Then one day I knew if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. God is everywhere. Alice Walker
For many summers now I’ve written about our wonderful return to our favorite spot in the Maine wilderness my husband and I first discovered some twenty–five years ago. And every year I’ve rejoiced in what we’ve received.
This year was different—yet equally wonderful, perhaps even more so, in a way I could not have anticipated. This year, I was called to return the love that the Spirit of this place has so generously shared with us over the years—for when we excitedly walked into our special place, my heart stopped . . . and was left dangling in my breath. A violent storm had gone through. Limbs and downed trees were scattered around the site and, most painfully, two large beautiful trees lay uprooted and still across the waters of our sacred pond.
Yes, this is the wilderness. Still, my heart broke for the Spirit of this place. As I sat at the water’s edge, I thought about how our Mother is simply reflecting back to us through fires, droughts and floods, tornadoes, storms and hurricanes our long lack of disregard for her, our pervasive inability to live as if every stone, tree, and animal is our kin in this sacred web of life—and our seemingly innate failure to recognize that when any part of this web, tenderly cradling the Soul of the World, is torn . . . we all bleed. Yes, certainly, it is tragic and devastating when large portions of our human population are impacted but, if we are all truly connected in the great web, are all a part of the Soul of the World as the ancient ones have told us, in the end, can any part be regarded as more important than another?
So, I asked myself, “What can I do, here, today?” And I instantly remembered that harmony can only be restored through reciprocity—a willingness to engage in the great dance of give and take with all of life. For so long, this special place had filled, healed and enlivened my soul. Now it was my turn . . . to give back, to merge with the Spirit of this place to help restore it through the offer of my love—that devotional love not contingent upon weather conditions or circumstance; that love that is so wide, so still, so infinite that it can touch the sand, stones, rocks; the marsh grasses, plants, trees; the ants, fish, birds, and speak to them in their language. A love that permeates yet lives outside the confines of time and space, and yet is more real, more visceral, more eternally present in each moment than we could ever fathom—yes, a love fully capable of making our arm bleed if we cut a tree.
And so, I sat quietly at the edge of the pond and sent my prayers on the windy breath of the Great Spirit into the Spirit of this place. I called to the Spirit of the turtle, who has long been the guardian of these waters, but he did not emerge. I thanked him for his long service over the years and sent prayers of hope that he might be well. I thanked the Spirit of the two large downed trees for having kept watch over the pond for so many years. I thanked the Spirit of the water for providing a resting place for the trees whose Spirits can now seek new forms over time. I imagined my love as a sacred stone dropping into the center of the pond sending out a soothing balm and, soon, I heard myself singing . . . a kind of lullaby known only to the Mother . . . and my body gently rocked as my soul merged with the Spirit of this place.
I sat for a long time and was slowly aware, beyond my sadness, of a deeper more tender love emerging than I had ever felt for this place. For now, we were silent together in the fullness of love’s reciprocity where there is no beginning or end. And some sense of completeness filled my soul.
“Thank you for this blessed opportunity to serve you, to love you, as you have so loved me and given to me all these years.”
And as we walked out for the last time this year, my heart felt light as it continued to be sung . . . and suddenly I could hear the song of the stones, trees and dragonflies echoing back in reply . . . and, together, our song filled the Soul of the World.
And I was glad.
Below are pictures – the first of our beloved pond and the rest from the Pines Lodge where we are blessed to stay each year. Enjoy!