I am nursing a gratitude hangover from Thanksgiving where authentic thankfulness is in abundance. In November the leaves shower us with gold treasures in their acrobatic dance to the earth – sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre, raw umber, and other luscious rich earth tones - crunchy,and in initial stages of decay. I sense abandon and retreat in the intricate veins, skeletons of leaves with crispy, curled edges. Brown leaves collect at the base of trees, shrubs and grasses. After carefully assisting in the complex carbon cycle, our friends say it is time to retire and refresh the earth.
Leaves twirl in fancy flight down to the earth creating a warm patchwork quilt and add nutrients to the forest floor for next spring’s splendid show. One by one, leaf skeletons that faithfully held strong in windstorms,decay into rich dark brown humus, which acts like a sponge and retains the earth’s precious water.
More than ever, it is this time of year, when the trees are naked and the ground is brown and grey, reflecting the grey mood of the sky, that I hear the words of Thich Nhat Hahn “Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet”.
With each step I send vitality and love to the Earth along with the autumn leaves, to ensure a long winter’s sleep and a renewed sense of growth and celebration in spring.
Optimum walking technique comes back to me: heel to toe. Kissing the earth in a slow methodical way with each step, sending a wish and a prayer for beauty to come back and inspire us again and again. I envision tree roots growing down from my foot into the earth, through the rich soil, rock and minerals, mantle, outer core, inner core of the earth; anchoring me to the magic of it all.
To be of the Earth is to know
the restlessness of being a seed
the darkness of being planted
the struggle toward the light
the pain of growth into the light
the joy of bursting and bearing fruit
the love of being food for someone
the scattering of your seeds
the decay of the seasons
the mystery of death
and the miracle of birth
Today’s Gratitude Attitude:
- recognize the beauty of nature unfolding each moment
- acknowledge the miraculous cycle of the seasons
- be thankful for open space to walk and reflect
- give credit to Mother Nature for her continued gifts and inspiration
Hahn continues in his Walking Meditation, “We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth . . .Peace is already present in each step, and if we walk in this way, a flower will bloom under our feet with every step.”
Beauty blooms with every step and I am grateful.