Day, no more than a sliver, casts a subtle glow on the path. A small bird tap-tapping on windowpane has awakened me, invited me out. I follow it now, as it flits from tree to bush along the way. We come to a stream, whose waters swirl in a nearby eddy then rush over the rocks, merrily singing Earth’s praises. Seventy-eight acres of untouched land surround me. Birch, oak, and willow among the giants that offer shelter. I have come on retreat. A chance to regroup and recharge.
This bird is not the first to rouse me in the early hours; it had been happening for days leading up to this journey. I take it as an omen: be awake, pay attention.
I feel the presence immediately. I am not alone at the water’s edge this crisp, cool spring morning. Although I cannot see her, I know her at once – an essence I have not felt since I was child. Mother Earth. I begin to cry.
“Why did you abandon me?” The words tumble, unexpectedly.
How long has it been since I’d felt her reassurance, the protective shield of her patient strength? I remember how as a child, locked out of home, she walked with me, whispered to me through the subtleties of the wind, and taught me the rhythms of life.
“It was you who abandoned me.” The knowing hits me, like a punch to the stomach. It is so true. I turned my back on her, adopted the ways of civilization – embracing education and busyness as a means to happiness, forgetting the promise of inner peace she offers.
‘Can you forgive me? ‘ I cry. The sorrow of our separation now hitting me in waves of grief – a torrent of shame and blame, and guilt. How I have lost touch with so much in the years since she and I passed the days in innocence.
“There is nothing to forgive. I am always here, whenever you need me.”
The thing is, I tell myself, as day’s light obliterates dawn’s encounter; allergies keep me indoors, and as a mother of three, I spend my days chauffeuring. What time do I have for Nature, for daydreaming?
I will not find her again, for many years, when sickness closes the door on accepted life practices and forces me into isolation, desolation. It doesn’t happen all at once, but gradually, over time, starting with a little bird’s tap-tapping on my windowpane, inviting me to look outside. Inside.
(Written for Willow Poetry’s challenge: What Do You See? Image supplied as part of the challenge.)