John O’Donohue, in his beautiful book, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong, speaks of the “longing of the Earth.” He says, “The stillness of the stone is pure, but it also means that it can never move one inch (…) it enjoys absolute belonging.” Further, he writes “Think of your self and feel how you belong so deeply to the earth and how you are a tower of longing in which nature rises up and comes to voice.”
Yesterday, standing beneath the giant boulders of Joshua Tree National Forest, I could not help but feel I was a part of this ancient labor sculpted by wind and time. I am a grain of sand, yet feel completely at home here. O’Dononue says “Stone is the tabernacle of memory. Until we allow some of Nature’s stillness to reclaim us, we will remain victims of the instant and never enter the heritage of our ancient belonging.”
Time spent in untouched nature is wholly restorative. Tranquility returns. We become one with it, even if only for an instant. But in that moment clarity arrives, sweeping away all the clutter of the mind, shushing the mental chatter, slowing the breath perhaps even to the point where God’s whisper might be heard. Where ever it is in nature that your primal sense of belonging emerges, be it a forest, a mountaintop, the ocean, or a pristine lake, in the desert, or a canyon, go there and be reclaimed.