The November afternoon sun rides golden low above the hills on the western side of the broad creek. Dodging in and out of tall nearly bare trees that fill the valley and cover the slopes on either side, it provides bright golden light under a clear blue sky and is warm enough to be pleasant in winter coats and scarves. There is little wind today, but it will still be chilly once the shadows come. Walking upstream with my beloved and my son, the sun highlights the few hardy red and gold leaves that cling to the mostly wintered trees. Under our feet we scuff maple, oak, sycamore and walnut leaves drying and browning along the wide gravel road. Below, the creek moves lazily along, broad but shallow, rifling over stones or gently gliding, this is a lowland watercourse, unlike the rapid mountain streams of Colorado.
I am visiting Philadelphia and the great park of the Wissahickon Valley, nearly 2000 acres of eastern forests covering ancient grey stone shot through with mica that sparkles in the sunshine. Threaded by tiny streams, and larger creeks all rushing downhill to the Wissahickon, flowing to the Schuylkill River, and not far away the sea. I grew up here with various sections of the park as natural playgrounds for a curious child. Returning in the fall for the first time in decades, I am feeling into the trees, soaring majestically high overhead, the smell of the deep rich loam of fallen leaves, the dampness of lichen and moss.
We sit on a bench and meditate. I sense the deep power of the earth light, but also the power of the biosphere, even in fall, winding into winter, there is a rich thick layer of life on the face of the earth. I breath it all in and connecting in a more conscious way to the land that nurtured me when I was only vaguely conscious, I am filled with joy and gratitude. I expand my awareness out into the web of nature and relax into it. it comes alive in my body, as ancient memory, and as present experience.
Returning west, at first I miss the trees. The biosphere is different here, thinner and subtler in the drier land. The sense of the forests lingers strongly. In time it begins to blend with the sense of the mountains, the tall peaks of the Rockies. I have had powerful experiences of these great beings that soar into the heavens and channel the cosmic energies onto the planet. With gratitude I can feel in my body both the softer more feminine lusciousness of the forests and the masculine strength of the mountains. My body rejoices as they weave together.
Coming up to the new moon, I feel powerfully all the nature energies wanting to come through me into the world. The deep earth light, the rich life of the biosphere, and the cosmic light of the mountains. I have made commitments to these over the years, felt them powerfully interacting with my being, and yet not been sure how to embody them and walk them into the world. The spiritual levels of these energies, these beings of the Earth, need humans to be open to mediate their power. In our hearts or in ceremony we can open to bring them into collective consciousness.
My body can feel the power of the combination of all levels of earth energy, the balance and joy that comes, insistence of them wanting to be more fully present. There are lots of day to day choices that we can make to help the planet come back into balance, to move towards a future in which we progress in harmony with the earth, rather than at her expense. We can also open our beings to let the natural forces through. They will sustain us, while we make them easier to feel, infusing the global consciousness with the deep creative power of the whole of nature.