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Index Spring 2003


Introducing "Uch Enmek" - Karakolsky Nature Park

What’s New At SEN’s Russian Environmental Partnership Program

"Stand Still Again" My 24 hour Experience..

Global Response Action Alert!

The East-West Indigenous Exchange

Another Wonderful Winter Retreat!

Events and Newsletters - Spring 2003 - Issue 19

"Stand Still Again" My 24 hour Experience..

There are no words for nature, just a feeling like you’ve been nourished and centered when you spend time there and a greater capacity to love and take in the beautiful life that is around us. I knew that I needed to go to the woods when I saw the course in the catalog at Greenfield Community College beckoning me there. And right then, I didn’t take it as a sign that it was a calling from the wild to myself, to know myself better and to glance around me in a more than casual way.

I wish that I could show you how beautiful the moon was and how luxurious it was to sleep in it’s light. I wish that I could bring you the sounds of the leaves bustling in dark silhouettes against a twilight sky, while the trees stood strong in respectful silence. I wish that you could see the ferns dressed in their lacy, white-light lingerie almost translucent in their autumn paleness. I cannot even dream up a world of cascading shadows, leaves pirouetting down from lofty tress, a wordless language of windful sighs and rhythms. Yet these elements are part of what is encoded in our very beings. The perfection in our lives existing without our help, our gifts, our ignorance.

It amazes me how out of place I felt at times during the weekend. I sensed that I was left out of a cycle that is so efficient, so stable, so constant.... Stuck in a human body that wrecks the world and scares the animals away, disrupting a better little universe than I could ever create with mind or body. Walker, my instructor, said that perhaps “our instructions as human beings” are to just exist and observe and to give thanks for it all. Perhaps that is all we could be doing. What else really matters?

Sometimes I have these thought epiphanies, while lying in bed, always when I cannot afford to truly entertain them. But the woods draws them out of you, with little effort at all, unless you put up a resistance. It all becomes poignant or petty, and so it gets really easy to purge the system of leftovers that need to be discarded. I think that the soul, like any space, likes to be clean and light (I know that you are laughing because I am neither - YET).

This morning was truly the finale of the weekend, as we passed wetlands and bogs, and as Ani says, that thought that the “moon was so beautiful that they held up a mirror.” Our marbled beacon, she bid us farewell, and melted into the horizon, as light simultaneously spilled from the sun onto the black screen of stars. We hiked with these previews playing LIVE before our very eyes, awaiting the top of our hill, where grass, trees and shrub bowed in reverence to the elements leaving us a clear crust of earth to perch upon. It was there, in that moment, that earth, heart, and soul stood breathless and watched our glowing orb tie colored ribbons of light to the clouds and then haul itself up over the sea of amber leaves, to warm our skin, and answer the birds’ beckoning. Twenty-two of us sat there, in praise so loud that it was absolutely silent, searching for the courage to dream, and just to be.

I wrote this after a 24 hour outdoor class, in which we learned to cultivate an awareness of the world and of ourselves. I wanted to bring some “heaven” home to y’all. You know, the natural world calls all of us from the core of our being. We should go and find the magic.
       Danielle Botelho

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