I am visiting my friends' campground in Mt. Storm, West Virginia. Abram's Creek is a beautiful place with clean air and clean water. There is beauty everywhere.
The campground consists of a large lodge (9 bedrooms), two guest houses, 18 cabins, and numerous sites for RV's and tents. Running right through the heart of it is beautiful, lush, racing Abram's creek. Set in the middle of a boulder field from the last ice age, the creek is cold and full of giant rocks. It's white water, but very shallow white water. There are swimming holes and waterfalls - but it's still too cold here to swim.
Although I live in the country in Pennsylvania full-time, I live in a small village where the houses are pretty close together. Everyone has a yard, but you can yell to your neighbor four houses up and they can hear you. So, to be out in the real wilderness again is bracing, amazing, and lonely.
My second day here, my friend Sarah took me on a tour of the campground. We saw beauty wherever we looked. I took pictures with my cell phone, which doesn't get any signal here. It's kind of nice to walk around and see everyone, including me, without their phone plastered to their head 24/7.
My friends just bought an old motel five minutes down the road from the campground. It's a fixer-upper. They've already had to replace the plumbing, repair the septic system, and install satellite tv and phones. This is the new project, and I'm trying to help out by researching what websites they are and aren't on. My friend in Arlington is helping with that, too. Here's a picture of him from a few years ago in the summer.
The creek runs right past my window at night. I have been sleeping incredibly well. The sound relaxes me and almost hypnotizes me. I haven't stayed this close to water since the last time I lived on the beach in the Bahamas. Water is life. I am so thankful for all the water on this planet. I fear that radiation and mining and fracking are going to ruin it and kill us all.
I've always known that Nature is magical. I grew up across the street from a cow and horse pasture. I ran around those woods almost every day of my childhood, with my friends along, or by myself. When I used to get upset when I was small, I would crawl under the barbed wire fence surrounding the cow pasture, climb up the hill and lay down on the ground and let the earth heal me. I've never forgotten that
So, I am de-stressed. Last night I slept nine hours and woke up refreshed. I sat down to meditate. My new meditation teacher taught me a very simple technique which is just following the breath. That's all. No Mantra, no trying to still ones thoughts. I have been doing Mantra meditation for decades, so this new way is a revelation for me. Sometimes I can hear my own heart beating from the inside while I meditate this way.
Coupled with this simpler form of meditation is an evolution (or revolution) of my sense of what God(ess) is or insn't. First of all, I realized that I don't, and maybe can't, know what the unifying power of the universe is. I have let go of forms - religions, Gods, Goddesses, Avatars, Saints, and stories. Now, I am much closer to a Buddhist form of Christianity - the kind where Christ said 'Heaven is within you," and really meant it. The one where Jesus really did not discriminate against women or foreigners. So, now I endeavor to do good, and not to do bad, as my favorite Brazilian hymn/fado says, while attempting to get to know this Heaven inside of me.
So, while I was meditating this morning, I thought about all the beauty I had seen in nature for days here at Abram's Creek. I thought about the creek itself, the rocks, the ferns, the flowers, the turkey vultures, the fungus, the robins, the chipmunk holes in the ground, and even about the giant yellow insect on a dark purple iris that may have been a spider or may have been a tick. Whatever it was, even if a tick, it was beautiful.
I thought, "Whatever this Spirit within me is, everything in the natural world is beautiful. So, God(ess) must be beautiful, and respect beauty." This was on a very deep level inside of me.
(picture from last fall)
Then I thought that, as a natural creature of the beautiful earth, I must be beautiful, too. Not beautiful in the sexual attractiveness way, but in the way of being a colorful, symmetric, purposeful earthly creation - filled with this spirit of beauty. I have a lot of body issues, and eating issues, etc. etc., and these simple thoughts flowed through me while the roaring creek flowed past my window, and landed somewhere they fit and they belong inside of my being.
These are the gifts of nature, of the earth, of beauty, and of solitude. These are the gifts of life.
I wish you a good day and your own thoughts of beauty from beautiful Abram's Creek.