The elaborate and textured beauty of the forest stands beckoning me to join it. I remove my shoes in respect and step forward into this sacred space.

The forest floor welcomes my feet, cushioning them with soft pine needles and leaves, brown and decomposing amidst the tiny blades of grass and shoots of plants just reborn.

Beneath my feet a divine and timeless process of death and rebirth is taking place. Life is decaying and decomposing to give way to new life. What once was glorious and full of life now lays on the forest floor, disintegrating and making way for what is yet to come.

I give thanks for my life and my breath, and my time that is here and now. It will be over in the blink of an eye when compared with the timeline of the earth.

Overhead the piercing call from a hidden squirrel breaks the silence, calling out a warning for all the forest to hear. Is it me that triggered the warning? Or a fox? I continue to walk, the watchful eyes of the sentinel surveying my every move. I am not alone in this sacred forest.

The wind whips through my hair, nudging my mind to release the thoughts I’ve been grasping onto since the morning. The leaves rustle, branches wave in the wind. Another gust and one breaks and falls to the ground.

The wind. Unseen power that can only be felt, shaking off what is not attached or not needed, whipping us around until we shift as needed. Molding us, extracting what isn’t essential – sometimes gently and sometimes violently. The magical wind who keeps life moving and evolving. Thanks to her, nothing becomes stagnant. I let down my hair so she can blow it wild and clear out the forest of my mind.

I press on, breaking small branches beneath my feet, changing the composition of the forest with my humble presence.

I kneel down to observe a wildflower. Soft and delicate, beautiful and persistent. Tiny petals burst from a tiny stem, pushed forth from a tiny seed by the miraculous desire for life. Or the need to simply exist within this space. Thanking her for her presence, I move on.

A large boulder appears, stately and regal in the midst of the trees. His presence is breathtaking. Strong and powerful, he brings a balance to the forest. It seems as if he’s holding court among the trees, ready to impart justice.

I stop and rest in his presence, asking for balance in my own live and divine justice to play out in our world. He reminds me that it always does if we’re patient.

Moving deeper into the forest, as silently and gracefully as my steps will allow, my eyes open wide in anticipation of what might appear next.

A stream. A small, gurgling stream, courtesy of the recent rains. Fresh life-giving water is flowing through the forest. It feels like an exquisite blessing, cleansing the path she follows and fertilizing the ground where she passes. I feel the presence of a grandmotherly energy, of tenderness and compassion. I bend down to fill my hands with her water, washing my face and crown.

Gratefulness fills my heart. Deep appreciation for the life all around us, held in balance by our Creator, washes over me. The ever-present force of life that flows through us all, continually renewing itself through the death and rebirth of millions of living things, diverse and interdependent.

I’m grateful to share the beauty of this space, if only for a short while. I feel comforted by the assurance that it is always here, regardless of where I am. The life in this forest is timeless and will continue long after my own leaves have withered and fallen to the ground.

I make my way back to my starting point, slip on my shoes, and humbly bow before the grandeur of this sacred forest. Then I return to my daily life, energized and grateful.

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