“ The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir
Recently I found myself touched by words written in an article by Denise Ryan (@deniseryan) that caught my eye in our local newspaper, “ The Vancouver Sun”. The article was about an older gentleman named Marian Wiacek who recently published his memoir, ” Window to Freedom”, describing his experiences as a young Polish refugee during the Second World War.
One paragraph stood out among so many, it’s words a map to the healing source of nature. Amidst the horror and confusion of war including displacement and the tragic death of his father in the Katyn woods massacre, the author remembers experiencing a hushed moment in nature, recalling an encounter with a wolf in the woods one day, while out picking berries; a moment out of time, the two of them contemplating each other in the stillness. This image has remained with this author for all of his 86 years, a reminder that there was still magic to be had in an unrecognizable world, that nature still had gifts to bestow on a young boy willing to accept them.
The image of the wolf and boy reminded me of an encounter I had in Stanley Park several years ago, I was walking a much loved trail and met a coyote casually loping toward me, as he came closer, he began to slow until we stood nearly side by side, just looking at each other. It was only for a few seconds and I was left with the sense that something alien yet magical had just happened, that this was a gift, something rare and like the author, something to remember when the edges of my world begin to fray.
In the to and fro of comments left on a blog that I read frequently, the author posted that in reading my comments, he could imagine that I live a pretty sweet life – in answer to that comment, I shared with him that in curating this sweet life, I gather some pretty incredible tools to fight those moments when I feel sad, angry or afraid. One of my tools is to always seek the wild – I have done this all my life (even if I’m afraid of the wild getting too close!), my most favourite pastime as a child was building forts in the woods, whether that was in the Black Forest in Germany (during our army postings as a family) or the stretch of woods on a Winnipeg army base that my best friend Pat and I called Edgeland (made up of the Little Woods and the Big Woods), nature was always there providing sanctuary and still does to this day – if by chance the wild and my life collide, even better!
Journal Excerpt: October 08, 2012 – Gran Bahia Coba near Tulum, Mexico
We are having a late morning tea in the lobby bar catching up on journal writing and reading. We’ve had a very nice few days enjoying Coba. We’ve tasted two delicious a la carte dinners and a lunch at the Tulum property with a dip in the Caribbean sea. And yesterday we took the shuttle to Coba beach and had a great afternoon being in the water. We didn’t even have to snorkel, the water is so clear and so many different kinds of fish swim all around you. Our days are filled with exploring, being poolside, eating lunch at the snack bars or at the different properties (Akumal or Tulum) and finishing our evening with a chamomile, honey and vanilla tea. Today is cloudy, we won’t know if we are sunning or swimming until later. So I’m going to read now with my second cup of jasmine tea.
Journal Entry: October 14, 2012 – Gran Bahia Coba
I’m catching up here at the Cancun airport. The last 6 days have been filled with swimming at Coba beach and the pool. We had lunch twice at Akumal before our Caribbean swims – I’m so glad to have had the experience of swimming with the beautiful tropical fish. They are so gentle and relaxing to be with. I want to remember the smell of honey from the bushes at the Akumal property along the shoreline and that glorious first look at the Caribbean sea as we jumped off the shuttle.
We booked two more a la carte meals this past week – both meals were delicious, I tried sea bass for the first time and enjoyed it! My impression of Coba will always be green, it felt like we were staying on a nature reserve.