Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Community of Loners

I walked alone through the woods. Only the distant sound of engines and the narrow, sandy trail before me recall that human civilization lies not far away.

Shriveled ferns now cover the forest floor and the once abundant mushrooms have nearly vanished. A squirrel hops calmly in the distance. A rustling reveals the striped back of a chipmunk in the brambles.

A snake wriggles across the path and freezes in expectation of my departure. The hated snake; so reviled in our culture. The image of Evil and of the Fall. And yet, this little fellow wants nothing of me other than to be left free to pursue his life.

A few bright green and healthy ferns defy their surroundings. One tattered mushroom, then another nearly perfect specimen boldly stands watch in the grass. They stand alone. And yet, they are not alone.

They share with each other an energy, a spirit of living in the midst of the declining season. Here with the snakes and ferns and mushrooms, I am among a community of loners, an army of life energy battling the forces of conformity and resignation to Fate. I am a Chaplain in a hospice of hope and perseverance.

I walk in a hospice because, after all, everything must eventually die; that is, the organic shell binding us to this particular reality will one day cease functioning. But, everything thing exists forever in the Spiritual Realm.

My path joins a much larger trail. At the junction, a bench invites me to sit and jot notes. Two women on horseback ride up. As they pass, one inquires, “Are you drawing?” A short time later, a father and his young son approach. “Is he fishing?” I hear the child ask. “It’s a nice day for reading,” the man poses to me. A young woman comes up. She commands her spotted spaniel to “Heel!” several times. I feel for the animal who clearly wants to know, “Can I come over and greet you?”

What exactly am I doing?

I am feeling empathy for creatures no free to pursue their wishes and whatever brings them joy. I am experiencing and learning all the time, letting the omniverse speak to me; and I am actively seeking out that mystical voice. I am also creating my own interpretations of those messages.

And I am in solidarity with the fighting ferns.


Anonymous said...

Was this walk in the City Forest?

Rev. Jeff Liebmann said...

Yes. The North Loop, taking the bike trail in the first part, then then main trail around the wetlands. I love the bike trails in City Forest - they are so narrow and winding that you can really get lost in your saunter.

Anonymous said...

Do some people let their dogs run loose in the forest?

Anonymous said...

Michigan garter snake nice. Fear it not. Eve seduced by nasty desert cobra. Fear it.

Rev. Jeff Liebmann said...

Yes, people frequently have dogs unleashed in City Forest. I've never had a problem, but have met my share of crazy animals (I'm not specifying human or not...)

Anonymous said...

Are there many mosquitoes?

Rev. Jeff Liebmann said...

Apparently, Michigan has several species of mosquitoes that hatch at different time during the year. So a lot depends on the month, time of day, and temperature. Mosquitoes love me, but I have only found it really challenging a couple of times this summer.

Anonymous said...

Jeff in love. No time to blog. Two months no posts.