For the last three weeks in a row, Sunday afternoon/early evening has been my time to go out and sit in nature. I have found a wonderful spot to sit and watch the pond, and not be visible from the path at all. I have yet to see someone else on this particular path when I am out there, though I see the evidence that other people, and animals, travel that way from time to time.
Last week we had an incredible storm. Winds were blowing over 100 km per hour, with gusts over 135 km per hour. (Hurricane force winds are 120 km per hour, to give you some perspective). Lots of trees were blown down throughout and around the city, and school was cancelled on Monday. Our power was out for 28 hours (hence, no post last week!). I was extremely grateful for our wood stove, let me tell you! Not only did it keep us warm, I cooked our dinner on it!
Yesterday was my first visit back to my “sit spot” since the storm. It was amazing to see the trees that had fallen, and the sheer number of pine boughs that littered the path was stunning. Others who had travelled this way before me had cut through some of the fallen trees that crossed the path, though there was still one I had to climb over.
I feel so clumsy and loud walking through the forest. Branches snap and brush against my coat, my boots clump along, and I sometimes I stumble to keep my balance. Once I finally make my way to my sit spot, however, I feel peaceful and silent.
I was looking forward to seeing what waterfowl would be on the pond today. The insects were flying and skimming the water, and the fish were jumping up to catch their dinner, but no birds were in sight. I heard an eagle, and a raven, and robins and other song birds, but they all hid from my eye. Instead, I challenged myself to pick out the changes the storm had wrought on this now familiar place.
Then I asked Artemis what she had to teach me today. She told me that it was all well and good to be comfortable just being in the woods. Followers of Artemis must also have a sense of adventure. “Explore!” she told me.
I’ve been wondering for a while what the view looked like from the other side of the pond, and how I would get there. After one more scan for any birds, I got up and made my way further up the stream that feeds the pond, repeating, “Explore!” over and over in my mind. I wasn’t so worried about what noise I made this time.
I tried crossing over one fallen log, but it didn’t go all the way across. I continued up the stream, and came to another log that did cross the stream, with a small break in the middle. With my mantra to encourage me, I made it across the stream, and back to the far side of the pond. It was neat to confirm the fallen trees I had seen from the other side of the pond.
I knew that if I continued on to the East/north east, I would eventually come to the main path that we walk through the woods. So I set off in the general direction that I thought the path was in, making my way through the ferns, and undergrowth and fallen branches. I saw lots of deer scat, which I took as a good sign.
There was a lighter area ahead of me that I made for, thinking that was where the path would be. When I reached it, however, it was just a marshy area with fewer trees. I began to get a little discouraged. “Explore, she tells me! Whose idea was this anyway?” The eagle called over my head. I looked, and still could not see it. I hopped and jumped from high ground to high ground in the marshy wetland, and at one point picked up a branch to use as a walking stick and to help me vault across a larger area of water.
After a while, the eagle called again. I had been “lost” in the woods for over half an hour. I told the eagle to stop laughing at me. And then I stopped, took a breath, and said to it, “I know. You’re not laughing at me. You’re encouraging me.” I continued on, and very soon after I came to the path. The eagle called again, and I thanked it for its encouragement.
The wild didn’t entirely let me go unscathed. As I was climbing over the last fallen branch on my way to the path, I banged and scraped my knee. I have a small wound to remind me of my adventure!