Our Connection to the Earth

Dave, Elena and I had a wonderful weekend in Winona, where we went for the Great Rivers Shakespeare Festival. In addition to seeing Two Gentlemen of Verona (very well-done, although not one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays), King Lear (absolutely fabulous) and a wonderful outdoor concert by Glorious Revolution Baroque who we had not before heard and enjoyed very much), we did some hiking on Saturday.

We spent Saturday morning hiking at Great River Bluffs state park, which offers some beautiful views of the Mississippi River Valley.

At one point, the trail we followed went through a grove of pine trees. I couldn’t have been more than two or three steps into those trees when I felt something release in my body; a complete relaxation of all tension, of any strain, stress or rigidity.

As I continued to walk, I looked up at the trees around me, the branches covered with pine needles that, from the distance at which I viewed them, looked soft enough to cradle me gently. I felt the pine needles on the ground that cushioned my feet and muffled the sound of my steps. I smelled the scent of the trees, a fragrance like no other and one I love. I stopped periodically on the trail and closed my eyes, hearing nothing but the song of various birds. I couldn’t help but smile. I was totally happy.

It is easy to talk about the interconnectedness of all people and all things. But talking about it is not at all the same as deeply experiencing our connection to all of God’s creation. Of letting our body experience it in a total way, through all of the senses.

Do me a favor: Get yourself out today. It doesn’t have to be a long hike far out of the city (although I can recommend some great ones). Just someplace you can be surrounded by trees and separated from all noise save that of the birds or running water, where you can spend some time seeing…hearing…smelling…touching…knowing your connection to all of God’s creation.

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