Sometimes in life I put a hell of a lot of effort into sticking to a path that I think I need to stay on, when everything in my body just wants to head in another direction. This can create an enormous amount of tension! mentally, emotionally and physically – yesterday on a walk, something came home to me about the benefits of throwing the net open and heading off track. This is my latest post…
A little thought yesterday as I was walking in the woods with the dogs.
When we head off the path and instead throw the net open and walk amongst the trees: this is where our walk becomes interesting. More often then not Bongo and Piglet will amble off and I will wander through the trees, occasionally stopping to sit on a tree stump and look around at the trees.
Staying on the path is alright. But it’s when we veer off track and follow that impulse to explore that we come across life. Pulsating, extraordinarily interesting life.
Here are twigs to be snapped underfoot, deer are to be chased, smells to be sniffed and tree stumps to sit on.
Here are badger holes to get stuck in, fallen trees to clamber over, here is dappled light from the sun to enjoy on the days when it shines falling through the tightly cloistered network of trees. Off track I feel the wildness in me. It is a part of me.
A while ago on a walk I found a deers antler. It was alone – there was no skeleton nearby, separated from the sum of its parts.
I sat down on the tree stump nearby and picked it up. Then I don’t know why but I bought the antler to my head and placed it as if it sprouted from my skull. In that moment my sense of the woods was changed. No longer was I a separate part of the woods meandering through – a woman exercising her dogs – I was a part of it and as a result my sense of the woods was expanded. I took away the antlers from my head and there was a tangible shift in my perception: just human. I bought them back and again there was this sense of having that dolphin ability of a sonor system wherein I could perceive any shift or change in the environment around me.
As a prey animal, deer need to be aware of potential predators nearby and here in this moment these antlers were inviting me into a richer experience of another’s experience who normally passes me by. I sat there for a while playing with the antlers, bringing them to my head and then taking them away again. Feeling into and exploring the way that there was such a noticeable difference in my perception and in my experience of the wood. It was as if my physical form were but an apparition – that in the subtlety of senses, I could notice the smallest tremor of a leaf. With the antlers I was able to perceive much subtler things, without them, my sense or at least my judgement of what was possible to perceive as a human returned and there I was a human a walkin’ in the woods, separate: a part unique to its sum.
After a while, not too long a while but a while, I returned the antlers to the ground and yesterday as I walked near the spot I looked for them. Could they still be there?
In a way, yes of course they are. Dissolved and returned to the soil beneath. What was once solid, not scattered and immersed in a way you and I are not yet and yes of course, so are.
And today I am bunged up again from this damn cold and bug that is taking me and all my family an age to shift and so I need to stay in when instead I’d like to head out and go check out the woods, a place I feel at home.
Happy almost Christmas all,