Crickets chirp and birds sing and cicadas chant a quiet rhythm. The woodland symphony is performing a private concert, and my ears revel in sound. As I write this from my bed of ferns, a treetop squirrel joins the chorus, his soaring voice carrying the melody.
What a sight she is. Golden light shines through heavy branches. Verdant mosses cover little bits of tree and floor. Vulnerable new growth takes its first glance at the sun.
This is my paradise.
I have been dizzy lately, like tiny parts of me are scattered all over the place, parts that are not heavy enough to hold their ground when the wind blows. The gusts are growing stronger as well, sneaking and billowing up when I am at my weakest - a lonely, consuming, and spirit-crushing existence.
What is there to be done.
All at once, I sense the earth below me and the sky above me and the breeze around me. Suddenly, things feel stronger. The ideas that never seem to stop bouncing between the walls of my head settle to an even tempo. There are new ones too, tiny thought seeds that find their roots in this feeling of peace.
A few weeks ago, I began the practice, a walk in the woods to heal what is broken. When there are free moments in the day, I pull on my Dr. Martens and head off into the forest. In a short span of time, the unsteady sensation beneath my feet has begun to level. Burdening, stifling feelings have been replaced with the most imagination and inspiration ever housed in my tangled red head.
As I allow the earth to nurture me, pouring into others has become natural. My well is deeper, and there is more of myself to freely give. My music becomes soulful and emotion-filled. New poems are the first things that fill my mind each morning. In the kitchen, I combine unfamiliar notes of flavor and texture. And OH the ideas that come! Sometimes, I must stop (as I am now) to sit in a bed of ferns and let them free, pencil in hand.
Not every day is the same. Sometimes a walk in the woods is a few hours with my surfboard, surrounded by a pod of dolphins.
Sometimes it is foraging the backyard for a rainstorm’s mushroom children.
Sometimes it is walking to the car after a long day of study, listening to the sweet songs of summer's end.
Stop and take time with her, time to feel and sense and welcome all that she yearns to give us. Creation is healing. Creation is creativity. Creativity is medicine.
She is my utopia. She is the remedy that is healing my soul.
Find your forest.
Article & Photography by Madeline Long