You’re never really alone, you know, walking through the woods, even when you are alone. There is always an intelligence out there, and it’s more than just the plants and animals. Of course, the plants and animals have their own intelligence and their own ways, but there’s more to it out there than just the forest creatures. And it’s watching.
I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s benevolent. Nevertheless, it is not a pushover. It’s a curious presence that is very watchful and protective of its territory. When you walk through the woods, this presence knows that you are not a creature of the woods. It knows that you come from a place outside of its jurisdiction. The more of a city person you are, the more blatant the neon sign on your forehead says, “I am not a creature of the woods. I don’t belong here.” This is no disrespect to city dwellers. It is just something I have noticed myself when running into travelers in the woods. The sign is immediately evident.
|Can you see it?|
But in any event, the curious presence watches and follows at a kind and respectful distance. You can see the eyes if you look, as it shifts from this manifestation to that as quickly as a bird changes its song. Now it’s large boulder, then it’s a tree, and then it’s a stream. It passes through the landscape like an almost invisible cloud. Can you see it in this photo?
It asks, “Who are you? Why are you here? What do you want? What are you made of?” The longer you stay in the woods, the easier you can spot it. If you stay several nights without returning to town for any reason whatsoever, you begin to see it more and more. And then one day, if you stay for quite a while, you can feel it pass right through you now and then as it gently rolls on its way, having manifested in you for a few moments as it follows the latest pilgrim.
It’s a flash, an immediate “I am,” but you know it when it happens. When you see the pilgrim, you see a stranger traveling clumsily. Is he interested in his surroundings, drinking them in joyfully? Or is he chatting loudly with another person or on his cellphone, smashing through the underbrush as a bull in a china shop? Did he see the presence pass through you? Does he know he’s being watched? Take one look into his eyes, and you will know, because now your eyes have seen through the eyes of the presence.
It’s a curious presence that is very watchful and protective of its territory. Everything you do is recorded into an exquisite accounting system, and exactly what you put in is exactly what you will receive.