Gathering Wild Inspiration

Just a short pondering for today….

The other morning, I stood there at the water’s edge in the gentle rain. Willow trees drooped around me and raindrops danced on the waters surface. I breathed in the peaceful earthy scents of wet trees and earth as I gathered inspiration for my writing, quietly listening out for wild stories and earth whispers. My heart came alive in a special way and in that moment,  I understood so clearly what John Muir meant when he said….

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~ John Muir

Where do you go to witness beauty or gather inspiration? And where do you find your peace and healing?

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Do you hear the stars singing?

After an evening swim, I sat outside on my little veranda with a pot of freshly brewed raspberry leaf tea and sipped its fruity deliciousness. I counted the stars as they burned themselves into the heavens. They scattered across the moonlit sky one by one. The evening shifted to darker and darker shades of blue as time grew older and I wondered what the stars were singing.

Do you ever hear the stars singing?

It is said that the stars sing loudly over the desert. That’s what the Bushmen in the Kalahari believe. Attuned to the energies of the Earth and the Universe, they tell stories of hearing the star soaked music filling the night air. Some say that they’ve woven these star songs into their own music. The Bushmen also believed that those who could not hear the stars singing suffered a terrible sickness of the soul, for they were not attuned to the invisible strings and threads that tie us all to Spirit and to the land.

This story brings to mind a poem by Hankasso (/Han=kass’o), a Kalahari Bushmen poet from the late 1800s whose translated work is published in an anthology that I bought several years ago. In his poem titled “What the stars say” he wrote:

“I grew up listening to the stars
the stars saying: ‘tsau! and “tsau!’
it is always summer when you hear the stars say ‘tsau!’

I’ve not heard the stars sing myself, but it’s such an enchanting thought. I imagine that what the Bushmen speak of is similar to the wild whispers and subtle nudges of wisdom that find their way into my heart when I deep practise stillness and immerse myself in Nature. Stories and poems like this remind me that the mystery is always there, whether we notice or understand it or not. The wild Earth always has something to say to those who wish to listen. And art is in the listening, for when you tap into your intuitive senses and listen with the ears of your heart, chances are you’ll be transformed by the profound beauty of what you hear.

“Some call it augury; I call it listening to the land, and its dreamings.” ~ Sharon Blackie

raspberry pot

Holiness in the Soil

There is holiness in the soil beneath our feet.

Do you feel it?

I do each time I plant my body down on the Earth to sit in easy pose for daily meditation. Or when I kneel to I gather herbs and work the garden. I feel the ground beneath me caress my flesh, its wild wisdom seeping into my bones. It pulls a part of my essence deep into the core of the Great Mother so that I know that I am held.

Did you know that warthogs kneel down when they graze the yellow stubble of grass? They must know of this holiness for them to come to their knees as if in honor and gratitude of the sacred meal that the wild Earth offers so freely. They remind me that there is no shame in being brought to your knees because being humbled releases our attachment to what doesn’t serve us. It brings us closer to our inner truth and reminds us of the sacred thread of Spirit woven through all life.

Somehow reflecting on idea of holiness in the earth makes me think of a recent blog post by Sophia Rose at La Abeja Herbs about gathering pine nuts that I stumbled upon. I found my heart inspired by her poetic writing and thinking of how the ordinary ways in which we interact with the Earth can become a meditation when we honor the sanctity of it all. Sophia wrote:

Harvesting just about anything from nature falls into the category of the unspeakable pleasures of living on Earth. Harvesting tangled roots, windblown seed, fallen nuts…this is another thing entirely. To gather these things we must, first humble ourselves.  It is necessary to sit, to crouch, or best of all, to squat as our eyes and fingers search out nuts amongst the duff and aging needles.  Squatting constitutes a meditation all its own.  It is a stance so native to our human form–the position from which we birth, from which we tend fires, and I’m sure you can conjure a few more, quite obvious, examples on your own.” ~ Sophia Rosa, La Abeja Herbs