When I was blessed to take a naturalist training course called Kamana a decade or so back, the cornerstone of that event was visiting my “sacred spot” every day for a year. What I learned and saw over that year was amazing, and a strong testament to the folks who put together Kamana.
In the ensuing years, I have not made it to my sacred spot anywhere nearly every day, or even every week. Too bad, because when I return to my spot (a different spot today than in earlier years, since I now live about 20 miles away) I invariably move quickly and directly into a place of calmness, centeredness and serenity.
We got blasted with a bit of an old fashioned snowfall these last couple of days, and it presented itself as a great opportunity for me to get some exercise, be outdoors and strap on my snowshoes for the first time this year. Nell and I set out for the woods in back, no real destination in mind. This snow is so wet and heavy, it is some of the most difficult snow I’ve snowshoed in ever! And poor Nell: snow up to her chest, tongue hanging out, eager to trek and explore regardless.
I found myself pulled to the lone Norway spruce tree in the center of these woods that marks my sacred spot. The temperature had risen just enough to begin the snow melting on the tree branches, and Nell and I were constantly ducking snowballs falling from limbs all over the woods. When I stepped under the spruce tree, the lowest limbs, normally well out of my reach as a result of past pruning, were all bowed down low, creating a mini cathedral of silence and white beauty.
I keep a simple wooden stool at my sacred spot, but it was nowhere to be found, buried somewhere nearby in the depths of the mounds of snow. I stood with my back to the tree, offering tobacco to Great Spirit and the spirits of All My Relations, as I moved quickly into that place of connection and letting go. My breathing slowed, my awareness grew, and for a few brief moments, I was in that groove that I so enjoy and find myself seeking when in the actions of my day to day world. Quiet except for the panting of Nell, I was keenly aware of the gift that I was being offered. Every few seconds, great handfuls of the heavy, wet snow would fall off of a spruce branch, making hardly a sound, allowing the branch to spring upwards with sudden, newfound energy, taking it skyward. No other sounds, no movement of life as we so often define it. Yet, the woods were alive with the resultant actions of the thuderbeings in the form of this recent heavy snow. And one man and a dog found a few moments of connection and serenity amidst days that are all too fully scheduled.