A few years back my family and I began carving out a trail through the woods behind our house. Nearly a quarter of a mile long, it is a great place to get a little exercise and observe nature in action. The walking path requires a fair amount of maintenance, which is what I've been taking care of today...raking and trimming back stray vines and branches. I suppose I am something of a "woods whisperer" trying to disturb the the area around the trail as little as possible.
Having unlimited access to an unspoiled wooded area is such a rare opportunity. Observing this natural environment is fascinating and after nearly two years of working in it I am beginning to feel the rhythm of the woods. With each season comes a different experience...a different way to appreciate this amazing little corner of creation.
Today I observed how still the woods are in the summer heat. I particularly noticed that the birds, so lively and busy in the morning, are nowhere to be seen when the afternoon temperatures rise. Oh, to be a bird, that I, too, might be still and wait for the cool of the evening venturing out to accomplish the tasks set before me today.
Being still and waiting are two things that do not come naturally to me. I wonder why this is, when busyness is so depleting to my spirit. Just as hard work is necessary to a balanced and productive life, rest is essential for the health of our minds, bodies and souls.
So what lessons did I see illustrated by my feathered friends in the woods today? I see that they get right to work, doing what they were born to do. They don't procrastinate or complain or look longingly at other birds that appear to have a better life. In fact, they work with gusto, singing all the while. Their songs remind me how joyful life can be when we live with a glad and grateful heart. Then, during the heat of the day, the birds take a break. This reminds me that when life gets challenging, often the best thing to do is rest as I wait, trusting that things will "cool off". Evening always comes, as does the morning. How much more centered and productive we all could be if we balanced our lives as the birds do!
So on these hot summer afternoons, as the air gets still and the birds get quiet, I will let it remind me of my own need to rest physically, mentally and emotionally. The question is, "Do I trust that the world will go on if I take time to replenish, or do I think it all hinges on me?" Maybe something in me likes thinking it all hinges on me...but that's a post for another day :)
My favorite ways to rest are creating artwork in my studio, watching my kids play with their puppy in the front yard, and falling asleep reading with my head on my husband's lap. Where do you find your rest?