Last month I spent five days canoe camping with my 28-year-old daughter on a lake in the Canadian wilds. Enjoying the pleasure of time spent in nature is something we share in common. And how great it was to get five whole days with one’s adult child! Quickly we settled into a lovely rhythm of cooking, eating, swimming, paddles, reading in our quiet spots in the hammock or stretched out on a rock, naps, campfires with music or close conversations, more naps and paddles. Just what such times should be about.
This was the second week of my creativity challenge and what a blessing to be supported by the spirits of nature. I found a spot on a rock outcropping over the lake and this was my place for meditating, journaling and writing. Into this mix I also brought my poetry study practice.
I study and learn poems by heart and in this process receive the medicine that’s contained in each poem. For every sorrow, joy and new exploration, there’s a poem that can be an ally for the journey. I also get a lot of pleasure from spoken word events when I can speak poems to others.
One morning I was working with Hafiz’s poem All the Hemispheres. It’s an invitational and welcoming poem – encouragement to expand and go beyond our regular existence. There’s a stanza that says: Open up to the roof. Make a new watermark on your excitement and love.
As I read and digested those two lines, I laughed out loud. At that moment, there I was – outdoors where opening up the roof meant letting in the big wide sky. And then I thought: What does a watermark mean to someone who has never seen a real one on rocks or riversides? We are often offered metaphors from nature, but if we don’t regularly connect to the reality of these metaphors what do they mean to us? Are they just vague or quaint references to things we know exist but rarely experience?
There were many things I loved about our short trip, but the highlight was the day upon day of living outdoors and being immersed in nature 24/7. Now I carry an open roof and watermarks on the inside.
What is the nature metaphor you carry in you?
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