Meditation and Reflection – A Nature Walk

This is a story of a Nature walk inside my mind that took me for a stroll down memory lane.

As I stroll through the field I can feel the dampness of the fresh grass under my bare feet. Small pieces of grass making their way between my toes. I smile at the familiar feeling of connection to the earth that always occurs when I walk freely barefoot. Coming to some natural stone steps I descend each step carefully, taking time to notice the new sturdy sensation below my bare feet. I look up and see that I have come to the locked rod iron gate. My key is still hanging tied to a weathered blue ribbon and awaiting my return. Just as last time, I find a carefully wrapped present also waiting on the stone step at the base of the small iron gate. The present is wrapped in plane brown paper and tied closed with a single piece of twine. Beautiful in its simplicity. Again, there is no name to indicate who the present is from. Slowly bending over I retrieve the present and unlock the gate. Stepping through I am once again in awe of the beautiful garden that now surrounds me. Each set of flowers uniquely displaying it’s own variety of color and adding to the brightness of the world around it.

I walk the now familiar grass path until I reach the waters’ edge of this vast garden’s pond. Setting the present carefully down I peer into the water. First I notice the radiantly colored Koi happily swimming about but now I refocus my eyes to see just the surface of the clear blue water and I notice my reflection. I am a young girl with long blonde hair and blue eyes. I am wearing a white shirt with thin horizontal multi-colored stripes and a comfortable pair of maroon courdoroy knickers. My shins and ankles are bear as well as my feet and they seem joyous to be breathing free amongst the wonderful nature that now surrounds me.

Now I sit down on the grass, my legs comfortably crossed and I decide to open my mysteriously wrapped present. Delicately removing the tied twine the brown paper falls away to reveal another beautifully hand crafted wooden box. I smile. As I open the box I realize that this time it is not empty of solid matter, as it has been in the past. In the very center of the box lays a grey-blue smooth rounded river rock. Also stunning in it’s simplicity it is not unordinary or especially unique but it feels really good in my hand. Heavy, but not too heavy. Sturdy, yet elegant. Smooth to the touch and comforting like the quiet presence of an old friend. I set the box back down and decide to store the rock in my pocket for now. As it slides down inside my pocket my mind floats away………..

I am sitting cross-legged on the top of a rusty 55 gallon oil drum that I set up-right in the middle of a sandy horse riding arena and I am surrounded by nature. I am about 7 years old and I have decided that I will sit here impossibly still, for hours if need be, to observe the wildlife around me. I am curious to see how close the Blue Jay will venture towards me or if the resident Squirrel will be brave enough to check me out. When I have waited long enough and I am no longer perceived to be as much of a threat I notice that the songs of the birds and the sounds of the crickets and frogs seem to increase. Almost as though it is natures’ beautiful symphony rarely heard and only performed in the comfort of safety. Over these next few hours the Squirrel works with me, he teaches me how to sit the least threatening and how to divert my eyes when he approaches to help him feel comfortable………………………………..
This is a memory that reminds me to be patient.

Standing back up I walk along the water’s edge peering into the shallow pool hoping to spot more dancing Koi. Instead I spot a similar rock. Blue-grey and smooth with a slightly different shape. I delicately pick the rock up. Allowing the rock to drip dry while I inspect it’s surface I then decide to drop this new rock into my pocket and my mind travels again……

It is winter and the rainy season has hit our town sending water to rush through the back of our families property down thru the canyon. Strictly against the rules, I decide to climb through our broken fence and push the rest of the way deep into the canyon trees to play in our new river. Soon my brother joins me. We run happily and a bit wild through the thick brush and trees, cutting our own paths in order to follow the stream until we happen across a section deep enough to float objects. Any objects will do. Sticks, small logs, leaves, trash and even parts of an old shoe. Pretty soon we have managed to tie wire and twine together and secure broken pieces of drifting wood to some old tires attempting to make an escape raft. A magical raft, one that will carry us far away down river to a different life and a new adventure. Blinking, my eyes re-focus on the clear stream that I have found on my nature walk. Thinking about this memory I am reminded what a powerful tool my imagination can be to help me escape my worries, even if just for a few whimsical hours…………………

Back in the present, I stroll further along the streams edge enjoying the sounds that are bubbling up to my ears when my toe gently strikes an object. I glance down to realize that there is another Grey-Blue stone laying at my feet. This one is much larger than the rest. Slowly bending down I pick it up and it causes me to travel once again…….

I am 15 years old. My mood is brooding and dark and I feel very sad. I am sitting on the dirt floor of the delapadated metal shed located near the back lower corner of my families property. I am not alone, I am sitting in silence with a boy. He is looking at me with a broken heart, tears welling up in his eyes and he begins to plead with me. The air between us is thick and I can feel the darkness pressing down on me. I feel depressed, lost and very unhappy. This boy is unhealthy for me and as much as I want to help him I realize I cannot. I just can’t do this anymore. I raise my hand between us palm out to halt his pleading. “I cannot stay in this place with you anymore” I firmly whisper while staring down towards my drawn up knees. And with those last words spoken I find the strength to compel myself to my feet and swiftly walk out the door of the shed alone. I can hear his agonizing sobs as I begin to stride away. I can feel his pain inside my chest and my steps slow for a moment. I want so badly to turn back to him and give up my soul to save his but somehow I convince myself to keep moving away. Next, there is a loud “THUD”. The startling sound broke thru my scattered thoughts. It was coming from the shed, followed quickly by the clanging sound of something heavy hitting the metal shed siding. Without thinking I spun on my heels and ran as fast as I could back to the shed. Stepping inside the doorway I came to an abrupt halt and struggled to process what I was seeing. There was blood and the boy was lying uncouncoius on his back. His legs and arms limp at his side. A very large boulder that we had drug into the shed years ago to sit on was now wedged between the top of his head and the crinkled metal wall of the shed. The boy was older than me, and at 17 years old, he was not only a large young man but he was also very strong. He had warned me in the past that there was no way that he would live without me but I guess I just really didn’t think he would actually follow thru on that kind of threat. Apparently I was wrong. In a frenzied moment of complete despair he had laid down on the ground of my shed and lifted that heavy boulder straight over his head suddenly dropping it with the intentions of cracking his skull in two. With the sudden realization of the scene that I was viewing my legs gave out and I collapsed to my knees in horror. A moment later I found myself scurrying desperately on all fours across the dirt floor, scooping his head and upper body into my arms and holding him tightly. “I take it back” I cried, craddling him as tight as I could and desperately hoping that he was not already dead. Through my weaping tears I begged and pleaded to him “I take it back. I will stay with you. I promise. I take it back.” ……………………

Thumbing the Blue-Grey stone thru my fingers with one hand and wiping the tear from my cheek with my other I nodded to myself and decided to drop that stone into my pocket with the others.
You see, I never told anybody about that incident and for approximately 460 more deep dark days, I followed thru on my promise to that boy. I stayed glued to his side. I buried my soul and I struggled to use what little energy I had to shine my light in a selfless effort to illuminate his path in life. I could not bear to be the reason for his death. I smiled and nodded and followed his specific directions. I patiently listened to HIS dreams of our future together. I started to miss a lot of school, my grades were plumeting and as he became increasingly uncomfortable with any friendships that I tried to maintain I soon allowed those to fall to the way side as well. I consoled him in his darkest hours and I tried to brighten each of his rough days with my kindness and my smile. But he was disturbed and it wasn’t easy being his lighthouse every day. For well over a year I let go of all hope that I would live a life of my own and I accepted my surrender fully and completely. My role was to simply take care of this young man and be what he wanted, needed, and demanded that I be. That is, until just after my 17th birthday, when my guardian angel of a sister did what I seemed to be incapable of doing. One Saturday afternoon, with courageous strength, my sister physically ripped me away from that boy’s side, leaving him furiously and dramatically flailing around in our driveway as she sped away with me prisoner in her car. I cried and pleaded for her to return me to him. I lied, saying that I was happy with him and swore that he “needed” me. Finally, as a last ditch effort, I came clean and told her that he would surely kill himself if I left him again. She pulled up to a stop light and looked me square in the eyes and with all the truth of the world behind her she said to me “Now you need to listen to me. IF that boy chooses to kill himself then that is HIS choice to make and there is nothing that you or I can do about it!!!” With that she kept driving and within minutes I was a weeping sobbing mess, confessing all my deep dark trapped feelings of the past few years. Silently she drove me far away and she kept me until I could heal some and think clearly without his ever present darkness weighing on me.
That was the end of my relationship with that boy and the first day of my new life. Ultimately, I was never able to help change this mentally disturbed young man. If not for my brave sister, I would have lost myself completely to even the effort of the task. Perhaps that was an important lesson to be learned and that is why I chose to drop that large stone in my pocket with the rest. Looking up at the beautiful garden before me I returned my mind to the present to enjoy my nature walk.

Continuing around the waters edge, enjoying the feel of the moist grass between my toes, I see a small waterfall just a couple inches in height. I kneel down listening to the water and then I stretch my arm out and place my fingers under the gently falling stream. Cool to the touch the water feels free, free to flow over my fingers and continue on its path. My fingertips accidentally dislodges a small pebble and it falls into my palm. Upon closer inspection this smooth pebble is also Grey-Blue. Ordinary and common much like the others but yet still unique in its own way. As I am inspecting this small piece of nature my mind once again wonders away to a time from long ago………

I see a young blonde haired girl galloping through a field of daisies and summer weeds. She is riding bareback on a very small but high strung Shetland pony. The girls’ long sun kissed legs hang wildly free and far down the small pony’s side. She giggles with delight as her dirty bare feet are tickled by the weeds and flowers of the field. They are playing together, the pony and the girl. Free of spirit and having been transported to some invisible make believe world that can only be seen and felt by the two of them. I recognize this young girl as me. Once upon a time, filled with wonderment, free spirit, and laughter. And I remember the Pony, her name was “Snips”. I began riding Snips when she was just 3 yrs old. She was a Tri-Colored pinto with beautiful splashes of white, black, and brown all over her body. She reminds me now of a Native Indian pony. Snips had a stray splash of white at the tip of her nose called a “Snip”. She and I had many great adventures together. Though Snips had quite the sense of humor and loved to end most of our adventures with the two of us….. umm, well… “parting ways”. In fact, on one particular adventure it became quite the challenging game of duel between the two of us. We were “suppose” to playing the part of Robin Hood thieves escaping the castle walls with the treasure in hand, I would leap from the fence to mount my faithful stead and ride off into the darkness. However, Snips did not like it when “leaping from the fence onto her back” was part of our playtime script and would promptly take off bucking with her head between her legs until me and the treasure were strewn about the courtyard for all the Kings Knights to come seize. After numerous tries I conceded to re-write our play script. I suppose it is just as good if the Robin Hood thief would come running around the tree where his faithful mount was waiting and swing up onto her back treasure in hand. But now the “faithful mount awaiting” part was giving us some trouble. Every time I would come around the tree with my stoledn treasure I would find that Snips had wondered off to nibble on some grass and was much too far away. Being the resourceful child that I was I finally resolved this part. Robin Hood would now simply secure the treasure from the villainous king while holding a long rope which was tethered to his faithful steed in order to come running back, fleeing from the castle guards he would then gracefully swing up onto his faithful steed treasure in hand. “Ahhhaaaa! I am victorious” I shouted from the top of my pony, raising my hands up and waving the clanking treasure high into the air. Alas, perhaps Snips just did not like the thought of being a thief, even if it was to give to the poor. Promptly upon hearing the clanking & rattling of our treasure Snips took off running and bucking once again with an ultimatum: Drop the treasure or else I will drop you and the treasure. I believe that we “parted ways” no less than 23 times that day before I felt like I had gotten the last word. After all, I was Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and I was most certainly going to steal that hard earned treasure from the corrupt King and return it to the poor villagers even if it meant that I would have to hand walk the Treasure and my faithful stead all the way home.

Chuckling at the pure determination of that young girl from my past I stood up back to my feet. After brushing my knees clean I reached towards my pocket and happily dropped the pebble in with the rest of the stones.

Nature Walk to be continued………………………………………………………………

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