Without a doubt

A simple autumn altar in the woods

Recently a friend asked me if I had any doubts when I left my job to move across the country several years ago. I replied with something like “of course I did”… and it’s true. Any big change brings feelings of uncertainty, I think. But her question got me wondering about doubt and the role it has played in my life (thanks, B). I’ve been a doubter for most of my life. I’ve doubted my ability to do jobs, to be a good parent, to make art, to write, to teach, even to be a good and decent human being at times. I’ve doubted the existence of God, the strength of our democracy, the words of friends, the intentions of strangers, and probably every big decision I’ve ever made in my life. Don’t we all? at least for a bit?

Rattlesnake plantain thriving in our woods

Yet, outside my doubting self, there are two things in my world that I know for sure I’ve never doubted:

  1. my love for and commitment to my soulmate and partner in life, Mr. EndlessSeeker, (and his for me)…. and
  2. the absolute life-giving, spirit-lifting, awe-inspiring, soul-healing power and beauty of my earthly and cosmic kin – wild plants and animals, soil and water, air and fire, sun and moon, stars and rainbows, thunderstorms, falling leaves, marshes and meadows and mountains…

Since I was a little girl growing up on a farm with my grandma as my guide, my connection to the wild beings and earth elements has been strong. As we nurture our habitat here at Pokeberry Pines, living with and learning from our plant and animal kin, that connection grows even stronger. From the soft hoot of the Great horned owls each morning to the howls of coyotes each night, I recognize and celebrate the gift of being part of this extraordinary web of life.

As October brings much-needed rain and cooler weather, I sense the change of seasons in the yellowing leaves, the riot of purple and yellow fall flowers, the awe-inspiring transformation of monarch butterflies, the fleeting visits of migrating birds, and the calls of winter’s returning birds. The cranefly orchids are sending up leaves even as the trees send their energy down to their roots to rest and restore during the winter.

Aromatic asters, common sneezeweed, and obedient plant vie for space in the pollinator garden
Cranefly orchid leaves popping up on the forest floor

Without a doubt, I know the reliability of these cycles and seasons.

Without a doubt, I sense the wisdom of trees and foxes and flowers and insects.

Without a doubt, I feel the beauty and magic and energy of all the earthly elements.

As the human world rages and swirls around us with so much beyond our control, it is important for us to take time to walk in the woods, sit by a tree, listen to the wind, breathe in the air, ground ourselves in our earth Mother, and remember who we are deep inside – a part of a greater whole, a speck of cosmic dust, a fleeting heartbeat in the universe, a vibrating bundle of energy, a temporary life form, a sister/brother/partner connected inexorably to all living beings. This wisdom, this connection, this stillness has the power to calm our aching hearts and minds and help us move through the world with more gratitude and love and grace.

Without a doubt.

6 comments

  1. If only more people would/could feel this way – as the human condition becomes more and more untenable and fragile. It’s difficult to value the good things in life and appreciate nature when war and turmoil and starvation are raging around you. We are so fortunate to be able to do this.

    • Indeed, Sylvia. Thank you for your thoughts on this. Fortunate we are. Yet, I believe this is a broken link in our human existence and if everyone would reconnect to the wisdom of nature we might all be living more peaceful lives together.

  2. Doubt?? – AH, what a question this has stirred for me and you so eloquently simplified this in a language I can understand and relate to. Thank you for this gift Deb and know that without a doubt, your words make a difference for me and for many others! I especially appreciate the reminder that we are all part of the greater whole. This makes change and cycles less intimidating for me.

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