It’s enclosing. Cocooning. Shrouded in mist, the dark landscape seems to envelop everything under a thick, dank blanket. It feels like coming home.
The rain lashes and thrashes through the landscape. Sheets slash through trees, torrents tear at leaves. It’s aggressive, violent even. There’s something biblical in this fierce weather – do we need such a heavy reminder of our own small and uncertain lives in a hostile world, or to know that what flows torrential, steady, unbidden, flows and then stills within us too.
Silence and stillness are held hostage to the squalls but they’re still there, quietly underneath the din, whispering softly within the gusts. I’m either trapped or cocooned within my ‘prison cell’ room, frightened and vulnerable, or safe and dry – a sad silk moth with clipped wings or a butterfly just waiting for the sunshine and light to fly.
When the rain is this heavy it sounds solid, not like water at all, but like the roof, the walls, the sky itself is caving in. We’re 900 metres above sea-level and it feels like the cracks from the heavens opening up could swallow us whole.
But in the spaces between the downpours, in the minute pauses in the midst of all that gushing and clamouring, the trickles become audible again and you can listen for a single drop in the space of a heartbeat. You can hear nothing at all if you listen hard enough.
And then the wild weather is at it again, like some crazy woman.
But it doesn’t matter to me because there’s warmth to be found in the flow of words, even in the wet and cold.
The dawn is daring to break through the heavy weather, an anaemic sun at least still alive in the insipid, grey light. A single bird’s twitter sounds hopeful and yet certain of a new day. Surely it must be sick of the constant drubbing of rain, of buffeting its feathers against the deluge, of seeking shelter under drenched branches and still feeling wet and cold to the bone. Yet it feels enough cheer for song, even as the rain continues relentless.
We see weather as an inconvenience, causing plans to change, causing accidents because we never know how to drive in such wet, yet choose to drive anyway. We should be retreating into our warm, dry cocoons instead of seeking to conquer the weather as though we could or should the world. We complain that today is not a day when we can fly, instead of preparing for the possibility of flying someday. We cancel plans, cursed, instead of feeling ourselves blessed with the chance to stay close, to stay in. We want to venture outdoors, when we should be content going within. We seek the world outside when it is already inside us.
Mother Nature can be a bitch (there you go fellow Mums – if Mother Nature herself gets the cranks – sometimes BIG time – then that surely justifies our mere mortal mother frustrations). Today though She has the weather just perfect in my opinion. Perfect for a yoga retreat, particularly one marking the start of winter in the mountains. Perfect for wholesome vegetarian food and warming cups of tea by the fire. Perfect for yin yoga and mediation and the soothing, healing sounds being exquisitely coaxed from crystal bowls – their vibrations reaching deep into the soul, so that all other sound is drowned out and the only echo is the sound of silence. It’s called a sound bath and you are literally cleansed by the soulful sounds and left feeling relaxed and dreamy.
I feel guilty that while the wild weather rages, disrupts and damages, I get to feel so relaxed and dreamy. But I only feel a little guilty (and I suspect Mother Nature doesn’t feel Mother Guilt at all). Mostly I just feel grateful.
The sun comes out for us on the last day of the retreat and it feels like a fitting end. It’s only when I return to ‘civilisation’ that I realise that Mother Nature looks like she’s pretty darn mad with New South Wales and Tasmania. Yep, She can be a bitch. And I feel guilty writing this in light of the storm devastation.
Mother Nature bids us to wind down in winter, just as She bids us to speed up in summer. She calls for growth in Spring, release in Autumn. In our fast-paced modern world we can lose touch with the cycles of the seasons, the cycles of the moon, the innate knowledge we have within us that allows us to tune into time and tide, harmonising rather than clashing with nature. Harmonising with the flow of life itself. Our modern, materialistic lifestyle distances us from the very nature we are part of.
If we are to go deep into reYINvention, then we need to see nature as our friend, our Mother (even when She seems to have a bad case of PMS or is all moody pre-menopausal). We need to learn from nature, live by Her rhythms, spend time enjoying nature and just ‘being’ and understand how She ultimately creates anew, again and again, even after She destroys the old.