Wild spaces. Chesapeake forests.

Some week in the later part of fall I cut a path into the forest about where the morning sun comes up, eastward. Most morning times leading up to the winter Solstice I find time to wander the woods, starting at that point. The path winds to the right and immediately through a second generation holly forest. That part of the wood entices me in dancy ways and I am eager to make special spaces out of it soon, next maybe.

Through to the other side of the hollies a clearing opens, and in the center of this expanse the path ends and eventually one of the women’s tents will go, in the clearing near a grand stand of several tall, older poplars. This, at the base of these old trees, is one of the spaces we use for public and open gatherings, and soon enough in our uniting with the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake more will experience it too I imagine. It’s become a simple, well-tended spot, as sacred to some members of our co-op as it is to me. Shady, safe, rooted spaces, the special veiled softness that lives under canopies where trees sigh. The quiet place in nature I always said I’d have for folks to come find stillness. Contemplate.

If you veer to the left before you hit the holly stretch and go off the trail, you are in lowland almost immediately where the earth is spongy and dotted with cypress knees and in certain places is perhaps on its way to becoming swamp. Traverse the lowlands with wise step and it brings you to a thriving fresh water creek, a tributary of the Pocomoke. If you follow the creek east and then go southward by only several yards there is a higher ground portion of the woods, netted together again by older poplars and some newer holly. The high ground opens directly into a proper cypress swamp, beautiful gullies swollen with fresh filtered, tannin-tinted waters, verdant and alive in the seasonal rains. The noise of nature here makes you arrive too at another clear sound. The audible silence in the wood.

Wild spaces. I am endlessly, profoundly but most of all simply put back in place by wild spaces. The season is turning early this year. Daffodil picking in February? I am sad to think the flowers in the forest that we will lose from the wintery weather tomorrow. I wander all this week back to this, third part of the woods, high ground beyond the elder grove where our fire circle is, closest to the public hunting area where our land meets conservation forest. This is another space, where the volunteer daffodils bloom now, a spring summer place when the forest runs unchecked and wild, that I imagine getting tended. Making into sacred sitting space. Ella, who’s alive and new every heartbeat that happens, mimics me in speaking words of love over our shared space of daffodil earth and air.

We are in the moon orbit that brings spring.

What lovely time of year to get to live.

I think of Bobby Ray often these days. He comes to me in living ways just before I sit with certain members. This morning I am delivered in my body with one woman, remembering the earliest years of my recovery in meditation at his house and with community. I’d get in my car to leave his place on the windy suburban backroads and back into the bustle of the DMV and just be like. I never ever knew life could be so full of peace, could feel so real and also good. The great simple joys of being wholly and safely in my body and connected to real life. Recovery. I talk this woman into this field of ideas, I am grateful for this, this woman and this work, the very chance to speak with her, whispering some form of prayer words into the air and space she and I get to share remembering the elders who taught me, and who prayed. I think of month two of the year, and the principle of open-mindeness. How I grow with the concept, use it lately to also experience the eyes of my heart opening in different spots.

It is a good time to be living. Lent comes. The synchronicities with this. Show up to the page get writing bc you can and be alive in, thankful for this.

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