Like most highly sensitive people who are introverts, I find peace in the beauty of nature. But for a long time, I was so busy being successful in Atlanta that I didn’t know I loved nature so much. In my late thirties, I met a spiritual teacher who took us out into the woods for weekend retreats. It was there that I began to discover a deep connection with the Earth. This is the story of my awakening.
My fiance’ and I began searching for our perfect land on which to build a home in the North Georgia mountains. We visualized the characteristics we both wanted. Lots of nurturing trees. An open meadow. Rolling hills. Swift frothy water. Powerful huge rocks and lots of acreage for privacy. Then we looked at properties, refining our vision with each visit.
One cool January day, we met our new friend: 90 acres of secluded, undeveloped land in Clarkesville, Georgia. As I walked along the stream lined with rhododendrons, I knew within minutes that this was it. My partner agreed.
A winding, rushing stream with small rapids, gurgled with chatter and laughter. Grand old gnarly rhododendrons and mountain laurel designed their own natural park. Towering pines and strong hardwoods rolled across the hills. This was to be our private, peaceful haven.
After a brief discussion, we agreed on the purchase of the land. It was the first time I had been part of owning such a large piece of land that was so beautiful and majestic. I felt so close to the earth. It was ‘mine’, like a new kitten is mine.
In the days to come, I spent hours and hours walking along the stream. I couldn’t get enough of its beauty and peace and frothy energy. The trees became my beloved friends and the hills and rocks and flowers spoke to my heart in waves of tenderness.
I was there when Spring began to awaken new life. Tiny wild orchids peeped up through the ground. Soft pink blossoms of Mountain Laurel filled the air with fragrance. Dogwoods laced the forest with their delicate white snow.
The Land drew me back again and again from my fast-paced career in the city where I had a tendency to be a workaholic. I walked in quiet joy through the woods.
One afternoon, while sitting at the side of a hill covered with tall, tall pines, I gazed down on my friend, the stream. My first tears of love for Nature rolled down my cheeks. I loved the Earth so much! My heart welled up so big with the feeling of appreciation. My tears released what my heart could not hold. I was in love in a way I had never known.
And then it all changed.
Three months after purchasing the land, my partner and I decided to move to Washington state. I felt so torn about leaving. I recall the night I stopped my busy schedule long enough to feel my emotions. I lay alone in my bed, and said good-bye to my love, the Land. I hurt so much. My heart tore wide open with cries of anguish. Rivers of tears could not wash away the pain. I loved the land! The trees, the earth, the stream, the flowers had become my friends! How could I leave them? My soul was so deeply touched by our love affair. This awakening in my heart was so precious to me.
That night seemed like an eternity of tears. For so long I had been preoccupied with being busy and successful that I had no idea this kind of love was waiting for me, just waiting for me to say “yes.”
I write to you, my friend:
My love, my life, my teacher, my friend,
I will carry you with me always.
Thank you for awakening my heart.
Thank you for your unconditional love,
Thank you for your gentleness and purity.
I love you.
Softly, a murmur replied,
“I love you, too, Benita.”
Facilitator: Benita A. Esposito is a spiritual counselor with four decades of professional experience.
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Copyright 1989. Benita A. Esposito, MA