I was perpetually fascinated by the plethora of life that called the forest home. I was intrigued by the vast variety of fungi growing on fallen trees and stumps that told stories of once far reaching limbs. At the bottom of the ravine the low waters sat in near stillness, but I could sense fluidity all around me. In these days of late fall when the weather should have been colder, mosses and new grasses were growing amidst the fallen leaves that had decorated the tall maples and now littered the forest floor in a soft decay of orange and brown. Unchanged, the pines stood proudly in the autumnal warmth. It’s as though the forest was offering support and wisdom on our journey. We all would pause at times and look upon these trees with such deep reverence and appreciation. I started to see the other women as much a part of the scene as those permanent fixtures of rocks and trees, but like the breeze they were destined to come and go. Like so many others, some of which are so sacred to me, they walked these paths in contemplation of the nature both surrounding and within. In the deep peace of the woods, there was a certain sense of vitality steeped all around. All the life seemed to indulge in the richness of this sweet land; the good vibrations nourishing the elements of nature residing there.

There was a wall when I went to Rishikesh a few years back that called me to it over and over. “THE HOLY LAND IS EVERYWHERE” was spray painted on it, and it was a very potent reminder of the sacredness all around. Like it’s written on that wall half a planet away, I felt the essence of that message in my awakened perception. Should I only choose to see it as such, the holy land truly permeates all existence, including ourselves. One day all of this beauty will cease, and as the warm days fade and the snow will fall, we will find ourselves seeking the refuge and comfort of our meditation cushions inside the warmth of four walls. The holy land is transient according to our perspective, but in such attentive awareness perhaps we may observe the ever inspiring sensation of what nature holds as lessons about ourselves. Our bodies contain that charisma of the holy land; the beauty of the woods and waters; the incessant impermanence. When does the sacred become so profane that we see it for less than it is? The same elemental reality is contained within all creation.

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