Nature's Embrace

A Collection of Short Stories of Encountering the Divine in Everyday Life!



Once upon a time, I was a child immersed in a world of magic and awe. Life was a blast, all the plants, trees and animals around me were my friends. I'd jump out of bed every morning, ready and eager to discover the day's surprises. 

You know the story. As I got older, I learnt how important it was to look good. And being playful definitely didn't look good. So I put aside my 'childish' nature, hid my love of games, of flowers, of talking with the wind and trees. Just as my own son at the tender young age of six asked me not to hug him in front of the school bus, so I in my own youth hid my joys and affections.

I took my cues from the men around me. I acted tough, walked stiff as a board, learned to look aloof and uncaring. I began to mistrust and then fear my feelings, afraid they'd pop out and shame me, like the time in 4th grade when I lost a fight with the new kid in town. I didn't shed a tear until I got home and my older brother asked me what was wrong. Shame burned hot in my face as tears and sobs exploded from me. Damn, I just wasn't tough enough. Not yet.

From what I could see, it was the route of all boys. We modeled war heroes and stuffed everything else. Over time, I forgot my love of nature and the joy it brought me.

I studied hard, learnt that science had an explanation for everything. I lived in a flux of electrons that were empty and without life. The cool rush of the wind was a bunch of hot air molecules hurrying to meet a bunch of cold air molecules somewhere else. Nature, once the caretaker of my own soul, had become a chemical reaction we manipulate to serve our will.

It was a world view that left me empty. I was rich in knowledge, but dry in spirit. My heart was heavy. And so I searched, as we all have, down different paths in pursuit of something meaningful. I learnt many great practices, tools to bring peace, happiness, fame and fortune. They were all strategies, ways to chase pleasure and avoid pain, the pain of my own broken heart.

And always, unknowingly, when I was at wit's end, when I was dry and empty, when I was so overcome with grief each breath was a struggle, it was to nature I'd go. It was in the woods, the hills and the meadows I'd collapse, throwing up my arms in defeat, abandoning my struggles. Here I'd find the peace I so desperately sought.

Slowly, over time, I've pulled together the pieces of my childhood. Like an old treasure map, I've followed it to the buried treasure; the beauty and simplicity of my youth. 

For me, it's simple. When I'm outdoors, I'm in my lover's arms. Through the presence of the sun, water, earth and wind, I feel the greatness of our creation. Here I'm alive, vibrantly and vitally part of the whole.

To stay here, I've had to confront the bogeymen of my past, the guardians I put in place to make sure I'd never return, lest I erupt into another blabbering burst of tears. It's taken me awhile, for to build a life of directness to what I love, I've had to face these fears, feel them moving within me. And while I've made it into a lot of struggle, truly, I had no choice. It was a matter of life or death.

Thankfully, gratefully, through this willingness, I've found an incredible grace. Nature never left. She's right here, ever present, ever ready. I'm once again completely blown away by the incredible beauty of flowers, am moved by the loving touch of the wind upon my face. 

These stories tell of my journey back to life. They share how my understanding of self, of the world and of the Divine has been shaken, rattled, reborn. 

It brings me great joy to share this book with you. Just as a well aimed breeze blows away the dead ash from smoldering coals, bringing forth fresh fire and flame, the Divine in her infinite ways has re-ignited the fire within my own heart. It is my wish that these stories help do the same for you.

Bon Voyage!

Go to Nature's Embrace - Table of Contents


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