“If we continue to speak of other animals as less mysterious than ourselves, if we speak of the forests as insentient systems, and of rivers and winds as basically passive elements, then we deny our direct, visceral experience of those forces. And so we close down our senses, and come to live more and more in our heads. We seal our intelligence in on itself, and begin look out at the world only as spectators — never as participants.” - Waking Our Animal Senses: Language and the Ecology of Sensory Experience by David Abram
The scent of hawthorn blossom is heavy on the air. Our property is surrounded by old hedges, and each one has at least a couple of hawthorn trees in full flower. In the morning sunshine, the thick, sweet smell draws me out of myself, and I dance my morning meditation with this presence all around me.
The squirrels seem to feel it, too. They chase each other up and down the plum tree with wild abandon. They make me smile. Their enthusiasm for life inspires me to lean a little closer into the green vibrancy of the world around me. To let go just that little bit more of the reserve and resistance that once kept my child-self safe but now confines me to too small a life.
As I peel back layers of self-protection, I meet the beings who make up my new life here at Westacre. The culture we are creating here is entwined with the seasons of planting and harvesting, of flowering and withdrawing. The hawthorn, whose flower bud we add to our salads and whose berries we will use for jelly come the harvest time, is part of this. So are the apple trees and the vegetable beds. All of us create this life together.
If you would like to feel that togetherness for yourself, take a walk some time this coming week. Wander around until you meet a being who moves you. Whether it's plant or tree, animal or rock, just spend some time with it. Let go of any defences or rationalisations, and let that other-than-human being move you more deeply. Stay as long as you like. And when you come back home, write down your impressions.
Please share what you find in the comments below. We'd love to hear what you discovered.