Restoring the Rest of the Wild Forest

It’s crazy to think that this time last year, my husband and I were away on a forest getaway and I was working on the final chapter of my book, Wild Essence. It was such a special time to reach the end of a writing project that seemed like an impossible dream for so long. In light of this, I thought that today would be a good time to share an excerpt from that chapter:

“The forest…oh the forest,” I thought to myself writing my morning musings.

It’s been a bearer of so many exquisite blessings. We’ve spent our mornings here taking forest walks and exploring every corner of it. It was made up of a mix of pines, eucalyptus, blue gums and acacia trees. Yesterday, as we entered the forest at a section of pines, it was as if a golden carpet of fallen needles rolled out before our feet. I felt honored that the wild Earth would be so kind to weave such delicate beauty for us to tread on. The forest was full of intricate textures, the canopy top reaching for the sun, the artwork of peeling bark, fallen branches, dark green undergrowth and mosses, scattered brown leaves and pine corns. It’s a splendid mesh of chaotic loveliness, coupled with soothing sounds and the earthy scents of wildness. I loved the sound of the wind blowing through the trees and watching them sway from side to side as Cyrus and I walked under them. It’s like music, a special language of trees that only the seasoned ear can understand. I imagine that the birds we’ve seen flying amongst the tree branches, the rabbits, the buck, as well as other unseen creatures of the forest have learnt to interpret it. I found myself wondering if the passing breezes allow the forest trees to experience different worlds. If the wind has travelled far and wide, coming in from the ocean miles away in the East, or from across the Savannah and bushveld North of here, do the trees get a taste of these distant lands when they dance with the passing gusts? Perhaps one day, with enough deep practice, I too will understand the language of the wind and forests more deeply.

For the moment I remained in awe of the forest energy, the community of the trees, all its inhabitants and the cloudless azure winter sky overhead on a windy morning. After spotting buck droppings and spores for a couple of days, yesterday I finally stumbled across an elusive young buck. We were walking along collecting fallen sticks and pine corns, when we noticed that some of the sticks had randomly falling into the shape of crosses. It gave us an eerie feeling and I wondered if somehow the forest was letting us know that the ground here was holy. Then minutes later and a few paces forward, we spotted it. The young buck seemed to be eating low hanging new leaf growths from a tree. Just as soon as we spotted it, the buck turned to give us a quick glance. She spooked and swiftly bolted off in the elegantly graceful manner that only young buck can. I felt the warm feeling of joy stirring within.

Centuries ago, this land would have been teaming with buck and wildlife. However, so much of the land in this area has been cleared for farming and mining over the years that spotting them here is a rare treat. Although this is not an indigenous forest, it’s fortunate that the owners have allowed it to grow wild somewhat with a life of its own. As a consequence of giving the forest space to become untamed, the natural wildlife has found a place to call home too. It somehow made me think that each of us is a beautiful tree in the forest of life, rooted in the essence of our own being, our branches reaching for different dreams. You are at the center of your own story and the driver of your life. At the same time all life is interconnected. The impact that you are making by re-wilding your soul goes beyond reversing the chains of damage and returning to the freedom and peace of your wild essence. Your individual efforts play a significant role in restoring the rest of the forest to its natural dignity. What you do impacts on the people around you. The people whom you share your life with, the world and Mother Nature all experience the ripple effect of your actions. Think for a moment of how you feel when you meet someone who inspires you – a role model fighting for a worthy cause, your favorite author, a successful person at the top of their game or any larger than life person who moves you. What kind of emotions do these people stir in you? These people inspire us just by living their purpose and making the choice to follow the whispers of their wild essence. You hold the potential to the same. One of our ultimate aspirations is to touch each other’s lives in a meaningful way and inspire them. You will find that each time that you follow through despite your fear, not only will your life be richer for it, but so will the lives of those who you touch along the way. We are collectively realizing our full potential as individuals, as communities and as society. “

forest mandala