Drinking in Nature’s Presence


Years ago someone shared with me that the reason we as humans are so drawn to and nourished by nature is because it is authentic — it can’t help but to be true to its own deeper presence. Thus, when we allow ourselves to be touched by and resonate with its genuine expression, it powerfully realigns us with our own deeper nature. This sure matches my experience, as nature in all its wondrous forms serves as one of my most revered teachers more and more with each passing year.

At Blackwater Pond
the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.

I dip my cupped hands.
I drink a long time.
It tastes like stone, leaves, fire.
It falls cold into my body, waking the bones.
I hear them deep inside me,
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

~ Mary Oliver

Many of my deepest revelations arrive in the form of metaphor, with nature often an integral part of its revealed message. While attending a retreat in nature about 25 years ago, I had an inner experience of walking through a forest. As I looked ahead through the trees, I could see what appeared to be a river ahead. As I walked closer towards it, it revealed itself to me as a river of shimmering Light. I then saw that a number of spiritual teachers were standing in the midst of its flowing stream, and they were beckoning me to join them in this healing, vibrant river. I’ll never forget this experience, as it was a luminous moment of being welcomed with such love into the awakening flow of Spirit.

One of my favorite authors and poets is John O’Donohue, who given his early childhood immersed in the breathtaking beauty of western Ireland, has a profound way of capturing his experience of landscape as sacred Presence in his book, Beauty:

“The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigor and vibrancy of this inheritance. In contract to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature takes its time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.”


Reflecting upon the extraordinary beauty of the flowing creek captured in the photo above, I am reminded again how nature is such a vibrant source of revelation:


by Kay Crista

I want to live my life the way a creek
runs faithful to the land and the seasons.

I want to rest in deep pools
rich with algae and fish,
tranquil under the sun and moon.

I want to rush wide awake in rapids
tumbling over rocks and branches
in the hidden depths,
fearless in my gravitational pull to the sea.

I want to feel that utter surrender
when the creek runs dry
giving myself to cloud
waiting in stillness and silence
to flow again

I want to race wildly reborn
swelling the banks
with my endless devotion to returning.

And in all these expressions of the One,
I want to – BE
in the most ordinary of ways.
Grateful to be water,
rock, cloud, sun, moon – reflecting
all this beauty back to itself.

Whether it be through inner revelation, through your dreams, or perhaps while spending some rich time taking in the earth’s ever-revealing beauty, may nature reveal its secrets to you this week in healing and awakening ways, Gavin

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