Opening to the sounds, sights, and sensory experiences of nature involves a quietening of the mind, a stilling, and an opening of the heart, a peaceful letting go and melding with our surroundings. In this gentle surrender we find connection to our own soul and the soul of the world. Not only do we enter the stream of life force palpable around us, we ride that stream into an awareness of our own vast selves, into our own integrity and harmonious authority, into calm strength, knowledge and certainty. We rest in our own wisdom. Nature restores us to our whole selves.
In quietly sitting with this book and sharing in the intuitive insights and the visual delights of my moments with the healing and teaching heart of nature, you are taking your heart also to nature, to be uplifted and renewed, and to reaffirm for you the joy of living a soul-connected life.
When I was young I walked beside my father, small hand in his massive one. He had farmer’s hands, healing hands. He taught me about the sweet myrtle, whose honey nectar could be sucked from pale white and pink bell flowers that grew from the stumpy base of that humble native plant. He made gum leaf whistles that I tried to play. I sat on his lap and pulled the steering levers of the yellow caterpillar tractor as we ploughed the fields. I went with him in the farm truck to deliver fruit to market, and on the way we talked about death and spirits and the growing of things. At night we went outside to look up into the glow of the Milky Way and he would point out and name the stars for me.
In school holidays when my mother was not teaching, my two brothers and my sister and I would be bundled into the car with the kelpie dog and be taken exploring in the outback. At night we children were wrapped all together in the large farm tarpaulin, four in a row, girls in the middle. The red earth was our mattress and the stars our ceiling overhead. If it rained we simply raised our tarpaulin coverlet over our heads.
At early dawn galahs would pierce the air with their raucous greeting to the sun. The gum trees would glow in the early light. My brothers would be tending our crackling breakfast fire, and from my warm nest on the ground I would watch my brothers’ breath misting and listen to the sounds of life carried far in the clear air.
Cooking on fires in the open was one of my mother’s easy talents. She loved to be outside. Even when we weren’t exploring the Flinders Ranges, the Victorian Alps or the South Australian outback, our gentle intelligent and educated mother would playfully take her cooking chores out to a little fire under the trees.
I was enchanted and entranced by life on the farm. I would creep out of bed in the early morning to sit on the front step and watch the sunrise, curious as to why the whole world didn’t do this every day. On warm moonlit nights I slipped out to the swing for the joy of feeling the air against my skin as I swung up into the beautiful night. On lazy afternoons I climbed up beside the passionfruit vine to the shed roof where I lay in the warmth, looking down on the scene below.
From the shed roof the whole world seemed contained within the dusty arena of the yard below. This space was defined by the giant mulberry tree to my left, the verandah of the house ahead of me, the fig trees and apple orchard to the right, and the milking shed below me. I watched in the slow motion of trance as the dog crossed the scene. My hen with her new brood of chickens entered, teaching her young to scratch and peck the earth. My mother appeared, called and wandered away. I slid into a oneness with all I saw and was suspended, timeless. Thus I lived many days of my childhood, aware of the sensuous network of natural wonders and events that held me encased in this reality.
Cate’s Sea House
I’ve just been to the cliff top where it protrudes like the prow of a ship out into the sea. Waves crashing in to my left, crashing in to my right on the rocky shores, and in front of me the glassy green sea rolling to white waves below my feet.
The sea mist is full of miniscule marine creatures. I can see them swimming in the water of my sea wind blasted eyes. My cold ears hear the swirling roar of the wind whipped waves, echoing sound layer on sound layer in the rocks where they break and shatter in foam.
My skin jumps alive with the stinging exciting rushing cold. I feel my cheekbones shout their aching presence through the icy taut skin of my face.
Ah, breathe deep, you are here, dangerously wildly giddily here, hovering like a bird in the wind stream over the sea edge. Breathe deep, capture it remember it. You are here, the prickling of your scalp, the quivering, the grey green swirling cold wet white wonder of it all. You are alive.
The Essence Of Hydrangea
I saw a kind and stately woman’s face within the shapes of a hydrangea flower, serious at first and then smiling. I gave thanks to her for showing herself to me and she said, “We need a drink.”
Then she went on to say, “Team spirit—we work together to form a whole. We nurture each other and protect each other from harsh glare. We shelter in the shade and gentle light.
The human spirit working together can create wonders and magnify the beauty on Earth. Be joyous and light hearted and protect yourselves from the harsh glare of your reality.”
The spring flowers are here. The grass is very green and the trees are moving into leaf. And within me is an excited, excitable energy, a different faster oscillating energy. It feels like the energy of moving to a new plateau, the energy of beginning something profound that would radiate out of this time place and who we are, and into the world beyond, into a new way of being.
I have been dreaming of standing in the water of a forest stream; a silky stream, bare toes on mossy pebbles, the silkiness of tiny forest particles filtering softly against my calves as they flow by. I take my vision into the water and watch the translucent green-brown flowing against my legs, see the silky silt caressing my skin.
I feel I would be replenished by returning to the world of water, to go underwater for a while—to return to my nourished, emotionally healed and integrated being-self.
In my waking world I immerse myself in nature—river, stream or sea. I revitalise myself with living water—drink it, soak in it, feel it moving me on. It moves me into the stream of the self that creates, that knows the divinely intelligent energy, the particular mind/consciousness connection from which creativity flows.
I know then that I am within the river of my own life, and the river will flow ever onwards, sharing its secrets, its stories, and carrying me along with it.