I climb the watershed road above our home most mornings now. I began in early February when it was still the rainy season. I decided to try it for a month – some exercise, some stretching as I start my day. I hold distant memories of when I used to get up by 6.00am, toss gym clothes on and head to the gym with a book or friend to let exercise start my day. The mountain behind me is my gym now so back in February I decided to give it a try.
By the end of first month I was hooked. I felt my body respond well to the morning climb. I began huffing and needed to catch my breath by the time I reached the flat space at the barricade at the top of the road where our friends live. Then I had to pause again at the level near the first reservoir, and then at the sharp turn before the climb to second reservoir. Heart pounding, breath short I would pause there too for the final climb. But after a month, my pauses were fewer. Now nine months later, my heart still beats heavily but I don’t need to pause anymore. I’ve gotten stronger physically, but I’ve also learnt my pace for climbing a steep slope. This isn’t a competition. It’s part of my morning meditation.
Somewhere within those first few weeks my morning walk became a delight. No one tells me to do it. I don’t even make myself do it. I want to climb the mountain road. Those trees and rocks call to me. I want to be with them. I want to feel the mountains, so solid, all around me. I want to hear the creek whether it’s a torrent or a trickle. I want to listen to the birds. It was so glorious when they arrived to sing every morning. It’s quiet now. And I so want to be with my rocks and trees. And the smells. And the air around them. And the mists that cover the mountains and dance through the trees.
Something happens up there each morning. I’ve found my comfortable spot to pause and pray, settling more deeply into Life, into Love. Last night as prepared for sleep I read a bit of Richard Wagamese who wrote about his dog walks and feeling the ‘lingering feel of the wild’. I wouldn’t presume to have his connection to nature, yet there is something that calls me into the mountain rainforest. I feel the call of the wild, the call of the free, the call of The Creator.
Coming out of our Thanksgiving Weekend, I’m so grateful to live so close to the wild, and to be able to know my Creator more deeply. As Hafiz says, ‘I have learned so much’ and there is so much more to learn. I’ll keep lingering, listening and learning.
What’s your connection to nature? Where? How do you feel?
Love and prayers from a wandering mystic
Mystic in Motion
Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire
Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder
Society Member of Shalem