the confusing snow tracks I can laugh at the littleness of it and I can be gentler on myself too. Just look for the seeds under the snow, and be thankful.
Being thankful leads me to the New Year. What better way to begin than in Gratitude. Our stories can bring us down, but they are in the past and we can stop walking through them. Being out in nature is one sure way to get into the present. Animals, snow, air, sun, water, all help us to feel and heal what needs mending. So take care this season and play, walk like the birds or sit in stillness and leave your stories to the Earth. Happy, Grateful New Year.
Visit the Earth Sanctuary here.