Sunday, October 15, 2017

Enchanted by Nature's Spell

Seduced by the beauty, moved by the sublime, forever altered by the ethereal world she inhabits, enchanted by nature's spell. 

She dreamt of nature, of foreign lands. Of moonlit nights on desert sands. Once upon a time, she was a different person who lived a very different life. There was never a thought given to spending time in nature. One step onto a mountain pathway and her life was forever changed, but nothing prepared her for the first trek into the mountains alone.

When on a trail, there was a presence outside of herself  that she couldn't explain. A spirit, a hush, but vibrant in it's silence.  When she was there, she became one with this spirit, the spirit of nature.. Alone, yet not alone. Listening to the whispers of the Smokies. 

On a trail alone, far from civilization, this merging with nature began to heal her soul. In this world, the pain and disappointment from hardships she faced ceased. Pain became innocence. Disappointment became wisdom. With each return to nature, she brought with her an abundance of emotion, fear, joy, pain, the desire for peace and at times adventure. She offered these to nature. She leaves with gifts of wisdom, peace, acceptance and strength. The calm found in the reserves of nature made her whole, again. 

Yet, there was another gift. Seldom, does she set out with the conquering of nature in mind. Every trail holds a different "personality" to her. Each trail is chosen to suit her need. She goes where her spirit leads.  She hikes until the need is met or her body tells her, "Far enough today." At this point, the adventurous soul awakened by the mountain trails speaks. "Just one more curve in the trail." Curve after curve, she is pulled forward. She walks slowly, soaking in this peace. Often the sinking sun is her sign that it is time to go. 

This sense of wonder and wanting to experience "another curve" came home with her. In the walk of life, she carries now this insatiable desire to experience "one more curve". It consumes her. She dreams of experiencing all of nature's offerings. She has heard nature's whisper, "There is more". This freedom felt on the trail, this sense of wonder, this amazement at tiny miracles such as a crimson fall leaf lying mid-trail or magnificent, sweeping vistas lying before and below her as she stands on a mountaintop. Thoughts of canyons, deserts, valleys, rugged mountain peaks scraping the skies fill her. This freedom she feels on the trail, this strength and bravery she has earned fuels this desire. She began to dream. "What else is out there to fill my heart joy? To touch my spirit?" 

Still there was one more gift. Unbeknownst to her, with each return to the trail a foundation was forming. Through many trials in life, she came for solitude and peace she knew she would find. When filled with  pain, doubt or fear she sought solace in nature. With each step on a Smokies trail, she explored the emotion and choices she would have to make. The calm of nature quieted her turmoil and made decisions clear. In this, she learned self-reliance. Belief in her choices gave strength to defy expectations and gave courage to bring dreams to life. Even a time she had gone into the mountains underprepared and feared she may not make it off of the mountain had taught lessons. This lesson was that there was always a way if your desire was great enough. 

Today, she sought solitude on a trail to measure her dreams with nature's guidance, again. Deeper and deeper into the mountains she moved. Higher and higher, she climbed. There was no rush.  At times, she knelt in the trail for a closer look at the red autumn leaves and trailside flowers in shades of periwinkle and violet. She lost count of the times she paused to take in the rays of the setting sun's rays falling between tree limbs and across the trail. She turned to look up the mountainside at the dark green dells. Then, turned to look down into the forest below.

Eventually she stopped to rest. She had gone for enough for the day. As she stood, sweat trickling down backs hollow, she looked around for a place to rest. She could find no suitable rock or fallen tree for a seat. With a smile, she chose the trail. She took a seat, The feel of the earth against her skin, the leaves brushing her legs, her connection with nature. As she listened to the sounds of the whisper wind, she began to write. She wrote of dreams turning to hopes and of hopes turning to plans. She wrote of strength and weakness, disappointment and innocence, disillusion and wonder. She wrote of pain and healing. Her heart filled with gratitude at the gifts that land had given her. 

Finally when her needs were met, her heart filled and adventurous spirit sated, she knew it was time to go. The sun was low, touching only the treetops. Her timing would be just right to leave the trail at dusk. Rising, she gently brushed the leaves from her clothes and dusted her skin. Looking around one last time, she set off down the mountain thankful for the peace found today, her spirit renewed and heart wide open for the new adventures to come. 

- The Smokies Whisperer

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” 
― John Muir 

Monday, March 31, 2014

She Wrote of Seasons

Setting foot onto the path, I can see change in the land. Much time has passed, since I was last here. As seasons of life bring change, the season of winter has changed this mountain trail. 
Turning my head, side to side, I take in the differences in the land. The view from the trail has been altered by many felled trees. A familiar landscape, yet unfamiliar. I sense movement in this foreign landscape. Searching for the source, I see my shadow making it's way through the forest beside me.
Farther down the trail, I see the streams, that cross the path. There has, always, been joy in the challenge of making my way across them. With time, the path across the creeks may change. Rocks and logs may shift;but, always, there's a way. 
I notice a new stream, a new pathway carved across the trail by winter. I reach for a broken branch lying by the trail and easily make my way across rocks, using the branch, as support. I continue on to streams I've crossed many times, before. As I approach, I search for the stepping stones through the stream. This, too, has become unfamiliar. I scan the creek, slowly, this time. Again, I see nothing to aid in crossing. This season of winter, of life, was too harsh. I am unequipped to forge this creek. 
I walk the stream for a ways in each direction, hoping to find a place to cross. This point, to where I have made it, is the base of the largest climb. The ascent would have begun after crossing this last stream. The lay of the land at the base forms a small cove. The hill begins it's climb on either side. To my left, a rock bank lines the cove. I make my way into this shelter and choose a fallen tree to rest upon. 
Setting my pack on the ground and leaning the branch that I had used as a walking stick against the log, I take a seat. The tree still holds the moisture from the recent rains. After sitting for some time, the evening's chill begins to set in. The sun is sinking behind the trees and the creek carries a breeze. Thankful, that I had thought to bring an extra shirt, I untie it from my waist and slip it over my head. 
I sit and  listen to the creek's flow. The gentle sound of the waters soothe, deeply. In this soothing chill,  this "quiet",  I study the rock wall to my side. It is, almost, cavelike in it's formation. I have, always, been drawn to this cove and to this rock lined wall, but have never paused long, before today. I decide to stay awhile. 
I have been on this trail in all seasons. Through winter, when snowflakes began to fall, gathering on lashes, like gazing through fields of diamonds. Through the heat of summer, when sweat trickled down back's hollow. When spring flowers were budding in shades of lavender. 
I have written from this trail before. "The Journey" was the name that became of the notes scrawled here, that day. It was a different season, an autumn day. Again, life's seasons had made it's mark. Fallen leaves had, so heavily, covered the forest floor. I did not realize I had crossed the trail I was seeking. I, nearly, became lost. I, finally, listened to what the mountains were telling me. Telling me that is was time to stop. So intent, was I, on "my path" that I missed the signs I was given. Thankfully, in that season, I made my way back safely. 
Today, I thought to write, as well. To write of poetry. So many feelings, inside. Both beautiful and painful emotions. Unable to tell them apart, as they all carry the same sweet scent of beauty. For this, I am grateful.
I thought to write of poetry. Instead, I wrote of my experience of finding my way through new places in old lands carved by change. I wrote of the damp chill in the air causing me to seek warmth. I wrote of gentle sounds soothing my spirit. I wrote of the past, of the present. I did not write of the future, as I am uncertain of it, as I am of these new lands. 
I thought to write of poetry. 
Instead, I wrote of change.
I wrote of seasons.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Safe Place

She knew that it was time for a return to the mountain trails. Kamali, her name of native American heritage meaning "spirit guide", needs the peace that awaits. 
Kamali has lived a tumultuous life. Her refuge has always been solitude. Her silence often misunderstood. Her reticence mistaken as shyness. It is, simply, her nature to listen, observe and learn. Her strength was born of necessity. Walls built to shelter the heart of a child. 
She has returned to seek the wisdom of Mother Earth. With each step, she is pulled closer into her embrace. Knowing that when she makes her departure, it will be with a purified heart. As she has played in the crystal waters found here; so is her spirit cleansed by the flow of nature. The return is necessary. The healing, essential. 
For Kamali is the keeper of a secret. A secret revealed to few, for she has learned not all are receptive. Always known for her strength, most knowing her quiet nature, how could she reveal the source of the spirit guide? How could she explain to them, that their pain is her pain. Their joy, her own. Is it a blessing or a curse? She searches the creases in faces created in struggles. Their hearts cry out, pain upon pain, unknown to most. Shouldering their burdens, placing hers aside. Reasons not understood. She senses a cause, a purpose. This she cannot share with others. Only, in her safe place on mountain trails can she ease this burden. 
Stopping to sit on a fallen tree, her thoughts wander through her past. She remembers clearly the first time it happened. The brokenhearted was bowed in pain. She approached and reached out to comfort. With the touch of her fingertips, she was overcome with their despair. Their fear, so intense. Their pain was crushing. Tears flowed down Kamali's cheeks. The brokenhearted rose and turned to Kamali. The despair was gone from their face. There was only peace. With a compassionate look and such tenderness, she pulled Kamali close to return the comfort. What had just happened? 
As she sits on the forest floor, the emotion of that moment floods her. Tears fall, again. She reaches to her side, tracing fingertips across the roughened surface of the fallen tree on which she rests, sensing it's history. She understands the energies it has absorbed to bring it to this point. The energies, she has absorbed in life have brought much change to her. No, she must be careful about what she reveals. She rises, the rustling of fallen leaves a soothing sound. Deeper into the forest, she travels. The sound of the creek's flow fades. Now, the sound of her footsteps, her only companion. She knows that nature will be the only companion she needs. In her daily walk in life, she is treated harshly by some. They sense she is different and consider it a threat. She speaks carefully around them, if at all. 
Others seem drawn to her. Of them, she takes even more care. They are unaware of why they are drawn. Once, she had sought their acceptance and kindness. To accept their kindness, means a risk of making that connection. The connection often comes with their pain; at times, experiencing their emotion as her own. She has seen the depths of despair in her own life, has been lost in it's darkness. She recognizes it's dark face in those she cares for. For her own protection, she must take care in who she allows close. The burden of others pain can be overwhelming for her. She is learning to manage, carefully, this gift. Always, she returns to the solace of the mountains.
She stops once more to trace her fingers over the pattern of a tree trunk near the trail. The hill to her left rises. She tilts her head to see the Smokies ridge top. To her right, is a downhill slope.  She leans close to peer to the bottom. Another creek flows far below. Silently, she observes the trail winding before her. As she traces the texture of the tree, she thinks of her daily walk in life. She meets such people. When she greets them, their gaze is so intense. She anticipates the words, she's heard so often.."Do I know you?" She shakes her head and smiles, "No, we've never met".  It wasn't her they recognized. They saw themselves in her eyes. Looking into a mirror to the human soul. They were reflected and liked what they saw. She knows a connection was made. It is safe for she will never see them, again. She treasures these moments, tucking them away like gems for safekeeping. 
She doesn't understand her complete purpose. Those closest to her that hold her secret, believe she was chosen. Kamali, spirit guide, protector of the lost, the struggling. In her own struggles in life she learned to love the unloveable, because she was unloved. She learned to see beauty where it wasn't evident, because she wasn't beautiful. She learned to accept others,  because she longed for acceptance. 
As she takes the burden for others, so the Smokies do for her. She walks the quiet trails and hidden pathways releasing her burdens. As she walks, Kamali whispers softly to the mountain's spirit. She listens as the mountains respond.
The peace she came for has been granted. She has learned not to seek the acceptance of others, only to offer it. She offers a safe place. She seeks her acceptance only on a mountain trail. 
Speaking an ancient language, a tongue heard only between human and nature. Listening to the whispers of the Smokies, she has found the peace she come for. Her safe place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My World

entering this shadowed world
alone, not lonely
lost, yet found

many fear to come alone.
many, to come, at all.

She seeks this solitude. For, it isn't nature, that is to be feared.  There are no hidden motives to be wary of here. The rocky precipice, one understands, is to be carefully, crossed. Unlike the jungle of the world, where you're left, never knowing where the danger may lie.  Nature doesn't take. It, only, gives. The gifts, it offers are abundant. Silence heard, in the wind through treetops, is laden with it's spirit. Stillness, found in the movement, of the trembling leaf. The safe haven found in the forest, on the mountain... always welcoming.

Hearing movement through the trees, pathside, she slows to search, seeing nothing. Only a spider, explores the trail with her. She makes her way carefully around it, so as not to disturb it. This creature intends no harm. 

With the setting sun, the forest has dimmed. She pauses beneath a tree to absorb the delicate hues of nature that surround her. Leaning her back against it's rough bark, she lifts her face. What's left of the evening sky, peeks through dark leaves. The mountain melody, so gentle. The hum of crickets, call of birds, the murmur of the distant river. The peace flows into heart. 

tilts her head, listens to night songs, shadows serenade, smiles softly, lowers gaze, walks away

my world

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spirit of a Warrior

Stepping onto the forest trail, she looks back to see if anyone has noticed her slipping away, into the dusk.  Aiyana knows she is expected to stay in the village, this evening. She is aware of the duties expected of her by the tribe. Too much time has passed, since she had visited the trails of her mountains, alone. 

Her tribe feels the mountains trails are no place for her to be. "Leave the wilderness to the braves. Their strength is better suited for it."  Yet, strength was her destiny. Born to a warrior, a warrior with no sons; she has been allowed to run free. She lives, as she was named, Aiyana, the "ever blossoming".

Always, she had broken the mold, cast for her. The tribe calls her strange. As a child, she was often found in the forest, alone. To find her, they must summons her from the treetops. She would never be a proper squaw. Of this, she was sure. 

As she walks the trail, she looks to her side, where crystal waters flow. Her spirit is mindful of their healing powers. She will always be drawn to the waters. Their healing powers cleanse her embattled spirit.

She stands by the waters, thinking of her past. Taken as a young bride, she had dutifully and proudly fulfilled her role.  Once, he had been proud to call her his own. Yet, he could never learn to tame her spirit. Unaccepting of her ways, he cast her aside for another . She returned to the spirit of the mountains for healing. The sloping hills and rising peaks were her family. The forest animals, her brothers and sisters.

Always, she has sought solace here. Stopping, she breathes the scent of the earth. Tilting her head, she views the same treetops that she loved to climb, as a child. They seem to reach to the heavens, brushing the skies. The farther she moves into the shadows, the more she awakens.

Back at the village, they would be searching for her. She knows that most will be thinking, "Foolish girl has wandered off, again. Why isn't she with us, preparing a meal?"  

Yet, she knows, there is one. The brave who understands her fascination with these mountains. He will know where she has gone. She has gone to heal her spirit. It is their shared understanding, of that safe place, that created their bond. Her safe place where she is allowed to, simply, be... "ever blossoming". He is glad that she has the spirit of a warrior, defying the steadfast ways of the tribe. She cherishes his words, "You are as a butterfly. You cannot be held too tightly or your spirit will be crushed". She carries his quiet strength with her, as she moves through the forest. She is thankful, for that safe place, found in his heart.

Again, she stops. As still as she can be, in the growing darkness. The only movement, is that, of the tremble of the leaves. Closing her eyes, she listens to the silence. In this silence, Aiyana becomes one with Mother Earth. 

Once more, she has renewed her spirit. 

The spirit of a warrior.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Into the Grey

Hesitantly, I choose to go into the mountains. Has too much time passed, since I last visited? Will they welcome me, as before? Will my love be evident? Will my love be returned?  Will I, still, hear the whispers of the Smokies?   

Will I feel the peace, once found there?  

The affinity with grey skies, shimmering drops of rain, the chill in the air and solitude of trails on days such as this, still remains. 

I approach the trail. With the first step onto a carpet of wet leaves, I am immersed in a different world. A grey world, a world where the only sound is that of the falling rain. A world where the falling rain creates a mist which wraps itself around me, as I move. 

I slip the hood from around my face; to sense the presence of the mountain, to feel the healing, to listen to the silence.

With a glance around, I realize that the rain has become ice. I tilt my head to taste winter's first gift. Snowflakes gather on lashes. Sparkling ~ I am gazing through fields of diamonds. I move through veils of white. Thinking of those close to me, who love winter's gifts, as much as I. 

I, slowly, walk the trails. Moving from one path to another, I pause. I stand, watching the snowflakes alight, silently. In pausing, I notice layers of snow beginning to collect on leaves, tree limbs and the trail. 

My clothes are dampened. First the rain, now snow melted by my warmth have become a crystal flow down my cheek, I understand it is time to go. 

I breathe the peace, one last time.  Whispering, 'Thank you'  for, once again, accepting my love. I turn and walk into the grey.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Journey

I choose the trail carefully for the day's walk. Completely sure that I'll be alone, for solitude in nature is often necessary for me. I begin, assured of my way and set off through the woods for the short walk to the trail. This trail is more dangerous than others I travel. For now, I have more to lose. The vulnerabilities from the past put me in the way of greater harm.

After a time, I realize that the mountain's whispers of encouragement have stopped. I pause and look around, convinced I'm in the right place, but the trail has faded. Again, I hear the voice of the Smoky Mountains. The whispers have grown urgent, "Turn around.... now." For once, I ignore the whispers. Instead, I follow past trails, faint outlines, old ways.. believing the results will be the same .This land will not force me to do as I should, but gives warning signs all around -The trail was more worn than this- This isn't the direction you were headed in on the previous hike-

At last, I pay attention to what the Smokies are telling me. I know distractions have caused me to veer off the course that I set out on. I turn and carefully make my way back. I leave the area I am in. With the guidance of the mountain, I reach the trail that I entered this wilderness for. I head down the path, this time paying much more attention to my surroundings.

I've regained the respect for the dangers that are held, along with the beauty, in this wonderful place. These mountains have no intention of harm, but with a single moment of disrespect... disasters can happen.

I come upon a fork in the trail. I know what one way holds... a easy walk, safety. The other.. a harder journey, greater risks and hazards. I take my choices into consideration. The path of least resistance or the way that I know will be much more treacherous. Following my heart, I choose the harder trail. This trail is steeper, harsh, strewn with roots and boulders. The path is lined with a rock wall to my right and a drop to my left. The twists and turns on the trail take me higher and higher. The fatigue begins to set in.

I reach three small waterways I must ford. This time, the mountains whispers encourage me forward. They know that I'm taking more time, treating them with the care that had been lacking in my actions recently. I've now entered areas of extreme danger, where a misstep could result in a horrible fall. Some spots have become so dark, so dim, that even the air carries the scent of danger. I continue.. knowing that with my carefulness, the dangers are worth what awaits me. I move ahead, but not before I take time to absorb the beauty that is already evident. The delicacy of lavender flower petals, the dim of the air, the glint of waters far below... all promises of rewards.

Others have entered the heart of this land for many different reasons, but none have ever entered with the such love, such a connection. These experiences in the mountains are mine alone. The magic that exists between the Smoky Mountains and myself move me in ways that I thought were impossible.

Still, I'm aware of the hazards. Eerie sounds from the woods grab my attention. I understand what they may be and proceed with caution. I am amazed that danger and serenity coexist here. Such, are some of the greatest experiences in life. My faith lies in what awaits me.

I am sure, now, that the mistakes made at the beginning of this journey will not happen again, as long as I treat the mountains with the respect owed them. I know, to where I turn when problems become greater than I can bear. To these mountains, I run. The comfort is ever present.
The whispers heard, the caress of gentle breezes on my cheek, the care, are for me, only.

At last, I reach my destination, the end of this awesome, yet dangerous trek. I have been rewarded for my new found understanding of this beautiful land. The beauty, the solace that I sought, have been found. The love returned ~ The journey was worth it all ~

Enchanted by Nature's Spell

Seduced by the beauty, moved by the sublime, forever altered by the ethereal world she inhabits, enchanted by nature's spell.  She dre...