Nature's Wordless Wisdom
Disentangling from the concept of linear time in favour of innate cues and inspired suggestions. By Lauren Bloxham
Reading time: 4 minutes
I walk out on the sand dunes most days, an area of special scientific interest for its delicate ecosystem and rich biodiversity. It’s a landscape shaped by the ebbs and flows of the ocean, the rising and falling tides, the fluctuations of the seasons and the cycles of the moon.
It can be a harsh and exposed environment, or it can look like a Caribbean dream. The water can be steel grey and frothing as it crashes onto the shoreline, or it can be transparent and turquoise as it laps gently on the sand. It’s the most dynamic natural environment I know. It is rich and alive. From the ground nesting birds nestled in the marram grass, to adders basking on the warm sandy trails that sew their threads through gorse and brambles…from glow worms that make the dark earth look like the night sky, to wild orchids whose vibrant colours attract equally vibrant rare blue butterflies.
Nature’s riches are like a soothing balm to my soul, and my daily pilgrimage becomes a meditation on life. I am alone here but never lonely. I am exposed here but I feel safe. In the safety of nature’s embrace, time no longer feels linear, it has an infinite depth that I am willing to drop into. Layer upon layer unpeels itself…on days where I arrive with an accumulation of tension, I feel the softening of my shoulders and the singing of my heart into spacious freedom. When I arrive with the strain of an emotional load my tears wash me clean, jolted by the sound of skylarks or the gentle hushing of waves. Sometimes my mind is so loud and so full that nature seems to send a different kind of medicine… an abrupt halt as I notice a basking adder, which inspires the kind of respectful awe which quickly changes my direction….or the catching of a bramble on my cardigan, where I find myself tangled for a short time.
Engaging logic and reason to untangle myself reminds me of how well my mind really can serve me at times.
As I stand tangled in brambles, I pay attention to the blossom which is beginning to pass now. At the centre of the flower is the early blackberry; small, hard, hairy, and currently very un-blackberry like. It looks unappetising, and probably tastes awful, even if I were to try and pick it (which I won’t), it would put up quite a fight before being extracted from its stem….it knows what it is though. There’s no doubt that this un-blackberry-like lump in the centre of the flower will become a ripe, sweet, and juicy blackberry.
I wonder about its journey for a moment. I wonder if it feels the need to get to full ripe blackberry-hood any quicker than nature dictates; I wonder if it judges itself for not being a sweet blackberry yet. I wonder whether it even knows what it will become, whether it’s aware of the innate wisdom within it that will one day make it a blackberry, or whether it simply delights in being exactly what it is, right now. I suppose without a linear concept of time, it only knows how to depend on innate timing and the natural rhythms of the turning earth.
I’ve untangled my cardigan now, but I spend some time pondering the blackberries. I think forward to the time in late summer and early autumn where I’ll be picking ripe berries, freezing some for winter puddings, making jam to last the year with others and I feel a delightful sense of peace in not being there yet. I feel a deep satisfaction for the warmth of midsummer and the unripe blackberries full of promise and possibility. I savour for a moment the place where I am right now, and I feel my heart moved with the kind of deep and expansive gratitude that sends a wave of tears to the backs of my eyes. I feel full and rich and as dynamic as the landscape around me.
I understand wholeheartedly what savouring the journey means to me, how important it is as a way of slowing time and attuning to the innate pace of life within me. I think of all the possibilities of my own life, the ideas, the inspirations, the visions I have for where I might go and what I might create, and I wonder if this is just an innate awareness of my own journey. A knowing that if circumstances allow, then what is subtle and unmanifest, or even in progress but not in the form it has the potential to become, then eventually, and with innate timing, they may become fruitful. And from their fruits comes the endless cycle of transformation.
I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m relieved that there is no rush. And if there is no rush, there is just space, and ease and comfort in listening to those innate cues and inspired suggestions and saying ‘yes okay’… ‘why not?’…and stepping towards them.
Just as I need to step away from the brambles now and towards the beach, eventually finding my way back home, I wonder what other lessons my walking meditation has for me today? I wonder what insights are in the simple moments of noticing. I vow to stay gently awake, to pay attention to the soft lessons nature has for me, and I offer her thanks — thanks for holding me, being endlessly present for me and for sharing her wordless wisdom with me. My thanks and my love are my wordless offerings back to her.