I met Ross when we both took a course in Ecopsychology – our group headed out to the West Coast of Scotland to Knoydart, where we each set off on a wilderness solo. Without our intentions set we left alone heading out before sun up under a blood red moon. We each had wonderful tales to tell from that place which held us each one of us experincing that web of life of which we are an integral part.
Fast forward a few years and Ross heads out over the Atlantic to the Northwood’s of Wisconsin for a year in nature..here is his story:
I have just returned from spending a turn of the seasons in the Northwood’s of Wisconsin. I was taking part in the wilderness guidance program, an 11 month nature immersion experience organised by the beautiful community that is Teaching Drum Outdoor School (www.teachingdrum.org). On the 1st of May last year (2009) I walked with 11 others away from civilization, into the unknown, the unfamiliar, and the uncomfortable. I walked to learn about myself and others in ways not easily possible within the sensory drown of the city. We walked for the joy of the moment, for life.
We were to explore our relationships with the external and internal. Our relationships with loved ones, not-so-loved ones, the earth, mind and soul. We found ourself deepening connections and clearing/understanding mental fuzz. We explored our dreams and our surroundings and the symbiosis of the two – of everything. We found the motivation and hunger in being.
I came to realize what life is and took another step on the journey to explore my reason for living, my passion and my gifts. I gained more awareness about the wavy thin line between self and other, about ebb and flow.
We explored tools to connect with life – to become human. To become whole. To not only survive but to passionately flourish in life’s empowering flow. To ride the wave and not fight it.
We made fire by friction. We sang and danced. We trapped and gathered. We fought and cried. We practiced crafts. Made leather and clothing, baskets and bowls. Tools. We hiked and canoed, ran and swam. Napped. Lay gazing at the stars. We sat in a circle around hearth, told stories and jokes or sat silently absorbed in each other, food, fire, the lushness of ALL that is. We ate wholly. We gifted to the earth and she gifted us. We played and experimented. Always intensely. Everything was/is always intense.
If life is a dance then I have just learnt some new moves. Or maybe I ‘remembered’ a few moves that I haven’t done for a long while. Maybe. I found/find myself feeling much love for all who have influenced me and all who I have met and will meet on this journey. In fact I feel much love for everything as I see how all is connected. I am a piece of the whole. I realize that I fit into that puzzle and my piece is vitally important for that puzzle to be complete. I see how every encounter, every action, effects life immeasurably. I rest. I am content.
I grateful to Ross for writing this guest post, if you’d like to hear more you could contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org he’s love to hear from you. This is something he wrote during the white season:
I can treat every moment, every breath, like I have recently been treating every mouthful of food.
I can savour it.
Feel it in intricate detail.
Take all of its nourishing goodness I possibly can.
Respect it and honour it.
For it gives me life.
It is life.
Every footstep that I feel the wonderful crunch of snow under foot feeds me, gives me the hunger to keep walking.
Now I am flowing with life instead of fighting it.
WHAT I choose to do every moment doesn’t matter as much as HOW I choose to do it.
Present or not present.
Aware or unaware.
This feels like honey melting in the mouth.
Like the passion of a lover.
This simple sweetness is all I need. Specks of snow dancing to the ground. Spinning and spiraling in the wind to join the mass of white below. A broken aspen finger bent at the joint leans against one of his furry brothers.
Flakes float now like individual specks of light descending from the heavens. Chickadee sings and sings telling me that spring is here. Even though snow flake may shine otherwise, I feel spring in my heart and body. I feel the freshness and newness that she brings.
I feel buds within me stretching for the sun, stretching for his nourishment. I feel my roots mixing with the people and place around me. I see older roots spread across the planet.
Some deeply grounded and fed by soil. Others merely laying on the surface dried and torn, weak and fragile. I appreciate them all for they brought me to this place here, so that I may bud again on this tasty spring day.
With no regrets and no wish to change anything I step to my feet and carry on walking…………..