Day 4: walking in the green, amid the clapping leaves

“Choose a color- for instance, pink- and take a fifteen minute walk. On your walk notice wherever there is pink. Come back to your notebook and write for fifteen minutes.” from Day 4, prompt by Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones.

it is summertime and i chose green. can you imagine the amount of my fixation as i walked on the wooded path outside the house? loops and lulls around bends and through thickets, black raspberries, blooms of milkweed, a light blue sky filled with puffball clouds. i walk this path nearly everyday. i remember when they built it. from this patch of wild earth i found some of the first herbs i ever worked with. one was called pearly everlasting or rabbit tobacco. it has a sweet soft smell and a bit like warm butterscotch. i mixed some of that with mugwort and made a dream pillow. mugwort is a magical herb in one of its uses and the pearly everlasting has a calming effect; the two were quite a pair. i loved sleeping with that pillow, except when it kept me up at night because of its dream-stimulating strength. i found that my dreams were brighter, more vivid, detailed and frequent in those times after sleeping with the pillow. it was a great boost to my imagination and forging connection with the dreamtime.

every time i walk by that field, i notice that the rabbit’s tobacco is no longer there. black raspberries fill its place, along with tall grasses, cottonwoods, yellow field clover, to name a few. the rabbit tobacco is gone, but the field and surrounding forests are succeeding. they are moving to the next phase of their ecosystem growth. i’m happy to see many people take walks there.

so the green was everywhere. where was there not green? every shade of green was represented today and i felt acutely the way spending time in nature calms and simultaneously energizes me. as i stepped out of my mind and more into my body, i felt joyous, more joyous with each step. i started to become more present in my surroundings. i ate a berry and felt great thanks and excitement at this wild gift. i walked along amazed at all of the green. maples merging with japanese honeysuckle; mulberry and cottonwood. yet it was the cottonwood, of all the greens of the day, that stood out to me the most. but it wasn’t because of its green, you see. it’s because the cottonwood was clapping at me.

i am not a person to walk the same route over and over again; i make a habit of mixing it up. if i start the path one way, notoriously i must walk back another way, even if that means scrambling through briars or tip toeing around poison ivy. as i started to walk in the other direction, a huge rush of wind came past me and lit up the nearby cotton wood tree. with their fancy oval leaves all banging against one another, it made a sandpapery sound, like when you rub two hands together to make the sound of rain. they clapped and waved at me and made me feel so welcome there. it was truly a lovely experience and i felt thankful and glad.


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