If I Could Gift You Stillness

If I Could Gift You Stillness

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I bring you here because it feels holy.

This space we have created together is like placing faith in a cutting you’ve snipped from your mother’s second generation Ivy, hoping to preserve its story in essence, foster new roots, and plant meaning in a new generation to carry forward.

The Woods is in our blood. It’s a piece of the stories my soul retains, most in feeling rather than in particular detail. Cutting corset strings, we breathe deeply the whispers of wisdom present only in this space. I am exactly who I am here. You are the most un-tampered and organic version of yourselves.

If I could give you nothing else, I’d plant deeply the gift of stillness in your core. To listen, smell, taste, trace, and observe in silence, processing the vibrations within your being and in relation to this world of beings you share this space with, that escape definition or tangibility, but remain truer than any other things.

We hike down long trails littered with fresh-fallen leaves dropped like petals down the center aisle to a ceremonial gathering. There are long stretches where the only sounds that register are those of this earth, opening passageways within us previously unexplored, blocked by stimulation; the noises of our routine life. I wonder what is swirling in your head. And then you tell me, bringing us back to center.

Your gate is temporary, the way your spring from rock to root and contort your body in exaggeration, free of self-consciousness, and with an energy reminiscent of, yet somewhat unimaginable of my own childhood.

I recognize in myself the conversations, the formula of my father as he walked me, a young child, step-by-step through nearly everything, explaining in great detail why things were the way they are and why we do what we do, knowing that the very act of doing so myself now allows me to face task and challenge more confidently, courageously.

With each progressive year your growing shape slowly dwarfs the landmarks we visit and honor: the mountain you used to climb becomes a boulder, the castle-like bridge, a lovely archway. I pause framing your image here, against these features, and measure them – us – against the previous year. Who were we? Who are we?

Your pride here is of pure innocence, declaring an accomplishment simply out of the movement or act, as if out loud to yourself, and not associated with seeking approval or validation in any excess. You flash me a smile and through the exchange of words through our eyes alone, I tell you, “You did it. You are brave and capable.”

A growing boy lowers his voice, moving with exaggerated, aged movements when he feels he is being of service – feeling significant – with the operation of setting up or maintaining camp. The silently witnessed sense of the humble importance he gains from his contribution is my exhale. Transformation.

A camper, Poppy, has been personified as a living, changing being in someway receiving respect and appreciation as such. The way that at some point in setting up or tearing down, I half to take a deep belly breath and swallow unmentionable words as I struggle to get a quirk in operation just right, just so, in order for our old friend to rise or fall, and that after doing so, pushing through the challenge, I have an internal teeth clenching, fist pulling Yessssss – you’ve got this. It’s not triumph over that one thing. It’s the hard-won triumph over all of the things leading me here.

Reading timeless classic literature out loud together by the smudged light of a lantern while you are snuggled in your sleeping bags with love-rough stuffed animals that have hugged your side since your infancy, offers a sacred innocent contrast. I am able to touch and hold both versions of you here.

The looks we exchange, each of us giddy in the light of great privilege to have realized a dream. The gift of watching you treasure it in a way of your own, and not just inherited duty. In some sort of circular pattern, there is growth between us. Striving to instill in you a connectedness with stillness, a pulse of living in appreciation of your natural surroundings, and me deepening those very lessons myself through you in the process.

A building symphony of creature and creation outside the canvas walls of our dwelling flushes out all that is superficial and threatening. Our thoughts are easy, our intentions accessible. My heart feels stronger beating in search of this familiar rhythm in the moments right before meditation slips into rest.

The swirl of blurry serenity from a moment so moving that all you can do it to capture and connect within it is kiss.

Treasure stillness. Protect it. Gift it to others.

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