(This is the sixth from my collection of essays. To read the other five go here and here and here and here and here.)
It’s a beautiful, sunny summer day. Jilly are meandering through the woods, stepping across the little creek and up the hill from the Birch woods to the Cedar grove. She stops to take a quick drink as I step across the water, moving my foot from one side of the bank to the roots sticking out of the other side. Jilly just pads through the water to the other side.
I am cautious. She just does what comes naturally to her. We walk on. She’s sniffing and so am I. The closer I get to the Cedar Mother tree, the more excited I get.
The last time I was here, I was sad. I needed her comfort to deal with the passing of a special friend. As always, Cedar Mother reached out and into my soul soothing me. Now, I am healing from the loss as we all heal from the losses that life hands us.
Today, I felt different. I was excited to see her, to lean against her and be open.
I leaned in and listened.
First, I felt the tingling and warmth of her spirit reaching out to mine. I breathed in, sighed and leaned in some more. I never know if or what I’ll hear from her. Sometimes, it’s just a feeling of warmth and comfort. Sometimes, it’s words of wisdom. I had no expectations today. I was just enjoying stopping by on a beautiful summer’s day to visit an old friend for a while. As I leaned in, thoughts crossed my mind about gatherings I’d gone to and stories that had been told. I remembered it wondering about what I’d heard, said and shared. That’s when I heard her.
“Relax,” she sighed to me.
I felt my tension flow out of my left foot, leg, hip, lower back and all the way up to through my jaw, cheek and eyebrow. I was surprised at how much tension I was carrying. Walking through the park this morning, I thought I was relaxed.
“Relax. It’s ok. You can be supported, too,” she counseled.
I sighed, smiled and saw that once again, Cedar Mother had seen into me truly. My worries weren’t about what I’d shared with new friends but whether I’d find support for what I’d shared. I don’t trust easily. But after many years of keeping my inner walls up, I’d let them down for a few minutes. Was it a moment of weakness that would be unacceptable? That was the fear and tension that I’d carried into the woods.
Cedar Mother saw it. In her wisdom, she showed me that I could relax, let myself be supported and also, be strong. I sighed, patted her trunk, smiled at the sun and walked home.