Since Mitchell died, each day I go to nature and each day I find a rock, a gift. Yesterday I sat up on the mountain and a grasshopper sat next to me. When I thought to myself, it was time to go, grasshopper hopped away. I looked up the symbolism of the grasshopper. It is wisdom and nobility.
When I walked back to the car, I came upon a mother with two very small children. I was greeted by the sight of a plump, white bottom as one relieved himself where he was. While I watched them proceed along the path, the oldest of the two, who was probably three, chanted that they "were going up the mountain." Tears filled my eyes. I remembered my wilderness adventures with my two sons.
I have been reading lately that our "wilderness" is domesticated. We make it fulfill our desires. There are huge signs now at Tennessee Valley, boldly stating the name and pointing the way of the path. When I first went there, Chris was in his stroller, and Jeff walked beside me, and the cows came up and kissed Chris right on his nose. Chris is now thirty years old, and the cows are moved away. They don't fit the image of this natural expanse.
GGNRA owns this area now, which is a good thing because it means it will always be safe. I have no complaint on that., and daily give thanks to all those who foresaw and orchestrated such a gift.
I remember when the mountain bikers and hikers were in a huge battle over the use of the paths and the hills. The hikers spoke of the bikers as "silent messengers of death." I thought to myself that it is only recently that we can treat the "wilderness" as a place to "zone out" and not pay attention. Of course, I deeply appreciate that luxury. I was once one of those mountain bikers. Now, I am content to walk, to walk slowly and spend time with the lichen, rocks, and plants that I often used to speed past. There is a place for us all, and awareness and connection are keys to unlock a place for both you and me.
More and more I feel how inside and outside are one, and I can be in and out, male and female, sad and happy, all at the same time.
I appreciate the freedom that gives me, the knowing that life and death are also one. Cells are dying in me now, and others light like fireflies. I like to image myself as the place where the sun sparkles the water. I like that tingling feel. I vibrate like the strings of a harp, and climb up the scales.
Yesterday I wondered if therapy has allowed us to look at the wildness in ourselves, has given us a safe place for that, and if this domestication of the wilderness is not a reflection. As within, so without. We humans have had an effect since we appeared. Giving ourselves safe places to sit and reflect is probably one of our gentler ways of impact. May we continue to recognize the importance of nature, both inside and out.