Nature is always teaching me. When I pause amid my busy, crowded days and allow my contemplative spirit to settle into solitude and stillness, I am amazed at what I learn. Dreams waiting to be heard rise up in me as I keep company with Earth and her vast array of creatures and elements. They challenge me toward greater transformation, woo me toward deeper wisdom, and set my soul singing with the hope of fuller inner freedom.

[I began to jot down] little sketches of inspiration. While I observed birds, plants, animals, trees, insects, water, and other marvels of our planet, I experienced a sense of something present that was more than just an external awareness. Being with these simple gifts of creation in an attentive way drew me into a mystical world where words were sparse but wisdom was pervasive.

In pondering nature, I gradually moved from my small place of self into another world of existence. As I did so, I noticed a vital kinship stretching between this existence and mine. It eventually drew me back toward my life again. I saw how each bluebird, mushroom, and frog had a history, a "personality," and a pattern of growth. In seeing this, I was then led to find a connection with my own pattern of growth. I saw how parts of my inner story were reflected in nature: wildflowers swaying in the breeze and little birds winging their way in the wide sky drew me to recognize the caged places of my own spirit. The aged frame of an old tree beckoned to my ongoing struggle with aging and bodily demise. A brown, speckled sparrow sitting trustingly on a tiny twig taught me to have confidence in the fragments of my future until they were able to gather and take shape. A tall evergreen tree encouraged me to believe in my ability to endure.

Joyce Rupp in Rest Your Dreams On A Little Twig