A Brutish Lout

Inga and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with friends this year here in Seattle. Before eating, we conversationally covered a lot of ground, from encounters with wildlife, to a study that measured the attunement of plants to human emotions, to vegetarianism. The mention of deer and plants caused me to remember a healing I had experienced about 25 years ago. My grandparents had asked me to come stay at their home in Northern Wisconsin over the Thanksgiving weekend while they were out of town on vacation. Thanksgiving was always the start of the deer hunting season and if the place looked uninhabited, the hunters would stomp right across their private property in pursuit of the herd of deer Grandma fed. Often we would count as many as 25 deer feeding on corn and hay out on the huge front lawn.

I was alone during this particular visit and I decided to clear brush from the cross-country ski trails we had created in the forest adjacent to the property. So in the morning, I grabbed the machete and started walking the ski trail, chopping bushes back as I went. I remember being very preoccupied at the time and it took several hours of labor to clear my mind. As my internal dialog quieted down, I became aware of being watched, or more precisely, of being the focus of attention. I spun around 360 degrees to see who was with me in the forest. I saw no one and yet I felt surrounded. I looked down at the bush I had just struck with the machete and then it hit me. I was sensing the consciousness of the forest itself. I snapped out of my self centeredness and opened my mind to it. For the first time all day, I listened to the forest instead of my own thoughts. As oblivious as I had been, I was now stunned by the emotions directed at me. I was being glowered at. The forest was viewing my behavior that day as very rude. I asked why and the answer came to mind instantly. I had stomped into the forest, engaged no one and just started hacking on plants for hours on end. I viewed myself as a gentle, sensitive person and here my preoccupation had caused me to act like some brutish lout. I was horrified! I could not resolve all this in my mind and I sank into a deep mental depression. I left the forest immediately, utterly ashamed, and walked back to the house.

I thought about nothing else for hours except the guilt I felt. I prepared a simple meal and ate. Afterwards, I went into the living room and sat down. My guilt was overpowering. Darkness came but I did not turn on any lights. Soon the house was as dark as it was outside. I craved forgiveness but I could not see how to obtain it. It finally occurred to me to go outside to get some fresh air as being in the house seemed to add to my feeling of being trapped. I got up and went to the kitchen door. It was pitch black outside and very quiet. I did not want to disturb the forest nor to draw its attention to me so I went outside very quietly, as if I was sneaking into a church. It did not occur to me to put on a coat or shoes even though it was late November. I stood barefoot on the deck and inhaled the darkness. The chill in the air cleared away my mental fog. I stepped off the deck into the wet, cold grass and as I could not see my hand in front of my face, I walked blindly out onto the front lawn. With each breath and every step, I absorbed the energy of the night while offering up myself to it. My mind was clear when I reached what I figured was the middle of the huge front lawn. I could see with my mind’s eye the blockage within me, the knot of guilt, but I did not know how to unravel it. I just stood there, breathing and feeling. The darkness around me was positively alive with energy and I stood trembling within it. I could feel myself standing at the brink of a cusp but I had no idea what would happen next.

At that moment, the stillness was shattered by the sound of hooves all around me, thudding on the lawn. I stood still as a whirlwind of energy enveloped me. My eyes were blind and yet I could suddenly discern the herd of deer on the lawn with me. In an instant, they were gone and I stood alone. I was vibrating from head to toe and the blockage within me was gone. I was healed. I was one with Nature and I laughed out loud with joy. She had accepted my apology and blessed me. My depression was replaced with humility and Love. I slowly walked back to the house across the lawn and went inside. I turned on the kitchen light and made a pot of tea.

It is the many such healings that I am so very grateful for this Thanksgiving along with the absolute faith that more will come as I need them during my journey ahead.  */:-)

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