Article by: Nathascha Heijen
For an hour I stood in the dark that preludes the dawn. The stars were out and played hide and seek beyond invisible clouds. A cyclical call of the owl in a tree nearby let me know I was not the only one awake at this silent time. Carefully I walked up the grassy track, not being able to see were I was stepping but knowing the path well. The open spot offered a theatrical view to the night sky and a slight change in colour on the horizon. A caressing puff of air parading past bare branches and the soft lining of my woolly hat.
In the East, the sound of a grand gathering of crows decorated the black silence with signs of perceiving minds. The owl and the crows each focussing on different things. The owl might be aware of me, the crows not yet. I know they will soon pass overhead after their meeting closes.
Warmly dressed and insulated, I look up to the stars. Imagining one of them is my late dear friend Marie Colette who is looking down on me. I greet her. Wherever she is.
My mind wanders into a wood of thoughts. What exactly is each star I see? Could there be worlds revolving around them? Did our ancient ancestors think of the stars that way? Would they then feel they were part of a grander theatre of life? Would they feel blessed to be a part of it? And to be able to see these other worlds? Is anyone still thinking of stars this way? My attention is caught by a bright uninterrupted light navigating a linear path amongst the stars. Is that a satellite? A Chinese lantern? Do I need to know? No. I let go just when the light disappeared behind a could.
In the East, a soft pink golden light blanketed the tree tops. One cockerel on the edge of perception stretched his lungs. Taking in the fresh morning air. I did the same. A satisfying breath of crisp fresh ocean air filled my longs. Taking it all the way into every cell of my body. Wonderful! The crack of dawn became wider and its orange 'eyes' stared me in the face. A slightly amused and wise: 'Hello to you, human soul' was greeted by my inner smile.
Their meeting being over, black silent wings headed off into all directions. A couple of wings flying over this land and overhead. Some sending a “caw caw” greeting down and I reply with my heart. Morning light is gently being stretching out by the pull of the crows. Awakening is gaining strength. After the crows' earthy sounds, the hight pitched sound of a tiny winged bird pierces the woods. A second answered, quickly followed by the dawn choir. The owl ended his and gave the floor to his woodland friends. The announcement has been made. Night is over and Light reins!
In the East, the light grows a golden yellow and hues of our blue skies wrap around it. Clouds starts moving towards the South. The human world now too is awakening. The sound of a tractor driving up a country lane, the incoming smell of the recycle centre at the bottom of our hill, a first car on the road. And I notice how those sounds differ from the voices of nature. I realise how much the sounds of an ancient way of life have changed into the sounds of a modern world. I brought my attention back to nature around me. The first shoots of daffodils are bravely bordering the winter field. I greet them, let them know I am happy that they are in this world and that I look forward to their heart-warming yellow flowers. Soon. Very soon.
Reluctantly leaving my meeting with nature, I realise how much this has fed my soul. How greatly beneficial this past quiet hour has been! I take some deep breaths, turn the door handle and enter the artificial world of screen and keyboard. But deeply holding on to that sense of renewal on a soul level. I also realise that, although I am quite happy to live such precious moments by myself, it would be enhanced if it was shared with someone who mirrors my soul. Truly knowing the depths of it because they share the same depth. Share the same wonder. Would take me by the hand and lead me outside into the dawn. Folded in a silent, knowing embrace.
Hold on! Could that be Nature?