Excerpt from  Step Into Nature

by  Patrice Vecchione 

A mble. Meander. Roam. Out in the air, your eyes touch on one thing, your feet on another. Tree branches brush your sides as you go. Are you taken by green clustering leaves defined against the sky above? The air feeds those leaves and you, and the leaves feed the air you breathe. Your body knows the way. Straggle. Rove. Stray.

Returning to our ancestral home, we’re reminded, step-by-step, of the rightness of doing so. An innate awareness links us to the earth. Walk along the path, feel the long-lastingness of nature, an ancient familiarity. Know that sense of your broader existence, a connection to leaf and shadow, starlight and snow, river and rocks—all of it studded with a new vibrancy. You’ll feel your own life infused with both a greater effortlessness and intensity. The ground you stand on is firm. Saunter. Stroll. Drift.

When did you last leave your home and let your feet find the way? No hurry. No order. Whistling, perhaps? The Sunday drive is pretty much a thing of the past, for very good environmental reasons, but I remember the pleasure I felt as a little girl when my father would say, “Let’s go for a drive and see where we end up.” I’d quickly have my shoelaces tied. Perhaps you’d care to balter with me along the sand? Having only just learned that word, I’ve rarely done it, intentionally anyway, but from now on I will: “dance artlessly, without particular grace or skill but usually with enjoyment.” Ah, such permission!

If you stop in the woods and wait and barely breathe and move no more than your smallest muscles, your heart will gentle itself. The deer that startled you—to be fair, you probably startled her first— will stop running away through the oak trees and look slowly over her shoulder right at you so that your eyes lock for an instant. You may hear and then see her companion who is watching you too. The deer may allow you to witness their world, offering you momentary grace, whoever you are.

The more you wander, the more such scenes will present themselves. Under the guise of productivity (does that come from economic necessity or an outlandish lust for all things tangible?), we’ve lost our way to wandering, to the joy and solace that may be found while moving through the wild world. Have we become fearful of the unknown quality, the unpredictability of it? If you wander for a little while, a sense of wonder will take hold.

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