When I went to France last Summer in August, one of the items on our itinerary was hiking in the St. Maximim forest which is near the Sainte-Baume mountains (a basilica dedicated to Mary Magdalene is there). Our task was to commune with nature on our own and share our experience with the group afterwards.
Although it was hot and humid, I was happy I brought along a hooded sweater to cover myself from being bit from insects. Oh boy, were they swarming around.
One by one, we each went off the beaten path alone. As I was trekking through the ancient trees and worn away stones I found an old tree lying on the ground, with its rugged bark that perhaps bore witness to years of solitude, joy, and pain of our beautiful planet. Brushing away cold earth and leaves from the tree, I sat on it. My hands felt the rough and coarse bark, like the thick lines and wrinkles of father time.
Each tree was majestic in size, each taller and grander than the next, reaching towards the sky. I smelled the moisture in the air. I heard the leaves crackling under my feet. I made sure I didn’t disturb the earth much, since many crawling insects, centipedes, ants, worms, etc. were around and I felt I was intruding on their turf.
As I looked around, I let out a huge sigh. I felt at peace surrounded by large trees, shrubs and wood plants, boulders, different species of insects and butterflies, all of which they call home. Light danced off the rocks.
With my eyes closed, I listened to the beautiful symphony of the forest creatures, the birds singing their tunes. I smelled the natural scent of the earth beneath me. I embraced the moment and felt my senses expand. The suns’ rays were on my face; feeling it’s warmth I smiled wide.
I felt small in comparison to all that was around. All of nature was much alive and felt they were communicating.
Before I headed out to meet the others for lunch, I stopped at the entrance/exit and snapped a selfie (without my hooded sweater 🙂 ). I was humbled by the experience.