I always have an urgent need to go for a walk when there’s a hurricane or, for today, the side-end of Hurricane Arthur. There is such urgency to the movement of the trees in the wind that calls me outside that I simply must go.
The flow of energy is all around me, at times gentle in its movement through the birch leaves, and sometimes powerful and frightening as a gust of wind swoops across the forest just as I enter a grove of oaks and maples. My mind follows the wind in a free fall kind of a way and these are the realisations I arrive at:• When I hide from the high winds that present themselves in my life I may feel safe but I will become weak. The buffeting I take from challenges I don’t always want keep me in the game: my mind and my psyche remain agile and alert.
• When I stand too tall without being properly anchored I will not withstand the powerful winds that blow at the top. Trees regularly topple in high winds. The grass and buttercups don’t. Humility is something to work on.
• The lashing tree branches and the crashing waves enthral and scare me. I avoid standing on the downwind side of the suffering trees. In the face of the danger I notice small things acutely. Tiny exquisite flowers are engaged in their own survival struggle against the wind, along paths I walk every day. I can’t stop the hurricane but I can stop to love the flowers at my feet and wonder at their beauty and purpose. I have a daily gratitude ritual that I do. It may almost be characterised as a prayer except that I’m not a practitioner of any religion. I reflect on things in my life, every night, for which I’m grateful. Sometimes there are great big new things. I find it amazing how being grateful for a comfortable bed and a soft duvet and the presence of my children in my life can shut down that part of my head that insists on worrying about the stuff that’s out of my control.
I am grateful that I’ve been able to witness the power of this natural force and been stimulated to reflect on more abstract things. I am equally grateful that I have not suffered loss through its presence.
© Delphine du Toit July 5 2014