She saves me

There is something timeless about nature

Unflappably effortlessly implacable

We look into it and feel our hearts slow down a beat

Watch a flock of birds circle

Even in the busy city streets

With honking cars

And busy feet

The clouds drift gently above

A breeze dries the sweat on my cheek

And she saves me

*She saves me from myself, my mind created mess. Yesterday I had a very full head. It was a bit like an overstuffed handbag, all the things I didn’t want to forget. The things that were worrying me, the things I was quietly excited about, plans, poetry, all jumbled up and shoved down hard and heavy.

As I drove up to an intersection, and on auto pilot slowed for an amber light, I realised just how disconnected I was, as I temporarily lost the memory of where exactly I was going.

It was a blank moment. If I was paranoid I would say it was the onset of early dementia but I know it’s not that – it is just a busy person with a fractured mind.

My reason and destination promptly returned to me, the light turned green and I accelerated, which is when I looked up and saw a pelican.

He was an unusual large bird in an unusual place, I pulled over for a minute and just watched him flying. As I did so, everything went still inside. My head emptied and my breath returned to deep breathing. How often do I catch myself looking into a sunset, a sunrise, the ocean, the paddocks, even a beautiful tree or becoming temporarily cheered by wildflowers? Too many to count. It’s my medicine, my healing – I think it’s everyones, we just don’t always realise it.

Last month I was camping at Big Bend overnight in the Carnarvons. I was the only one there, 10km inside the park, pitch dark, sheer cliff walls rising all around and a creek trickling in the background. A lone woman sitting beneath the illumination of a solar light reading.

I looked up at a sound and shone my torch into the encroaching darkness. A big cane toad sat there looking guilty and google eyed in the sudden light, his mouth full of some hapless beetle. We looked at each other for a minute. I turned off the torch and kept reading. The sound of the bush breathing around me, ancient, timeless, and I was just there for the night. I felt very privileged to be amongst it and tried not to shock the other inhabitants any further with my intrusive lights.

I can’t say that angels walk amongst us but heaven certainly is everywhere. And it saves us, from our fleeting, scattered, fragmented shells by pulling our attention to something deeper, quieter, pure and still. Nature doesn’t love us, doesn’t need us, it just is. Which gives me hope that even if we do stuff all of this up – she will continue on, restoring, healing, breathing.

Reading kindle at camp
Camp
Dawn –
Did I mention there is no internet or phone service?

14 thoughts on “She saves me

  1. Love this. It reminds me of a line from the podcast, “How to Suffer Outside with Diana Helmuth.” In it, Diana says something like, “If you’re having a really bad day and think, ‘Everyone on the planet sucks. I’m going to go talk to the trees,’ but the trees are, hilariously, like, ‘LOL, you can come but we’re not going to be nice.’ That’s my favorite part about nature — She doesn’t love you and accept you for who you are; She doesn’t give a sh*t about you. So, you’re forced to give a sh*t about yourself.”

    • Exactly, as an intelligent being we can’t think Nature cares about us can we? Bushfires, floods. If I fall over (and I have) the rocks don’t go “there there up you get” no, they hurt. I can lean on a tree to eat my lunch and the next thing a green ant bites me. Nature can be an absolute bitch. But in coping with all the discomfort and revelling in the beauty we are healed and grow stronger within. She is like the disciplinarian parent that we rebel against only to find out she was right and we were wrong. I love that description “how to suffer outside” because it’s the most difficult thing to explain. When I come back from a long bike ride somewhere or a hike and I talk about all the crap that went wrong my husband says “well that sounds like hell, why on earth do you do it?” I can’t explain other than to say – there’s always a reward and the reward more than justifies the pain and discomfort.

  2. I love it. And I hate to say this, but be careful out there alone. I used to do a lot of lone hiking and then some tent camping with my daughter, but at least had my dog if I was alone. Take your dog. They don’t always help. Too many bad humans around — had some bad experiences that way. I know I’m disturbing your goal of total peace. And your pictures are gorgeous. But it worries me.

    • Hi Lynn I have an emergency locator and gps. You can’t take dogs into national parks but it’s fine really – if anything was to happen I accept it as part of the risk which I always weigh up against the peace return. Injury or snake bite is probably more of an issue with hiking in remote locations solo, Garmin assured me that their response is quick, I carry first aid and snake bite stuff – you cover the controllables then go and do what you want to do. It’s the only way to have the life I want.

  3. Huh, no dogs? I think we can have dogs in all our parks, just not on a few beaches! Bummer. They add a whole level of comfort, but glad you have the Garmin thing! Haven’t really heard of people using that much here but imagine they offer. Sure, I minimize risk, too. In my case, it was my dog! But a Garmin is interesting. Didn’t realize they offered response!

    • Well, you have to take it with a grain of salt – the response because with the high cliffs and tree coverage of where I usually hike there are times you’re not going to get satellite coverage. But Garmin support told me they had a trail bike rider break his leg in a national park and they had people on the ground in half an hour. It also allows me to text back and forth with emergency and with family so – as long as I’m in a clear spot – I’m okay. I always tell people where I’m going and text when I am in camp for the night. I let fear be an edge and an asset towards common sense rather than completely preventing me from going and doing what I want to do.

    • I read that a long time ago Rosaliene- your comment bought it back up so I had to go and find it to read : “When despair for the world grows in me
      and I wake in the night at the least sound
      in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
      I go and lie down where the wood drake
      rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
      I come into the peace of wild things
      who do not tax their lives with forethought
      of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
      And I feel above me the day-blind stars
      waiting with their light. For a time
      I rest in the grace of the world, and am free”
      Utterly beautiful. 💕

    • Sandflies and mosquitos Jeff – I just spray liberally with bug spray. Doesn’t stop the noise or landing attempts and they were pretty bad. The winter chill gets rid of them so a pleasure to camp on winter, but then it’s cold so..just got to put up with whatever whenever and go I guess

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