07 March 2010

Belvedere Sun Worshippers

The leaves cushion our footfalls, but at the same time amplify them as they crunch. We stop by the lake, the water lapping at the sand, the sun sparking diamonds on the water. She sings to the element of water. We touch it, trail out hands in it. Small white shells along the bottom, reeds growing farther out. Dead reeds, their lives ended, buoyed by the water, it holding them in death, as they held themselves in it in their lives. Leaves browned by age and the absence of chlorophyll rest at the bottom of the lake, and every passing wave stirs them slightly, and they move a centimetre, then return to their original rest.
A small breeze carries a whirlwind of leaves past us. The lake could stretch on forever. The blue water, such a deep blue, is so clear. We can see the bottom, here clean, here a clump of rocks, here maybe a small fish, or do my eyes deceive me?
We walk again in silence.The trees overhead cast their dappled shadows on our backs as we move beneath them. She asks us did we notice the change in wind. They did. I did not; I was watching the ground. My element must be earth then, for after a while I take off my shoes and walk barefoot on the rocks and in the mud.
We stop in a circle of trees. There we pray to the earth. We speak about how everyone has lost touch with the earth, how they walk on concrete, on carpet, not knowing that they are missing earth, but feeling an absence in their lives, something that they cannot fathom. They think that they are happy, they have houses, cars, a family, money.
Soon the earth changes, the path slopes upward. We slip and slide in mud. Once we do not care about dirty, we do not get dirty. The ground is a carpet of leaves, dead and decaying, but in them there is the presence of the complete circle, for poking up between and behind are small green shoots. Relentless they climb to the sun and relentless they push their roots to the bedrock.
At a clearing we stop, we assume an unplanned circle. We gaze to the sky. We pray to the element of wind, of air. A helicopter roars overhead. I watch birds as they dart from tree to tree, swooping and flitting. They sing to us, but soon they go quiet, it is blissfully silent save for the soft rush of a breeze whispering through tees.
I notice the path is gravelled, my feet hurt. I wonder how earth appreciates the unnatural gravel carelessly dumped on beautiful pathways and on mud that longs to be squelched between toes. I walk on the grass verges here and there, on carpets of pine needles. Pine needles that are friends and foes. They cushion, but one wrong step sends the point of one into my skin. my feet grow numb, the earth is cold, the ground damp and dark. Once I stop trying to avoid sharp stones, they seem to not be there at all.
We stop again, one last time in our elemental mediation. We close our eyes and look into the sun. We pray to the element of fire. But also, this last prayer is to all the elements, for behind us a small stream winds under overhanging boughs. The sun shines upon our upturned faces, a wind soothes the air, and my feet rest on solid earth.

MM and I went on a nature walk in Belvedere House and Gardens today. The purpose of the walk was to reconnect with nature, and celebrate trees and our ancestral heritage, especially for National Tree Week. It was really fun!

P.S. This is officially my 100th Post :D Yay! However, I will continue with the last three "countdown" posts nonetheless.

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