Life lately has been rather overwhelming - so many responsibilities, so many worries and troubles and causes to fight for... all worthy, all necessary, but overwhelming nonetheless.
The stars aligned and I was able to escape it all for a weekend, completely alone, into the wild of Acadia National Park. There is an amazing bliss that falls over you as you walk alone through the woods. When all that stares out at you are trees and sunlight through dappled clouds, and all you breath in is pine and sea spray. It's worth it, even in negative temperatures. (and it was, for the whole trip, negative temperatures. this past weekend was one of the coldest this winter for Maine - lucky me!)
It's emotional too. When you're alone with your thoughts - and I mean really, really alone (no cell reception helps) - it's hard to ignore them. You think all the thoughts, feel all the emotion, and when you're alone in the woods you can cry and you don't have to explain it to anyone. You don't have to have conversations with strangers who wonder why tears are streaming down your face in a place so amazingly beautiful. You can simply let the tears come, feel the emotions, and work through them till you come out the other side, smiling and happy and lighter for it. You can hear the voices of your ancestors more clearly once you've worked through the emotions that were keeping their voices hidden. It's like taking the heavy blanket off the speaker - suddenly it's easier to hear everything, and it's not so painful.
I went through a lot of tissues.
Tears aren't the only thing that Acadia spurred in me though - it's a wonderful place with so many photographable views that it's impossible to say I've captured all there is to capture. I wouldn't want to either though, as I know I'll be going back many times, and the view will be different each time. New trees, new flowers, differences in the ocean... it's ever changing as much as it's the same. There are many places I wasn't able to go too, because the roads were impassable because of snow, ice, and downed trees.
There is a stillness that you find in the forest, and us witches know it well. We wrap it around ourselves like a cloak; the familiar weight of it is a balm to us. Acadia is no different. The stillness there is old and kind, wild and violent, quiet and calm. It is all things at once, but feels like home all the same.
It's easy to speak with the Goddess in a place like that, no wires or cars to break your concentration, no unnatural lights or doors or walls. One bare hand on the mossy forest floor, your eyes dancing over the landscape, the scent of the ocean deep in your lungs, your other bare hand on the heat of a rock in the sun... it's so easy to find the elements there, all together in perfect harmony. The Circle came like breathing and the Gods came naturally, and spoke with clarity. There were no obstacles.
It was pure and beautiful. I felt whole in that moment, and connected to everything, everywhere.
I don't think my experience will be the same in July when my family comes with me. They're wonderful, and I cannot wait to show them the wealth of treasures I found in the park, but it will be summer - the busiest time for the park - and we will not be alone. The park will be full of people, full of activity and movement and breathing beings on two legs crashing through underbrush as they hike backcountry trails, scattering pebbles as they rush toward the ocean, chattering and clicking and talking and laughing and screaming in the spray of sunlight through the trees. The park will be happy then too, for it exists for those like them and those like us. It will not be sad that we're there again, unable to find the stillness like before. And I won't be sad either. I'll be one of the clicking, chattering, laughing beings on two legs, holding saplings aside for my young niece and nephew so they can see the fresh moss, helping them down the rocks to gain a chance to be sprayed with saltwater.
That will be a blessing too. To see the marvel on their faces as they see the ocean without smog or filter - to stand at the edge of the rocks and have nothing between them and the horizon but air.
It is all a blessing, and I carry it with me.
So may it be for you.