I am the black lace tree
Fashioned to the shifting swathe of sky
Lifting your eyes to beauty

I am the steadfast girth
Of the wide gnarled trunk
Urging your body to lean

I am the swooping blackbird
Thrilled by the cool freeing air
Calling your heart to joy

I am the determined dog
Nose to the sensual ground
Dragging you to notice

I am the rose-pink clouds
Lightly glowing on the horizon
Holding your mind in presence

I am the graceful branch of pine
Displaying my fringe of soft green growth
Guiding you to breathe

As you breathe for me

Your anguished thoughts
Are mine too
And as you watch them
I will take them
And place them
For safe keeping
In the deep velvet purse
Of my wise old hills.

by Wendy Simpson

 

I’ve been looking for a good opportunity to share this poem here, and walking home just before sundown last night, the clouds softly glowing with pink light, it came to mind again. It describes exactly how on meeting any element of nature, my own ‘anguished thoughts’ are looked after and put into perspective again, which makes whatever is present a bit easier to bear.

I really appreciate how this poem puts into words what I often seem to experience: the love and care of the natural world. It may not be rational and of course I can’t prove it, but I know what Wendy Simpson means when she writes that the blackbird calls my ‘heart to joy’ or the tree trunk is ‘urging my body to lean’…

The benefits of being in nature for our mental health are widely researched and documented, I recently read it’s even prescribed by doctors in Scotland for its health benefits to body and mind. And it seems to me that by being mindful in nature, we can be extra open to the precious support it offers – and I find that it’s often much easier to be awake to the present moment when I’m outside compared to sitting in a little room somewhere… (which is one of the reasons the MA is offering an alternative weekend 1 in Samye Ling on Mindfulness in Nature).

So despite the cold wind and the wetness of these months, let’s wrap up well and go outside, to notice what we notice…

 

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