I have to admit that I wasn’t ready to face the reality of returning to in-person work on a full-time basis this week. After two years of remote work, I didn’t know if I even remembered how to function in an office among people. However, rather than stress about it, I decided that I was going to take it one day at a time, and no matter what, inject some lightness and fun into each in-person work-day.
On the third day, which was Friday, I ended the day by returning to the trails in the Metro-parks near work which I used to walk regularly before the two year pandemic hiatus. An hour or so in the reservation helped me process the new realities, and reminded me of some old ones that I had forgotten.
The first reality is that Nature doesn’t forget, even when we often do. The hidden entrance to one of the trails, the welcoming oaks, the river almost covering the embankment, the lightest of light blue flowers – they were all still there. I had forgotten their soothing nature, but it all came flooding back in the first few minutes, once I chose to be present to them. Their welcoming embrace was complete, the sense of familiar joy was full, and it was as if two years of absence had collapsed into a single moment. I experienced the reality of nature’s power over time and space.
The second reality was about Nature’s beauty. It is in full display, but we often close our eyes and ears to it. One section of the trail, about a quarter of a mile long, was resplendent with white on both sides. It was as if someone had taken canvases of green, sprayed them with white flowers in all kinds of random patterns from head to toe, and then spread them on both sides of the trail to create a tunnel. Why had I never noticed these when I walked this same trail dozens of times before in years past? Maybe I had developed a new awareness, a sense of slowing down after two years of being away? Was this my new reality?
The third experience of reality was a heady mix of the new superimposed on the old. After emerging from the tunnel of flowers, I was going to bypass circling the lagoon. I thought that some sections of the perimeter would be impassable, as used to be the case in the past after heavy rains. I walked by the first entrance with the intent of visiting one of my favorite benches that overlooked the other end of the crescent-moon shaped lagoon. As I got closer to this other end, I noticed that the trail entrance at this end looked a bit different. Where did all the gravel on the trail come from?
This deserved some exploration, and what followed was an amazing walk along the lagoon after all! I met with new wooden bridges and walkways constructed over all the previously impassable parts of the water. I simply couldn’t believe the brilliance of the newness of it all. I admit that I did miss the unpredictable nature of the natural paths which used to often abruptly end, and have me turn around at random points on the three-quarter-circle trail.
New realities of bridges and walkways had made the beauty of the lagoon accessible to so many more people, as evidenced by the people fishing, dog-walking and bird-watching on the trail. Time will tell how the increased human activity bears out for the lagoon’s waters and its wildlife, but so far so good.
As I drove back home after the work-day that ended with my heart and mind full of new realities, I slowly absorbed the new conditions I had experienced over the week. Nature exists to remind us of what is permanent and what isn’t so — what we do with such reminders depends on our inner state. Is it perhaps true that we have the ability to create our own realities by choosing the degrees of awareness, bliss, truth and attitude that we bring to any given moment? If yes, then we can be creators of our own destiny connected to permanence, can’t we? If no, then how do we get out of being immersed in the state of our mind’s illusions?
P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat in #SpiritChat, Sunday June 5 at 9amET / 1pmGMT as we explore reality and such. I will bring some questions and banana bread. Do visit. Namaste – AjmaniK