As I am working through this program a bit in retrospect a lot of these notebook posts will be comprehensive accounts from the past couple months. This is one such time.
Nature awareness is a huge part of me and always has been. In our reading for this week we see that ADF sees nature awareness in three facets: the awareness of nature as it exists around us physically; the awareness of the spirits of nature and their relation to us; and the awareness of the Earth Mother herself and the other deities who are also her children, and the relation of these beings to ourselves.
Week 5 deals with the first; the awareness of nature as it exists around us physically.
The assignment for this week is to pick a spot in whatever nature you feel drawn too, spend some time there (about an hour) and just take it all in. Reflect on what you experience and feel in your notebook. I have, in the past couple months done this in a few different environments.
My college campus is a beautiful place, between the buildings are old growth trees and impressive gardens planted by students or donated by nurseries. It is a beautiful area that experiences the seasons rather spectacularly. I had a class that started shortly after sunrise as winter turned to spring and my bus always lets me off almost an hour early so one morning I braved the cold and sat among the trees.
Although I was bundled in a scarf, gloves, hat, and warm clothing, it was very cold. It was still and quiet as it was a time before birds were awake even. College students are rarely up before the sun if they can help it so I had pretty much the entire campus to myself with a few rare exceptions. I remember looking up at the moon and seeing how it genuinely lit up the sky and it made me smile. The moon has always had this ability to pull me in and remind me of how everything is connected. The moon reminds me I am not alone because it can always see me in the darkness. The ground had a thick layer of frost that sparkled in the moonlight. Details revealed themselves to me and I forgot how cold I was. The stillness was astounding, every slight breeze would move leafless tree branches as the trees seemed to dance. They creaked a bit and I listened to their song to the wind in a time before the sun. I stayed here and listened. I smelt the moisture in the air, all of that frost made the grass smell so clean and wet. I could smell the dirt. I could smell many human things and more than once a person came walking past but I was easily able to avoid them interrupting my awareness to the natural environment. I tried to breathe deep and imagined that with each breath in the moon grew brighter, pulsing with me. While I was there the sky began to warm up and took on a light orange pink glow. I could start hearing a bird every now and then and the frost on the ground seemed to glisten more brightly. As I sat there I watched the moons brightness fade giving way for the sun to cross the horizon and begin a new day. Clouds were scarce but present as the sky grew brighter and brighter. Minutes before I needed to leave my spot and head to my class I watched as the Sun rose into the sky in a brilliant display of pastel hues. Purple, blue and pink skies blended together like watercolor paints as if celebrating the new morning. The moon was dim, watchful, like the spider who witnesses all but remains still in the presence of high energy. The sun brought life to the stillness, there were lots of people around me now and a sense of urgency came over me.
This was in the last while of wintertime, before the trees had leaves and when the air carried a chill, but the warmth of that sunrise brought more to my day than anything else in the world.
I don't always sit outside while I wait for class like I did that day, but I do always look for the moon in the morning as I walk from the bus to the coffee shop and say hello. The moon is my companion when the world is still and dark. I appreciate the bite and chill of winter breezes on my nose. I breath deep in the scents of frost and dirt and grass along my way. And on days when its available, I wait for the sunrise to celebrate the new day and to give me a sense of power and energy that nothing un-natural is quite capable of.
No amount of coffee will every energize me as much as a sunrise. Nature guides my emotions, nature makes me appreciate the little things, and I do. Every little thing.