A Child’s Forgotten Quintet
Why is the sky blue?
Whenever I whispered upon dandelion fluffs I let pray into the wind, I, like any child, found a natural comfort in guideposts from The Great Nature all around me. Playing cloud games and finding shapes floating in the wide sky and asking myself where it begins and ends had me find my wonder. It still does. Watching birds soar and take flight helped me understand that I, too, can change my perspective and that things are not fixed, so long as I don’t let the weight of my own gravity pull things down. No matter I named buttercups in fun-loving fields or built sandcastles by endless beach, Nature’s magical novelties easily moved me to find my joy and to live in the beauty of not holding on to things.
To watch a spider’s web at work had me admire Nature’s industriousness and intelligence and what I could apply of my own. Admiring the soft sunlight that hit its threads illuminated my child body with an awareness that I am a prism of my own making, too. The butterfly had me be still to the power of my own metamorphosis and the quiet patience needed to transform things, and to make a beautiful change. Her let go cocoon motivated me to appreciate that when you can’t see things happening, a mystery of change is still occurring. A butterfly alone just being could remind me to not underestimate myself to that one big day.
The flower and the tree as much as the rainbow taught me how to love and live unattached to what is around me. The pure magic of a rainbow appearing especially animated me to life’s surprise windows of inspiration and to all that an open heart can foster beyond a day’s natural motion of ups and downs.
Oh, for the virtues in Nature.
One day, a bee that paused on a blade of grass, and that I didn’t see, split its body in two to showcase its protective stinger under my foot in the very moment that I unwittingly stepped on it. The stinger stopped when I contemplated her. The bee then flew away and informed me to choose my moments for self-defence confidently, wisely, and kindly. Bugs, I noted, have a mindfulness and overall do not bug. Bees apprise that a leader, even a queen bee, is nothing without happy subjects. Ants showed me how to cooperate to get to a better goal. Caterpillars and a growing day disclosed how to be purposefully vigilant and slow, and that it is vital to master it. A summer’s day intensifying in heat was never truly complete without the cicadas in signature song.
The squirrel often studying me spirited me to be playful and sharply alert in one breath, and that it is wise to harvest a bit of something that in time can nurture each day. Its nervous energy also told me that there is purpose in everything and that anything of instinct can be channeled to good notes. Turtles advised me that solitary time done well and with an honoured presence can be worthwhile. Turtle and elephant, gorilla and whale, also communicated that shape and size doesn’t matter. You can be lithe and elegant and graceful and slow and comical and so many things, and wisely well-wheeled in a memory bank of love, so long as you can love and learn from and trust your body. Elephant, dolphin and chimpanzee roused me to appreciate the family circle, playing together, working together, and that the interdependence of our caring, so our actions, are not easily forgotten.
My canine friends instilled something in me even more profound by blessing every aspect of my day with the merits in an approach of forgiveness. They also shone my day with the value of an unconditional presence. It is they that have most strongly imbued me to the high measure of what makes good friendship and what best goes into any relation of a sincere love. Animals have shown me that it is kind and that it is wise to offer my presence to all living things.
Bless the Kindergarten that is Nature.
Reaching for the Stars
Falling stars and shiny stars gave to my heart an art in compassion. Stars also taught me how to prize my wishes. Each and every day of my childhood, the sun moved me to the glory in a shining well of sharing. The sun star energized me to understand my own power and how it is important to be generous and yet to not beat down on others too strongly. Even when resting, I watched the sun give to the moon; and I smiled that her starlight is everyone’s pleasure. The moon’s beautifully round gentle face encouraged me to look up, to trust in my imagination, and to wonder. The gentle rhythm of her waxing and waning and striking fullness prepared me to embrace humility and the beauty of a calm, tolerant, and peaceful disposition.
Marvellously, the moon would choose to shine demurely, and yet powerfully, in another’s light outside my bedroom window; and each night, her expansive love also became an indispensable, anonymous, and friendly force to the ocean waves and its wide body of sea that guided the summer turtles and dolphins I grew to love. She, like the sun, didn’t shine light on me only or just some, but on everyone; and I learned to not discriminate others either for that very beautiful reason. Success, I gathered too, is a light that speaks with more kindness when it is soft.
Water has been my great teacher, too. The ocean taught me a respect for that which is greater than myself and that to survive anything — even when a change in tide gets rough— you need honour the calm belly holding everything underneath. Water can laugh and play, too, and she showed me what it is to feel a purity of happiness in the heart and to be in flow. She also taught me how strongly the unexpected is something worthwhile to trust. To tread water well and survive danger, I discovered the need to keep calm with my head above board and my body relaxed and weightless.
Water’s speed and motion and meandering design also offered me a proof to self-direct and how to get past obstacles with an air of freedom and joy no matter what runs through the current. She showed me by example that a happy, healthy life is one that is not rigid and that can good-naturedly adapt. I rejoiced often in the delights of an abandoned laughter along with her. And so, water offered me a complete arts education in how to be supple, respectful, appreciative, and confidently grounded as I honour the balance of hard work and fun.
Sky and Water are a breath and a part of me.
The Earth School
The bursting magic of a fall foliage invited my young soul to let go elegantly and to prize the colours of my years. Winter in Canada announced a uniqueness in each snowflake and how we are just that as human beings ——— and yet also all of one skin from a same Source. The summit woods, no matter the season, could inspire me to be in tune healthily with both my joy and my loneliness as considerately as each one of my life’s forest walks have shown me that I am at one and never alone. My body could sense my ground, and I understood acutely while in the woods that Life is my classroom and that I am Her student. My spirit naturally intuited, too, that even after you traverse fields or master a climb, there is another mountain and another shoe of many miles to cross always waiting for you. This is how the enlightened, prudent mountain and the good-natured, thoughtful meadow educated me to stay free of vanity and to always cheerfully begin again.
In all this, The Universe supported me. She has had me absorb that it is wise to stay humble and perseverant in every journey and after every arrival because of this. And everywhere I went or looked, Nature invited me to dream, to share, to fill my body with good breaths, and to tune into myself so I could also be a song. Like my faithful dog, the heavens and the earth bathed me in an importance of being sure and trustworthy and always life-promoting in character with a consistent approach. By just showing up every day in a reliable and deeply loving and giving way, these celestial beings and earthly graces showed me what it is and how it is to be loyal and counted upon.
Nature has shown me my worth.
Laughing Down Lonely Canyons
Though I couldn’t name things properly then, Nature, in a nutshell, a seashell, a wide shell of Universe all its own, illuminated daily lessons of all the virtues I needed to know that would life support a more carefree childhood for me no matter its every day knocks. It also illuminated to me a master class in how to achieve happy relations. Over time though, like many grown children, or “grown ups”, I lost my way. Rather than be free in its abandon, other calls to life had me abandon the necessary importance of distilling its cues. In doing so, I amputated myself from a lot of important information that could serve my own heart speak across my life miles. I stopped listening, and if I listened it was not attentively enough, deeply enough, or reciprocally. And for that choice, over the years I became very lost.
It isn’t that I never traversed a mountain as an adult or did not walk a forest or did not stop to admire the seasons or never swam a river or ocean or didn’t hang-glide and be my own bird in the sky or not descend canyons great and small or not ride on a horse through trails and field. It is that I forgot how to approach Nature with a consistent daily reverence no matter what I do and in a deferential way that could in turn inform me to my own instinctual knowing and heart.
My awareness wandered further away from what I admired in the lacework of the friendly spider, too, and my attention began to submerge in a web of comparing myself to others. And if I admired and esteemed The Great Nature during travels, my heart soon forgot to metabolize the key principles that guide her life force into my everyday playbook once home.
When I lived my routine, I also did not truly sit in the Source for my exhilaration in the same ways I once did as a child. I forgot the virtues of the friendly, perseverant spider. I forgot the butterfly. I forgot the lessons of the moon and the sun. And it is also that I forgot what I knew as a child and what all children know: that to lead a good, strong, happy, healthy, fluid and beautiful life, it is wise to follow the varied and breathtaking example of Nature all around first and last. Nature never left me though. She has lovingly waited.
Gladly, Nature and I have found each other again, in that heart speak child way; and now I do my best to soak in some aspect of her great storytelling each day. I look to her now as I ride life’s precious river and as I laugh down lonely canyons. I make sure I stop to admire her, and I make sure I attend to some facet of her as I would the value of my own breath. And so, I follow the spiritedness of the child that holds Her Beautiful Body and Anyone and Anything of an Open Heart. For I may be grown-up, but it is the Growing who Stay Wise.
Photography by Marina Mashaal