The Spirits of the Land whisper to me. Today. Many days. Most days. I try to walk softy, I attempt to tread gently. Yet, it feels like each step has the potential to disrupt, although that is in no way my intention or desire.
I make my way carefully off the road. The field is muddy, the footpath slippery once more. There has not been much rain, by comparison, but the water table here in Somerset remains far too high, even where I am relatively high on the edge of the Levels. I listen. I stop. I breathe quietly, expectant. Straining for some indication the communication will resume, now only a hushed silence fills the space within me, beyond me.
Then just at the edge of my awareness, I catch the faintest whisper again. I keep moving through the lengthening grass, thick and green. Beside me the hedgerows of holly and hawthorn, gowned in flowers bursting forth, are edged with cow parsley lace. There are slashes of blue, pink and yellow from bluebells, red campian, the first buttercups and swathes of dandelion. In this riot of growth I strain to hear what the Land has to say to me.
I continue on. I continue to listen. I keep trying to absorb the sounds that follow, or lead, the sights. Whispers. Whispy echoes. Did I hear a sigh just then? Perhaps it was a soft whimper. Am I trying too hard today? Am I not trying hard enough?
I try to discern what the Spirits of the Land are attempting to communicate to me. And, perhaps, it is as simple and complex, as easy and difficult as: Tread gently always, all ways.
But, can I do that each time I open the door and step over my threshold into the world? I wonder. Sometimes I am in a hurry, determined to be somewhere else, to do something else. Can I, do I, tread gently then, when I am not really paying sufficient attention, on those days when I am not as attentive as I am today? Can I, do I, even listen for the whispers then?
Or, are those the times when they shout: Careful, child. Be mindful and aware, for you are called to care, have the capacity for caring, are burdened with cares.
At those times, when I am chided, reminded to slow my pace, I may come upon an earthworm either struggling in a puddle or as the pavement heats up on a sunny day covered in grit. I stop. I gather it up. I walk to the nearest grassy bit and place it there. Or, I find in my path a stalled bumblebee, scoop it up and seek out a fuel flower to revive it. Another time I will refuse to crush a tiny snail or squish a slug, as I see so many have done already, and find a place for it away from anyone’s garden.
These are actions I do not because I can, I do them because I must. If I try to walk on and not stop, invariably I end up turning around and doing what I must do.
In these instances, I share a moment of my life with a small being who is radically different from me. A small being whose way of life and of being I doubt I could ever fully understand. What I can share with it is that we are related by being alive and ensouled and inhabiting together the spaces of our living.
The actions I take in such instances are barely perceptible in the huge scheme of existence, but are part of it nonetheless. They are assistance given to those who have no understanding of gratitude, as humans understand the concept, and are unable to say thank you in any case — or maybe I’ve just not learned understand their languages yet. And that is the point for now, too, for they are actions for no tangible reward whatsoever. These small acts of kindness, however, expand my soul, fill my heart and unleash joy. I have, until I type these words, thought that these responses came about because neither notice can be given nor gratitude expressed by those I have aided. But as I listen now to the Deep Wisdom of Being, those sensations may well be the manner in which I perceive how they communicate that they noticed, that those feelings are the way their gratitude is expressed.
In the space or writing a paragraph, I radically changed what I perceive as ‘speech’ or communication from quite different beings. I did not rewrite it on purpose after I listened and reflected; I am allowing to to stand as a witness to an amendment in my understanding. What I have just learned changes everything. It alters my understanding forever. And, although I am sitting on my sofa, with my laptop, I can sense the Spirits of the Land nodding in approval.
The Spirits of the Land shout: Slow down. Give care, be caring. The Spirits of the Land whisper: Perceive through my Sensing. Work with my Knowing. Live by my Wisdom.
The Spirits of the Land whisper, whisper, whisper.
The Spirits of the Land teach me. Sometimes in neither a shout nor a whisper, but in silent resonance. It is my task to listen, to be attentive, aware and open.
Today, the Spirits of the Land whispered . . .