The forest is my happy place.
A place of pensive reflection and whimsical exploration for the inner musings of my soul.
To connect with nature and to find my place within the universal fold.
A touchstone to the energy that radiates from deep within the earth and courses up through the core of my very being.
Especially in times of chaos and uncertainty, it has the power to move me with primal and ancient rhythms, and awaken me with a sense of enchantment and whimsy.
And on this particular day, I stopped to chat with a squirrel.
Because sometimes, a hot cup of coffee and a delightful conversation with a new (furry) friend is all you need to start the day off on the right foot.
But earlier, when I had walked by, I had been pelted by an acorn from above, and I had taken it to mean that on my way past that first time, I should have acknowledged his presence and given a nod to his territorial supremacy.
So this time, I stopped, and gave him his due.
First I offered a formal greeting recognizing his station as a Mad Hatter of sorts, and then, a stern chastising in reference to his tantrum.
But he was unreceptive of my input regarding his rudeness, and his manners as a result, had most assuredly not improved. This was more apparent as he proceeded to read me the riot act.
Apparently, he was not at all impressed with my conversational skills either, because he cocked his head vigorously several times whilst chirping and barking at me and giving me the what for.
I had attempted to apologize with a peanut, which he suspiciously snatched from my grasp and spun under his nose to inspect. But it was still an uncertainty whether or not my reparations were to be wholeheartedly entertained or unceremoniously rebuffed.
He began chirping more loudly.
Now, granted, my “squirr-lish” is a bit rusty (and not at all the strongest of my known woodland languages)…
But, none the less, I was still fairly certain that I had just received a rather dubious proposition to join a shady backwoods tea party of suspect origins that would require me to bring my own nuts.
He was quite insistent, and I admit, I was intrigued…but after careful consideration, I thought better of it, bid him adieu, and moved on.
Along the way I encountered several more new “friends”, and stopped to introduce myself. And as I continued walking, I began to reflect on my journey through the eyes of the forest.
The squirrel had been my inner naysayer. The embodiment of my self doubt and emotional flux. He was hard to ignore, and in trying to appease him I had become distracted by temptation.
He was the totem of my conscience, and my accountability, and the first harbinger on my wooded path to enlightenment.
Further down, I heard a hollow pecking, and noticed a woodpecker high in a tree. He nodded in my direction before busily continuing his task. His earnest commitment mirrored the purposeful hard work that I had aspired to achieve.
He was the totem of my fortitude and my resolve.
Later, a steadfast little snail was spotted crossing the trail in front of me. I watched for a moment as he trudged stoically along with his game face at the ready. He was a reminder that with deliberate motion we can continue to move forward. The destination is worth the extra effort despite the sometimes slower pace. I could hear his tiny determined voice in my minds eye, “Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet?”
He was the totem of my motivation and my determination.
Soon after, I encountered a beautiful sparrow alight onto a mossy branch and croon with his haunting melodic call. He echoed my inner yearning to project my desires and soar above difficult circumstances.
He was the totem of my voice and my aspiration.
As a gentle rain began to fall, a light mist fell upon the foliage, unveiling previously invisible wonders formerly hidden in the fray. Like a new set of eyes, it gave me the ability to see beyond the curtain.
It was the representation of my insight and my hindsight.
And as I passed a spider on a now visible intricately woven web attached to two trees, I wondered, “How did he do that?” Perhaps he had climbed up on a branch with an itty bitty silken web parachute, and leapt fearlessly across onto the other side, shouting “banzai!” with the heart of a lion, while crossing all eight of his legs in the hopes that he would make it over there all in one piece.
He was the totem of my courage and my bravery.
I marveled at the web’s design. And although a spiderweb may appear to be delicate, it is indeed a very strong and resilient work of art that takes time and attention to detail to achieve.
It was a representation of my strength and my patience.
I also admired the trees that had given it anchor, which provided insight into what can develop from a strong foundation and a secure network of roots, and I laid my hands upon them with reverence. And as a tree bends towards the light, it gives shelter as a guardian to all it surveys.
They were a representation of my nature and my nurture.
Around the bend, I came upon a stream. I felt the echoes of its quiet power within a constant flux of energy. I watched its gradual ebbs and flows as it followed the designated path to the mouth of the river where it would join forces with a larger body of water, and become part of something greater.
It was a representation my energy and my life force.
And then, a gentle wind began to blow towards me.
As the zephyr increased, it escaped from the primeval depths of the woodland terrain… and I felt it.
I mean, I really felt its presence.
I felt its bluster pushing against me, as it swelled and gave resistance to my forward movement. Like a force of nature, it seemed to be offering me a symbolic adversary to overcome…
And as I struggled to hold steady in its intensifying gale, I had an epiphany and came to know the importance of direction.
For you cannot change the wind-you can only change your own orientation in space and time.
You can either push against it, or you can harness it.
And you need only to turn yourself, to feel it shift at your back.
It was the representation of my choice and my free will.
The wisdom is there if you seek it with a quiet mind and your celestial body. If you are open to it, it exists in all things.
And Mother Nature indeed, has a bounty of sage and insightful clarity to impart, if you listen carefully with all of your senses.
Even if sometimes, she sends an disgruntled squirrel with a bad attitude, an arsenal of acorns and a Napoleon complex to jump start the conversation.
“…Oh, such mischief and whimsy, lies within this forest fray-
that it shall be the sole and ardent task, to be set upon this day.
Within the spaces surrounding the chaos, we can find solace in our pace-
So remember to connect first with yourself, before you leave that place.
Embrace the wisdom of the green room, for it unmakes your terrestrial sight-
Betwixt and between, you will see the unseen, within the shadows that are cast in the light.
For all things dwell in a paradox, a bewitching tapestry of resplend.
On an ethereal plane, with a wax and a wane…
May the forest be with you, my friend.”
(Poem: exerpt from ‘Into the Green Room’ by Kellee Kate)
© Kellee Kate and Same Hat Different Me. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Kellee Kate is strictly prohibited.