I only remember going once or twice, my dad and brother in the lead as we climbed through the woods behind our house, up the mountain to the place my brother called – as I have just now remembered – “the meadow.” We had to cross over other people’s land, but then, I did not know that, did not care. We were traveling through, and so we went up and over.
On this one journey (two journeys?), Dad bent to point a gentle, wide finger at the trillium tucked quiet in the forest corners. A few fallen logs further, and he lifted the bowed cowl of the jack-in-the-pulpit to reveal the tiny preacher speaking peace to his congregation of chipmunks and chickadees.
I’m not sure why I remembered this walk just now. Or more, I’m not sure why I have not remembered it before. But it came to me this morning when I was thinking of the way I want people to feel here at God’s Whisper. I just kept imagining people walking across the pastures here, tossing out a blanket under the cedar down by the spring, napping quietly on a bench by the herb garden. And then I thought of this young journey with my dad.
On that trip, I did not think about what I had to do later or how I could make time for this adventure. I didn’t wonder if it was okay for us to walk across land for which we did not hold an obscure and rather arbitrary paper claim. No, I followed my dad’s lead into the forest of green and wonder.
I want people – I want ME to feel that freedom and openness on this little patch of paradise. I want us to feel wild without schedule and ready to lift the wing of a chicken to see the fuzzy head beneath. I want us to wander the pasture with a sprig of rosemary crushed between our fingers and held to our breath. I want us to be wild with rest here.
We are just beginning to build this openness here, and it will take a lifetime of work for that wild to take root in this tamed place again. We have a spring head to restore and one to protect. We have landscaping to install and a labyrinth to settle into place. It will take some work to untame this place.
It will take even more for me to unleash my heart from calendars and expectations. It will take years of listening to that tiny preacher in her little pulpit whispering, “Guard your heart, Andi.” and to know that she means, open it wild and wide.
What experiences of freedom and peace do you most treasure? What helped create the space for those in your life?