I finally got a chance to take a long walk down into the valley behind our house. It’s private land which only a handful of people have access to and I was looking forward to see what it would look like down there with minimum human impact. Once down at creek level I was not surprised to see the trail I was following turn into a narrow game trail. What I was surprised to see was how quickly the trail disintegrated became choked and, at times, a narrow tunnel through high brambles. It was obvious no one had been on these trails in at least a year, possibly longer. Fortunately, I knew how to recognize even faint game trails so I did what I could to stick to them. Several times I had to crawl through on hands and knees gathering thorn scratches along the way. Every time I came out the other side, it was worth it. Several small meadows, groves of sycamore trees or a new, delightful bend in the creek greeted me every time I stood back up to take in my surroundings.
I equate the energetic and spiritual health of an environment by it’s wildlife. Flocks of chickadee, titmice, robins and cardinals were everywhere. Tracks of deer, raccoon, and other game animals dominated the muddy creekside areas. As another note, the songbirds had no fear of me. Several flew within only a few feet of me and landed, inspecting me and then either hanging around or flying off. I even thought one was going to land on my staff as he flew right up to me, hovered and then banked away.
The land opened up a bit as I moved down the valley. giving me easier walking and turned into what must have been an old road from the 30’s, 40’s or earlier. It was a expanse perhaps 30 feet wide or so, flat. A long narrow meadow dominated with grasses, a few late blooming wildflowers and tall weeds reaching for the blue sky. I finally stopped when I came across an old treefall which literally blocked my path across the old road. I felt an energetic barrier there and something which said, “You’ve come far enough for now.”
I stopped and gave my respect to the directions, gave my gratitude for being allowed into this place and getting the chance for it become part of my life. As I paid my respect to the directions the still air began to move and my favorite sign, a telltale fast breeze, quickly played over the area. I settled myself and grounded. Settling into place in nature is something I explain as “settling into the water.” For me, it feels like slowly settling into warm water with a grounding weight on your feet and with none of that pesky drowning stimulus. It’s a decent explanation of the feeling of sinking into the natural energy of a place. I can feel the energy ripples, once unsettled by my arrival and presence, slowly settle back to normal around me and eventually up and over me. If I sit perfectly still, I’m forgotten about and Nature goes back to her business. I did this at the treefall and information began to come in.
I had been told that spirits of older settlers still wandered this valley. I reached out and felt that, indeed, this is the case. They were quite few but I could sense them, like faded small blips on a radar screen. What became more apparent was that this valley was incredibly active on a spiritual level. Elementals seemed everywhere and they also appeared to care very little about my presence. I asked if I could dowse their exact locations or there center areas and was told a gently but firm, “No. Not now. Too early.” They made it quite clear that although welcome I was still a new visitor. Exploration was fine. Prodding about the place too directly was not. For example, if upon being invited into a neighbor’s house would you suddenly go prodding about their bedrooms and closets?
I was quite content to simply sit there and soak it all in. I’m not sure how long I was there but when I was done, I was done. I just knew it was time to go back home. I walked and crawled back up the valley, pulling burs out of my clothes and thorns out of my muddy hands. Once up the steep ridge-side and cursing my lack of endurance training, I walked into my back yard and towards my back porch. I was tired but I was happy, deeply happy. I had one final surprise waiting as I climbed up the stairs to the back of the house.
A male wren landed next to me, hopped once and flew away.
When I try to explain what magic is to me, I have to explain moments like this one. They are not simply one off events or miracles. I could have started this whole post with, “I saw a male wren today,” but it would not have the same effect. It is a slow accumulation of information and data which can stretch out over years. An accumulation which is suddenly punctuated by an event that marks the whole arc like an exclamation point.
It is a communication and a connection to something larger to you, to something that does not speak in words and phrases but in a more subtle and deep language. It speaks in the appearance of a bird or a cloud or a leaf or a bug. One simple thing happens and it feels like a pat on a back, a handshake or simply being pointed towards a guidepost along your path.
For me, the wren was an assurance, an answer and an embrace all rolled into one.