Friday, April 20, 2012

Every place is a sacred place

Beauty, calm, and peace.
(Near Blue Ridge, Georgia—19 May 2010)

Oak, hickory, dogwood, mountain laurel, sassafras, tulip poplar, elm, sweet gum, locustI wished I'd brought my tree book along on the hike. New fern fronds carpeted the forest floor with frothy green, but not so much so that I couldn't easily identify the poison ivy leaning out onto the trail. Leaves of three, stay away from me.

In the lower right quadrant of the photo, we see young saplings reaching skyward for light. They're sheltered by the mature trees, and will probably grow slowly until those larger trees fall or die back. More saplings will sprout from nuts, seeds, or cones as these mature. Those will mature, die, fall back, and yet more saplings will take their places. And on, and on.  

How long has this scene existed? It was here long before the trail; it will be here long after the trail has disappeared. What did this hollow look like when the only people here were Native Americans? What plants were here then that aren't here now?

Every place is a sacred place.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of years before I was born, this hillside was home to plants, animals, insects, and people. They lived and died close to one another—some hunters, others hunted. It would be safe to assume that every square inch of this forest is sacred ground. Over thousands of years, something or someone has probably breathed a final breath and lay down forever on every patch of ground we see here. Yet the beauty, peace, and calm endure.

What if we were to bring this awareness, this presence of mind, to everything we do, and everywhere we travel? How different would the world be? How different would our lives be?

Every place is a sacred place, and always has been. Even if we refuse to acknowledge the sacredness all around us.

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