Dear Friend in Peace,
Not having led a silent hike for several years, I sought comfort in being super prepared and recalling the lusciousness of previous treks in which we benefitted from human silence. There were many details to consider so I was grateful the hike was under the auspices of The Nature Conservancy. Their Volunteer and Outreach Specialist, Ginny Hamilton, handled the details magnificently. I was, in essence, a guide and cheerleader for our three hours of connecting with Mother Earth and all of her children at Tiger Creek Preserve.
No one else in our group of 8 had ever walked with others in complete quietness so there was uncertainty and tension floating amongst us, some of which dissipated after each person was given a wee notebook and pencil in which to ask and answer questions. We set off down a sandy path spotted with lovely fall flowers of white, yellow, and purple peaking at us through beautiful, tall brown grasses. Everyone was polite, questions were written and answered, there was silence. We were individuals walking together observing natural splendor in stillness.
Ginny identified a variety of plants by writing down the name of whatever it was or pointing to the page in the wee books Julia had painstakingly created for us. These books showed a photo of and information about several plants which were in bloom at that time. Every detail was going according to plan, but something was missing, something was off.
I worked my way to the front of the group. There was something wrong; that was clear. We were just walking; we had not connected with all the beings surrounding us. Now at the front of the group, I heard what I call the “Voice,” an inner knowing that speaks aloud in my mind. It said for me to stop, stand still. I did. Others did as well. We stood and then my heart called out as I pointed to the sky. A Bald Eagle was flying overhead. As we stood there, we began to see more and more eagles. We joined in collective wonderment. No longer individuals walking in a group, we were a community dedicated to savoring the awe, the blessings, the glory of Mother Nature in all her myriad expressions. We were connected through energetic bonds of silence, admiration, respect, and joy.