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by Kathryn Pearson 5 months ago in happiness

A Unique Type of Hope

Photo by Dapo Oni on Unsplash

The sun rose over the tree line--an alchemist turning the fields around it into a brief, dazzling gold. The morning air was a cool reprieve to the humid days of summer. The birds were in full song, and occasionally the sound of a cow joined in. During this ephemeral time of my childhood, my heart felt suspended between peace and the sense that something new and exciting was on its way. I spent these moments in a sort of reverie of hope.

That is how I grew up on a piece of land in the country with my family: spiritually connected to a piece of earth.

Now I live in a small town. The mornings are filled with a calming sort of chill. There is the silence of a neighborhood where those who stir slip out like ghosts--I have never seen them, but I know they are there. The sun slides into the sky in more subtle ways: the space between the outspread arms of trees, the cracks between buildings. The most direct view of his face is through my bedroom window, where he blazes through like an overly comfortable friend. The birds are also full of song here, more audacious than their country cousins as they fly so close I can almost touch them. They vie with vivacious squirrels over ownership of the trees.

My morning routine of spiritual reverie has been replaced with productivity. I feed the three hungry dogs, clear the sink of dishes while listening to messages from loved ones, change the laundry, get myself in order and out the door for work. If I'm lucky I sit for five minutes on the front porch with a cup of tea in hand with my own spiritual practice.

I read recently that our psyches carry geological ties. I don't know for certain, but perhaps what that means is we imprint on the land and the land imprints on us. When we move we have to find new ways of being with the landscape around us. There are some places that are easier to find our sense of "being" than others, but in a world of adult responsibilities, we often don't have much choice as to where we land. How do we find our connection?

“The land knows you, even when you are lost.”

― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants*

So, when we are lost, how do we find ourselves again? Once uprooted, how do we gather the courage to grow roots into the new earth?

Perhaps we need reminded that humans are adaptable. We are not puzzle pieces looking for the place where we fit--we are not so rigid. We will find that nature is adaptable as well, and more welcoming than we sometimes believe.

I think the answer is to keep our cherished places in our hearts, to remember their glow. But to also open our hands to receive the gifts of wherever we are in the present, to learn to grow.

For me, the sun is no longer Apollo but the gentler Hestia--goddess of the hearth, the fire symbolic of home. The golden fields are replaced with a different treasure of neighborly proximity. Nature still grows about me, sometimes in more subtle ways, sometimes in intentional flowerpots. It is for me to go out and meet this new dawn as it is, not as it has been. The morning is different here, but it has its own, unique type of hope.

*(Robin Wall Kimmerer's insight on Indigenous and colonial connection to the land of North America is invaluable. I highly recommend reading Braiding Sweetgrass for a non-colonial view of human-nature connection.)


Kathryn Pearson

Writer of all things whimsical--and some nonsensical.

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