In late May through mid-June, we journeyed quite a bit… relishing weekends camping, hiking, and white water rafting in three strikingly different Midwestern landscapes. I notice how my experience of my interior world is intimately and deeply impacted by my environment:
Within the lush green and gentle falls in Yellow Springs, Ohio, I find myself feeling protected by the cover of forest canopy above, and lulled by the sound of trickle and light fall of water.
In the sandy expanse of the Indiana Dunes disappearing into the waves of Lake Michigan at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, I am aware of my freedom, as well as the illusions of constancy I often cling to in life. I feel my surrender to the sand moving underneath my toes; the sound of the water rhythmically arriving and departing against the shore; the feeling of the breeze swirling around me… to the arrival and departure of my breath, of my thoughts, of each moment… to my ever changing and moving life.
The walk-in campsites at the National Lakeshore campground were lovely. And during one of our hikes at the dunes, we had privilege of watching a bald eagle perched and gracefully take flight.
Rafting through the powerful rapids in New River Gorge, West Virginia, I was aware of my tiny size and the intensity of the forces around me. Those crashing waters! Those jutting rocks! That bright hot sun shining down on my skin! I was so small in the raft, using my little arms to push water with all my might, hands clutched onto the oar as I worked to maintain my balance and keep from being tossed into the water and rocks around me. My heart beat fast and my breathing was quick. And then we would pass through to calmer waters… and, as my heartbeat and breathing eased, I noticed the stunning nature around me. Then, helmets on, start to brace – we’ve got another rapid coming!
I am so thankful to find myself in each of these landscapes. For the land to bring me back to such different elements of my own be-ing. To be reminded of all the ways in which earth and I are truly one.