Contemplative Walking

Walking is difficult for me in the summer, when my feet and ankles swell in the heat and humidity.  Cooler temperatures are finally arriving, along with bright, blustery days, and I am happily reviving my contemplative walks.  I have always enjoyed these, since my youth, but only now have the proper name for them.  The trees and the skies are captivating now- great piles of flowing forms one minute, and a greyish blanket the next, the sky’s clouds have been a panoramic feast these past days.  Now deep leaden rain clouds have moved in, and the rain is falling tonight as I write.

This morning’s walk was graced by geese- wave after wave of them, emerging from the southern sky, flying north and west, and circling round again, training for the great journey to come.  Their calls are the soundtrack of October.  This soundtrack is punctuated by wild winds blowing bright leaves from the trees which have felt the coolness in the nights, and put on their rosy shades.  A dramatic sun-cloud sky was filled with swirling cascades of leaves- such invigoration!

Hawthorn berries bright on trees also call to me- hawthorn being the faery tree, calling me to see the world around me through a faery-lens.  What I hear is treesong, sung through the leaves of the many trees around me- oak, maple, rowan, hawthorn, and others.  They sing their ‘swan songs,’ their seasonal finales, as they prepare to greet winter and its rest.

The trees remind me to release what I no longer need, what I do not wish to take with me as I wind down and turn inward, what I no longer wish to give energy to, as I conserve it to get through the winter.  I can think of a few things, and mull on releasing them, how that would feel, to let go of their energies.

Such walks give my mind and soul room to breathe, think, feel, and expand.  I remember to greet all these beings I meet, and share hospitality with them- which reminds me, I must be sure to carry the small bag of oats with me, so I’ll have something to offer to all these friends, in return for what they’ve offered me.  I fill my pockets with pine cones and acorns, and gather handfuls of fallen leaves.  At home I array them around a painting of the Daghda, where he is in his sidhe-mound beside his Cauldron of Undry, and surrounded by the Tuatha de Danann.  It is the Daghda’s harp which changes the seasons, and the Daghda to whom the Milesians, the first Gaels, agreed to remember the Aos Sidhe with gifts of corn and milk, to ensure the fertility of land and cattle.  Here I recall the seasons and the offerings, and light my candles with prayers of thanks.

Tomorrow I shall welcome back the rain with warm greetings.



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