by Sandra Kynes
A number of years ago I made the standard New Year’s resolution that began with: “Jeez, I’d better do something to get in shape this year.” Of course, I didn’t actually begin anything for a few months and then I decided that a daily walk would suit me.
At first I ventured out at lunchtime which provided a nice break in the middle of a hectic work day. When summer arrived it became too hot to walk at noon and, for my co-worker’s sake, I didn’t want to smell like a locker room all afternoon. This prompted me to roll out of bed a little earlier in the mornings so I could walk before going to work. It was nice and simple: old clothes, no make-up and I could throw on a hat to hide my hair.
In the beginning it was good “alone” time for me. I would think about anything and everything – big issues and non-issues. Sometimes I’d sort out problems and other times I’d find a few new ones for myself. Because I don’t listen to music while walking, friends have asked, “Isn’t it boring?” Not at all because my thinking time gave way to quiet time, and then I began to observe my surroundings – I mean, really pay attention. That’s when my walks began to deepen my connection with the natural world. What better way to honor Mother Earth than to witness her cycles on a day-to-day basis?
I discovered that spring mornings are abuzz with birds and squirrels scouting for breakfast. And that it’s rather magical when a rabbit sits up to look at me as if to acknowledge a bond between creatures of the dawn. As Earth renews herself, the vitality of life is visible everywhere. One day a tree may be sporting only tiny buds and the next day it seems to have exploded into a verdant green sphere. The month of May brings the lilacs into bloom and my neighborhood becomes awash in a fragrance richer than anything Chanel can put in a bottle
Many summer mornings bring a fresh ocean breeze that ripples through gardens where abundant herbs and vegetables are a reminder of Gaia’s generous bounty. Autumn mornings are frequently softened by thick fog that rolls in from the harbor. The Celts considered a fog, the edge of a forest or a shoreline as betwixt and between places with the potential to reveal unseen realms. On these mornings the world seems cloaked in a sense of mystical wonder that even the crows honor with silence.
At this time of year Canada geese create a spectacle as they form V-shaped ranks in preparation for their journey southward. I am reminded of the ancient bird goddess figurines of southern Europe which were marked with Vs emphasizing the Mother Goddess’s role as life-giver and provider. It’s easy to understand this connection in the ancient mind – to them the V formation of geese and ducks indicated the direction of a water source and plentiful food. I sometimes pause to watch while I ponder my connection to very distant ancestors.
In winter when the trees are bare and the snow piled high the landscape is transformed into a place of stark beauty. In this hushed wonderland I can feel a fragile and ethereal magic surround me like frosty breath. Although footprints reveal signs of busy animal and bird life, the world seems suspended in time as seeds rest underground awaiting their turn to bring forth a new cycle
Sometimes the moon accompanies me on my morning rambles. Luna’s phases are more obvious than Gaia’s and serve to remind me of the phases of my own life. I have been maiden and I have been mother. Now at the threshold of a new phase, I hope to become a wise crone.
What started as a half-hearted resolution to get in shape has blossomed into a deeply meaningful practice for body, mind and spirit. My soul is more acutely in tune with the rhythm of natural cycles and I have a peaceful sense of my place in the greater spiral dance of life. On the rare days that a walk doesn’t fit my schedule I don’t feel guilty about the lack of a workout, but I do wonder what magic I may have missed that morning.
About Sandra Kynes:
Sandra Kynes describes herself as an explorer of Celtic history, myth and magic. Her curiosity has taken her to live in New York City, Europe, England and New England. Spiritually her inquisitiveness has led her to investigate the roots of her beliefs and to study ancient texts such as the “Mabinogion”. One thing she discovered about herself is that she tends to see the world a little differently than most people. She likes finding connections between things and creating new ways and methods for exploring the world, which has been the inspiration for many of her books. A life-long interest in archaeology was deepened during the time she lived in England. Tracking down remnants of stone circles and other ancient sites is a passion she pursues on return visits to the British Isles. Her 7th book with Llewellyn will be published in 2012. To learn more visit her website Celtic Soul and/or follow her on Facebook.