I had to go for a nature walk last night. It was a compulsion: as if something was insisting. Nudging me, repeatedly.
The late summer sun was sinking toward the horizon as I climbed the hill. The trail alternated between the dry crunch of grit and gravel and the spongy slap of clover and plantain leaves against my soles. I slowly became aware of other sensations: the mercurial winds teasing my hair, the dancing tallgrass rustling to its beat, the random chirp of crow and cricket.
I descended the hill, bouncing down the uneven terrain. With a flash of white tail, a rabbit bolted from the trailside brush. I had disturbed its evening meal.
I dropped further, entering the fen. In the darkening gloom, I plunged into another world of wet richness: thick scents of walnut forest, black soil and wetland marsh. Mosquitoes danced about in this isolated space.
I marched on.
There’s a rustic observation deck overlooking the fen. As the sun hovered just over the horizon, I climbed and sat on its weathered boards. They were both warm and splintery. A ground bee buzzed around my knee and landed for a moment.
The voice of doom that I’d begun to turn away from began speaking to me again as I sat. That voice turns wishes to things that will never be, ideas to silly aspirations, and dreams to foolish pipedreams.
I gave myself my talk. This time of the year is one of transition. Summer’s ripeness is coming to a close. The fields are nearing harvest. Sunrise and sunset are both inching toward each other, lengthening the night. I’m here in this time and space, one of 7 billion others with similar concerns and many with fewer resources than what are available to me. I should be grateful. And hopeful. And acting.
I raised my arms up above my head, reminding myself we’re all under the same sky. I bent forward and touched my toes, reminding myself I’m safe, grounded and where I should be. I turned my face to the wind, reminding myself to breathe in hope and breathe out my worries. I heard a nearby spring gurgling, reminding myself that action can wash away pain and fear.
It was time to go. The sun had set and darkness was falling. I made my way back to my car as the rush of daytime began to fall into the necessary and restoring quiet of night. One repetition of that cycle was coming to a close. Another was just around the corner.