Many years ago I was on a hike in the back country of Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. A beautiful, wild place. The park ranger leading the hike was a sensitive outdoorsman. At lunch he read poetry while sitting under what shade we could find.
He talked of his sense of space, living out there among the wild things (bison, prairie dogs, wild horses, snakes, etc.). We pondered if one’s sense of space was created by where you grew up, or if it could change.
I grew up in the beautiful woods of New Jersey (really)! I loved walking through the forest to one of the streams that ran its course there, pooling into sections deep enough to jump into during the summer. It was idyllic in many ways. I’m not sure if it was the woods, the water, the sunlight through the leaves, the peacefulness of sitting on the porch in the evening hush, or just being close to the heartbeat of the earth, but I was aware of the sense of casting off the shackles of life when I was in nature. I was aware of a freedom and connection even at a young age.
When I roll that ranger’s question around I wonder if it was the woods that formed my sense of space or my time on the beach. Of course growing up in NJ I spent lots of time in or by the ocean. There was a deep sense, a deep knowing that one was in the presence a powerful life force.
But then, as I grew into an adult I developed a deep love and attraction to the high desert. Now, as an adult, that vast openness calls me. I’ve traveled there so many times with friends and family. When in the desert of 6000+ feet I feel like I’m with a partner, I feel a completeness, my longing satisfied.
There is a sense of what is holy, the power and beauty, in just about all environments. If open, we can hear Spirit calling in any location. Where do you find yours?
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