We’ve spent good time opening ourselves to God’s presence in Creation this week. In my photography, that usually takes the form of awareness of the divine in the beauty of this earth, but we’ve gone beyond that these past days, seeking to experience ourselves as one with all that is.
To know yourself as part of something larger: a profoundly spiritual experience, whether God is mentioned or not. Also the beginning of compassion, which I’ll be preaching on when I return.
I so enjoyed the remembering evoked through this free-writing exercise from today’s session on oneness with Creation:
[When I think of a time in my life when I knew that I was a child of Earth, in wonder and awe, that I was standing on holy ground, I remember when … ]
I spent my days roaming the woods behind the houses across the street, exploring, seeking to know the expanse of it and every detail. We were drawn to the street at the bottom. We brought shovels and tried to dam it up. A good dam might last a few minutes but eventually they all were breached, sending earth and foam cascading downstream again. In quiet pools we found newts and pulled them out to admire them. Once I brought one home in a jar, wanting to keep its strange beauty for myself, but of course I couldn’t, for it belonged to the woods and to itself, not to me, just as I belonged to the earth and to myself, not to anyone else. Once I found a newly dead creature – I think it was a mouse – and I brought it home, too, its belly slit, offering an unusual opportunity to study its innards. But it was found by my mother, usually sympathetic to science, and she was not pleased, so back it went. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt as free as I did in those woods, a child of the earth, running back and forth like any other creature. We moved away one day, and I grew up, and I did not return for many years. I could not believe how small my woods seemed then, because I’d lost my connection. Those woods belong now to some other child, I presume, and I to some other place.