“Nature can bring you to stillness. That is its gift to you. When you perceive and join with nature in the field of stillness, that field becomes permeated with your awareness. That is your gift to nature. Through you, nature becomes aware of itself. Nature has been waiting for you, as it were, for millions of years.”
I was reading this at Barnes & Noble this week and my eyes got a little bit wet. I’ve always understood nature’s gift to humanity but I’m not really sure I ever fully grasped our gift to nature or that nature can feel us when we align ourselves with nature. It makes total sense. I’m sure I’ve heard it said before. But this was the first time I really feel like, oh shit, I’m not just feeling nature. Nature feels me too!
I try to take a walk in Fort Tryon, our nearest public park at least once a week. When we lived in Harlem I would get a little antsy if I went too long without strolling to the conservatory in Central Park from 110th Street. It just got me to breath deeper, to recharge, to be still. And stillness has been something I have required access to since I was a child. Nature has been the thing, which gets me there the quickest.
When I was young, my family kept my brother and I in gardens and parks and beaches about 70% of the time, so I wasn’t quite as aware of it’s power until I became an adult and had to spend 90% of the time in city, in subway, in office. When I think of an ideal life, I would love that to be reversed. Oh! There’s a contact I became acquainted with through flickr years ago who used to take this amazing photos that were always in some wooded area, near some grove or lake and one day in an exchange of comments I discovered that she lives just behind a natural reserve. I don’t think I could ever be dissatisfied for very long living just a walk away from thousands of acres of natural reserve. The stillness of nature inspires me, brings me peace and blows my mind all at once. No two things in nature are ever made identical. Ever. It’s just a bunch of intricate, beautifully performing life forms, being without fear, conflict, confusion or duality.
“The deer is itself. The daffodil is itself. “
Nature is a world among us with lessons in stillness that have been available since the dawn of time. Stillness is the voice of flora and fauna that is at the core of all existence. Silence is the place in which all creation is manifested. It is the thing I am most aware of in verbal communication where an actual connection is being made. It is profound. And now I understand in a way I never grasped before that nature, as grand and powerful it is, also needs us. It needs us, because it is a part of us and seeks to connect with us in the only way it can, by stimulating our senses. Color, scent, taste, texture, sound; nature holds it all down, speaking all the languages we understand infinitely and ceaselessly. At least it always has for me. At my core, I’m actually very still, very silent. In nature I get to be all those things without feeling out of place about it. It asks for nothing but your presence and attention. It’s love.
Okay, even my head own head is spinning. But it’s true!
Whenever I have the opportunity to visit BBG (Brooklyn Botanical Garden) where I’ve visited by way of my mom since I was a baby, I always get the feeling that all the flowers and trees that have been there for years remember me as well. i always kind of joke to myself about it. But the thing is, whenever I’m there, the feeling I’ve always had whenever I set foot there remains the same. It’s always happening. It was happening when I was 5 and it’s happening now that I’m an adult. Am I traveling into the past whenever I’m there? For sure, I have nothing but pleasant memories of growing up there. But the general feeling of ease, of meditation and a kind of paradise on earth has never ceased for me. It never gets old!
The garden knows how I feel.
The Earth is a living thing.