I have had this longing to walk in the woods.
I meant to do it last weekend, but then let myself get sidetracked. It probably wasn’t a good idea to put it off. I’ve been feeling more and more urgency to be in the woods, surrounded by trees.
Poems have been coming my way that are reinforcing this message. Yesterday there were two of significance.
The first is a new Mary Oliver poem “Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way” which begins:
If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you’re Emily, a garden
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.
Then, after a very trying day at work, I went to restorative yoga. My instructor, Linda, read a poem by David Whyte, “Sweet Darkness,” at the beginning of class. I was just starting to get settled in to my relaxing poses and unwinding. The poem spoke to the same kinds of things I’ve been feeling and thinking about. I took note.
At the end of class, after 75 minutes of revitalization of body and mind, she read it again. This time, my eyes welled up at the beginning of it: why does everything still feel so hard at this point of the school year? Then I calmed into the words. When she was done, I spontaneously took the deepest breath I have had in a very long time. Probably the kind of breathing I will do when I get to the woods. Which will be soon.
Here is the poem:
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.