wild places and gentle moments…

In East Texas, June air can often be as humid as a rainforest. You pray for it to just let go and rain already. It’s so heavy that I struggle to breathe.

This week hasn’t been that way. The days have had a lovely Novemberish feel to them…inviting me to linger a while…in gentle moments well spent. I have learned much.

Bunnies were born in the yard this week. It began in a frustrating once upon a time, turned into a silly sweet day of caregiving, and finally came to a secure and happy end. I’ll write to you of them soon. Yes, dear Dobby Do was involved.

So, there have been busy hours and not so busy hours, which brings me back to my walking once again….

My breathing changes when I set out to walk each evening. It slows, as do I. To be honest, I don’t walk for exercise. I’m not in a hurry to get anywhere or to do anything in particular.

Forest Bathing is becoming quite a popular thing these days which makes me giggle. It seems I’ve been forest bathing for a long time. Who knew?! I had no fancy name for it or scientific studies to tally up in bar graphs as proof that it was a clever idea. And no, you don’t need soap.

Mostly, it’s about listening…to the trees and the wind…to the birds and the frogs…to the echoes of thoughts in my heart…

In everything there is a longing, to be at peace, to create, to love.

In the wild places everything is a part of the longing and belonging…from the fallen tree to the precious snail. The snail moves as peacefully as a breeze. He pauses often to enjoy the lovely moments…the tiny ones that he knows are worth all the time in the world.

The trees reach ever forth in new creation. Fresh leaves leap into the bluest sky. Fresh roots delve into the deepest earth. Trees create in every which direction from the center of themselves.

And what of love…in the wild places love is everywhere.

Deer keep close to one another in the shade of the sweetgum, listening more carefully than I do for rustling in the leaves. Flowers open in colorful surprise, a gift of last season’s efforts and a whole year’s waiting. Frogs sing to me each afternoon as I blow kisses of goodbye and see ya soon. They probably sing to each other…but it’s nice to imagine it’s for me.

I made cheese ladas this week and had leftover corn tortillas. I shall feed the fish, I thought! No need for waste! The perch were boisterous and seemingly starved! A lone catfish was shy about the whole thing. With time and patience he not only came near but ate straight from my hand. My heart raced in joy!

Then, there was this little turtle. I shall call him Tiny Tim after the turtle in the song that I share with the preschoolers. We giggle and make hand motions and always but always sing it twice…

I have a little turtle

His name is tiny tim

I put him in the bathtub

To see if he could swim

He drank up all the water

Glue glub glub

He ate up all the soap

Nom nom nom

Now he’s home

Sick in bed

With bubbles in his throat

Bubbles bubbles bubbles

Bubbles bubbles pop

Bubbles bubbles bubbles

Bubbles bubbles pop!

Again!!

Tim adores corn tortillas! He easily dispersed the perch and even tried to scare off the catfish who is at least three times his size! He grabbed the tortilla bites from my hand and swam far enough away to gobble them down before returning for more. We went on like this until there was no more. Plus, the sun was setting and it was time for me to get home.

Each day I arrived with something to share. Each day the lake dwellers came in their own way…especially Tim.

Last night I was awfully tired and there had been bunnies all day and I had run out of corn tortillas. So it was that I arrived at the lake empty handed…

The perch splashed at me in gleeful anticipation. The catfish floated gently back and forth at the edge of the pier waiting for my hand. But Tim….he really gave me the “what for”!

He swam close to the pier and popped up…

What’d ya bring me?

When I didn’t give him anything he swam off a few inches only to return and pop up…

Seriously, what’d ya bring me?

He began to come up and just stare at me…quietly staring…

Other times it seemed he had a voice –

Hey?

Hey?

Now?

How bout now?

Now?

How bout now?

Tiny Tim was relentless.

I giggled at his eager enthusiasm. I was saddened that I was such a disappointment to him. I never realized that he would invite me into his world. I never thought they would all come up to the surface of the water because of me. Of course I know hunger was involved, a longing for nourishment. But still, there I am, wondering. I have learned my lesson and shall definitely be taking something to share when I head out to walk later. I have no desire to spend my evening being stared at again by Tiny Tim.

I know there will be more days like yesterday when I have nothing to give. The fish and the turtles will come anyway. I’m grateful for that. Love is not always about doing. Nor should it be. Love is about simply being.

Whether one calls it Forest Bathing or Listening doesn’t really matter. It may be a flower coming up through a sidewalk crack that reminds you of that time…or a single pot filled with herbs that you will use to create a luscious meal. It may be an ocean or a mountain top or a forest with a lake. It doesn’t have to be a big place. You only have to feel the gift of it.

When you find the wild places, the simple ones…you discover they are filled with longing for peace and creation…and they sweetly overflow with love and belonging….

****

ellie894 June 15, 2019

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tucked away…

I often write things

that I fear are not worth reading

So, I tuck them neatly away

Fragile thoughts folded in upon themselves

The words fade and the pages yellow

As a memory floats into view

*

…of being ten years old

picking blackberries

in a blazing Texas summer sun

no clouds, no shade, no wind

while my cheeks burn red

my pail remains nearly empty

as i search endlessly

hand to mouth

for the One…

you know which I mean

the One that brightens your lips

in a triumphant juicy smile

of sweet buried treasure

once lost

now found

I eat far more than I put in my pail

it remains nearly empty

so tomorrow

there will be no cobbler

or biscuit jam

tonight

there will be no need of dinner

or dessert

only a cool bath gently run

to soothe my fiery skin

the search was everything

it filled me and fed me

left me weary

in the nicest of ways

sleep will surely come

claiming me for its restful own…

*

Tucked away somewhere

Are some yellowed pages bearing faded words

That I should wander through

It is time

To take them out of hiding

Unfold them

And see if anything has ripened

Sweet enough

To fill a nearly empty pail

Perhaps,

In the morning

We shall have biscuits with blackberry jam

And in the evening

Warm cobbler with cold ice cream

And after that,

When the stars come forth to shine

And the fireflies begin their nightly tango

We shall sleep the weary peaceful sleep

Of being ten years old

At the end of a perfect summer’s day

****

ellie894 June 4, 2019