Dappled light gives way under the canopy that embraces me. One foot gently stepping between shadows and bird songs.
Nature comes out to play in silences.
I try to ensure my steps are gracious and kind. I’m not keen to crush dried leaves and hear them crinkle or break twigs along the way.
The path leads down a hill and I hear a stream. A heron is hiding and swoops out from the treetops upon my unannounced arrival.
Monkeys come out and shirk away. The bigger ones remain in a curious stare. The dirt is red and scorched outside the stretch of trees. My mind decompresses; my thoughts relax.
There is space and a gentle breeze surrounds me. The air is slightly dry, yet sweet. Hidden fragrances emerge in the art of noticing. There are boundless possibilities in being.
We have been in this long-term love affair on rerun. Some of our past memories are captured in black and white. Many others are laughing and enjoying the cool waters and splendid trees. You, the natural environment, and me—a duo that is shared with multiples and varied in its permutations.
Yet today, adoration emerges. I am because you allow me to be. You, the constant giving partner, showing up in glorious abundance. Your mystery is both alluring and foreboding.
I have participated in wild winters that have shaken my spirit with barely a speck of sun. I know the terrain of hot and barren from South Sudan and I understand muggy and buggy across the continent with humid days. Admittedly, I have often taken your magic for granted. And yet, here you are again, showing me the way.
Where else can one stroll in peace?
Where can one go to put a mind at ease and a soul to query its purpose? To reconnect again and again? I see it has always been me, careless on my side of the commitment equation. And yet, isn’t that what life is—the commitment of one foot in front of the other? A momentum of onward despite the predicament?
And in this time emerges the spiritual crisis of true belonging.
Where does one find belonging and connection in an extended period of global separation and isolation? Maybe, it’s in the one constant afforded us that requires far greater care—the one that allows us fresh air. And so, on our meandering paths, at times scenic and at times bereft, with all the trials of the uphills and all the joyous downhills, we find ourselves.
Today, I find you in this city—forest bestowed with dappled light feeling like a queen. I wear no regalia. It’s your exquisite nature, a long cape of green and garlands of faint purple popping out of ponds.
Here is our duet; no one else to join us just yet.
I am besotted by your elegance. I feel renewed reverence and the audacity to be free.
Hope rises again. So today, I offer you my vows anew: to do far better.
Thank you for allowing me this wander in your wonder.