Each Friday morning at STLC we take a mindful hike. It is a time of quiet and individual interaction with and appreciation for the nature around us in all its forms. We walk slower than usual, are more aware of our footsteps on the earth and we are especially awake with all of our senses to everything around us. There is a sweet solitude and a sense of spirituality that pervades this quiet journey on our own, though we are together. It is definitely a feast if one is attuned, especially after a rain or a snowfall or as the sun rises.
This past Friday was Earth Day so we doubled the time of our morning walk and added even more gratitude to our goal of awareness…gratitude for all that our Mother Earth gives us each day and the constant lessons she provides about how to live together in freedom, beauty and harmony by being who we are and seeing how necessary that is in the scheme of things…letting our true colors show forth, feeling our rootedness, flowing around and over obstacles that come our way, turning and bending toward the Light, feeling our natural going forward-ness, etc.
When we returned from our mindful hike, we each took five more minutes of quiet to jot down our immediate thoughts to this prompt — Thank you, Mother Earth… These were the responses:
Thank you, Mother Earth for the silence of the fog, the sudden chatter of a frightened bird, a chorus of peeper frogs through the morning mist, the honking of geese overhead, sandhill cranes rattling in the distance, the variety of green in moss, the brown lingering leaves from last fall, the harmony of morning songbirds, dew drops handing on spiderwebs, tree trunks supporting smaller life, fresh flowing water, the colors of a red-winged blackbird, the early spring arrival of buttercups…Jay
Thank you, Mother Earth for the clear and peaceful water, the moss that grows on trees, birds flying through the mist, swans sitting so peacefully on the water, the fresh, cool breeze, all the different sounds the birds make, the peaceful and interesting swamp, the trees who help us breathe…Carson
Thank you for dew drops hanging off the trees, leaves that never fell in the fall, LOTS of new skunk cabbage, birds singing, moss stuck to trees, the foamy water at the dam, fish in the river, discolored bark on a dark tree, perfect spider webs, spider webs with thousands of little strands with no obvious pattern, trees with knots in them that look like eyes, knots in trees that are imperfect but still beautiful, mist rising on the river…David
Thank you, Mother Earth for air, trees, moss, skunk cabbage, rocks, leaves, grass, water, animals, birds, wood, bark…Jack
Thank you, Mother Earth for the beautiful green moss, the forests, the rivers that feed the Great Lakes, the trees that cover the land, the fish that swim in the rivers, the fallen trees to climb on, the sounds that relax us, the paths that guide us, the swamp that is home to animals…Tyler
Thank you, Mother Earth for fish, frogs, fog, water, new flowers, tall trees and climbing trees, leaves and branches, all the birds, and everything wonderful…Charlie
Thank you, Mother Earth for bright green, wet moss, grooves of unfolding skunk cabbage, bird calls and choruses of bird chants, sounds of distant flying geese, winter-worn walking paths, yellowed, bleached-by-winter leaves still hanging on some trees, stagnant swamp water perfect for water bug skating, drops of last night’s rain clinging to wispy branches, a distant woodpecker on his mission, bright waxy yellow flowers, reflections of shore trees ever-so perfectly played on the river water, a curvy-necked swan in the foggy distance, green moss bursting with several shades of bright green moss on tree stumps, scents of freshly composted earth that is wet and pungent, ready-to-burst-forth-and-show-their-beauty-and freedom buds on so many trees…Tien
I know there was much more that we each could have written, but I wanted just the first impression as we returned, while we were still each in our own embrace of nature. These walks and their lingering after-thoughts always remind me of the importance of taking moments EACH day to commune with our surroundings, to see that we ARE a part, and to be grateful for sweet and beautiful things that are newly seen on our familiar paths.
Tien Stone Langlois, Facilitator, Scholars Together Learning Community, Inc.