I set down the book I am reading, The Bones & Breath by L.R. Heartsong, halfway through the last chapter, Wild Soul, Wise Heart, telling myself that this chapter was written specifically for me:
“Our bodies reveal Nature in all its intelligence and innate, untamed magnificence. We are primal, sensual, sexual beings — wild souls — bestowed with self-reflective consciousness and higher states of awareness.
Yet nearly everyone is locked in fear and stuck in their familiar cage. Our ego never heals us, only the body does. And grace.”
I stop at this exact place on the page, marking the spot with a bookmark made of maple, walnut and cherry reed, and rise from the comfort of the luxurious warmth of my bed to the living room.
The floor-length blinds are closed. I draw them wide open, brew coffee, pull a leather-bound chair up to the sliding glass doors, and begin to write.
The words I just read were written by a knowing heart, one spent awake and alive on nights such as mine. Contemplating silence and space, focused not on time, but on placement and purpose.
My home. Absolute peace. The only sounds, the lazy sputter of freshly brewing coffee and the palpable, otherworldly still breath of the wind.
This silence is pure. My loved one snug, sleeping peacefully. Warm. Safe.
I bend slightly to one side to heave open a sliding glass door and allow the freezing breath of night to welcome me. My legs clad in cotton flannel pajamas, I allow frigid winter to envelop me completely.
My breath catches in my throat as the midnight air greets my face, gentle and fresh, filling my lungs with life. I breathe her into my body fully.
Sitting slightly forward in my chair, I peer into the darkness of night.
There is a mad irony at play witnessing nature in repose. A season that seems closed, yet is fully alive and growing beneath what human sight cannot sense. Energy is transforming beneath this icy veil, lives yet to be birthed hide within her embrace.
Roots are semi-hibernating beneath the layers of snow; they hold solemn conversation with the dirt, packed close for survival. This season is a death-like slumber. Another form of life.
Like me, now, silent in my space and placement on Earth, contemplating nothing of importance whatsoever, resting within and with my human form, my body, my breath, my blood.
The fresh snow is divine, untouched my humankind. It blankets the ground like a virginal bridal gown.
There are tracks on the porch, not sure from what, small animals, perhaps squirrels or the starlings that berth in my roof and sing above my head to me when the wind grows fierce. I hear their pitter-pattering in the crawlspace above me during harsh weather, and it makes me smile.
They come to me after dawn though, hundreds of them, it seems. The tracks are not from the starlings.
The ravens keep their distance, and never visit at night. Not to my knowledge. Instead, they choose to squawk at me from across the lawn during the day, telling me tales. There are three of them.
The strutter is the one that speaks, the other two keep watch on the tips of the tallest branches of two pine trees beside the strutter. He prances back and forth on the ground like a peacock, staring at me as if I understand birdspeak.
Oddly enough, I do.
I wonder if they have visited my porch as well. There are many tracks here in the snow tonight. I left my planters out after Autumn, still alive, now half-asleep, full of fragrant homegrown herbs and the roots of vegetables.
My deer have been here. I spy their tracks at the foot of the balcony. I missed them this evening. Oftentimes I catch them quietly by the edge of the porch, feeding from bushes full of berries and greens. When I see them, I toss gigantic organic green apples to them. They like it here with me.
Their tracks are always by my balcony. As if they watch and wait, wondering where I am.
Across this vast expanse of land, there are only two trails of deer tracks heading towards my house. The rest of the frigid snow is untouched.
My deer. That is what I call them because they only visit me. Perhaps they come when I need peace.
I peer far over the railing, like an innocent wondrous child, my slippers now cold, filling with snow. My socks are wet, yet my feet do not mind. I must make sure my deer are not waiting for me, as they often bed down by large bushes, silent, like stone sculptures.
A garden light on the balcony covered in snow bravely shines, like a brilliant torch for existence, for nature. A beacon for the resilience of the human soul, and to all who may be alive and awake now, here, with me, in this sacred, soft glow, one solitary light bellows:
“I am here, I am alive, I am awake, and I matter.”