Easter morning, April 2020...
As I sit on my screened porch this morning, I’m looking out over the beauty of redbuds and dogwoods, marveling at all the new birth around me. So uplifting to my heart and soul, so filling…..
This newborn Spring all around us seems to be an alternate reality to what we humans are experiencing. With the pause of humanity’s relentless urge to “go forth and conquer,” the Earth seems to be taking herself back a little, clearing away our encroachments for a time that is beginning for us to seem timeless. Long enough for her to catch her breath, to breathe in and out more deeply without the “collateral damage” of our relentless deeds and endeavors choking her soil and skies. She is so beautiful, this literal grounding for all we dare to dream and do. Gazing upon the redbuds every day now as I sit outside writing and studying, I feel as if the whites of my eyes have turned magenta. Even with closed eyes, the imprint of magenta remains. Even my dreams have become magenta-colored.
As I think on that, I think about all the Earth teachings I’ve received in my years of walking through the woods and mountains. I suddenly recall my very first encounter with what I have come to refer to as “Earth-speak.” It was my first Fall in New York’s Hudson Valley, having moved up to the small Hudson River village of Cold Spring after living in New York City for over 20 years. As I was walking around the top of a small mountain forest, drinking in all the incredible Fall aromas, basking in the sun-drenched gold and red maples, the swishing of the Fall breezes through the leaves and my own hair, I began to feel a palpable presence. And as it filled me, my lungs whooshed open to the deepest breaths I may have ever taken.
As then, I came around a bend in the path and my breath caught at the spectacularity of colors. I stopped in my tracks, mesmerized by the fire-and-amber light and the seasons of layered earth-scents, still warm from Summer. The presence of an "allness" was so near and intimate. And then suddenly I heard, “Ah yes, the very things you humans admire us for – our different colors, shapes, smells and sounds – are the very things you often abhor in each other. Alas, you have lost touch with your beauties because you have lost touch with us.” ....Stunned to my core, I sat down on a stone and wept for the terrible truth of that in myself, and likely in all of humanity. What have we done to ourselves, I remember crying out inside of me.
That startling encounter began a conversation with nature – that particular forest – that would go on for 16 years, as I walked that mountain almost daily waiting for her flora-and-fauna voices, letting her light seeds of wisdom drop into my listening heart and thirsty soul. She taught me many things during those years, and I came to deeply understand how the natural world is meant to be a constant teacher for our human nature, and that we have too long benched her, ignored her, and especially, hurt her, in our consumption games of life.
Yet, we cannot sustain ourselves without her—not only what she provides in sustenance to our bodies, but for the spirit that resides within her that also lives in each and all of us. She is shepherdess to the ongoing cycles and seasons of our lives. Embodying her own wisdoms, she shows us how to lean into life in all its expressions. How to reach up and branch out, yet also how to draw near to each other for shelter, caring and nourishment. She offers us her bounties of earth and sky, soil and soul, for our nourishment and strength. She shows us how to withstand tempests and storms and bend to the winds of change without breaking – or when we break, how to mend ourselves again and again. How to be here in trueness to our individual natures, so that we might also contribute our uniquely diverse gifts of being and doing to community. How to be resilient and how to come back from our seemingly dormant and dying times, for even from our own barest bones we can bring forth new life with a reborn will to live and love.
This time in our world is a gift, because there is nothing that is not if we have eyes to see and heart to receive. It is a gift of contrasts, to be sure. For that is the nature of life itself. We ebb and we flow, and both are necessary to move us not only forward, but deeper into the consciousness and bounty of life. For we each represent a unique and irreplicable beingness that all the rest of humanity needs in order to be whole.
Those of us who fall away during this time are not leaving us completely. Their spirits, their love, their laughter, their particularities, live on in our hearts and in the more we become because of them. Like the fallen tree in the forest that gives way to the sapling growing from its own decaying roots, we honor what was by embracing life anew with more deeply furrowed hearts.
Ahh, and now I hear the message of the magenta…this is the time given to us by our Earth to bring on more magenta-caring for each other--for magenta, in the philosophies of color, is about the mutual, exquisitely personal and yet universal love that embraces all. Someone said to me, "It's as if Life Itself scolded all of us one day like run-amuck toddlers, 'go to your room and think about yourself!'" This Spring, perhaps for the first time in all our lifetimes, the Earth has moved into her rebirthing ahead of us, while we are re-forming anew in the womb of this waiting. May we not emerge the way we were, but become more now...because of this gift-time of deepening.
In love and gratitude, that we might all recognize
the blessings before us. xoTerah
Lover of words & music, mountains and meaning, good friends and food, co-creative timeless talk and the more than meets the eye of everything!
Words are like gates. They can open us to each other's hearts and minds and show us those sacred places we can only go without them.
All content on this website © 2004-2021 by Terah Cox, except photography by Stacie Florer, Gittel Price and additional images as per credits.