"I love people. That may seem to be an unsurprising statement, but for this introvert, it's a new realization. Perhaps more surprising is that I came to this realization in the woods.
I was still somewhat new at guiding forest immersions when I had the pleasure of guiding two women from Boston. The young woman and her aunt had limited access to Nature. On this particular day at Manitou, there were quite a few toads out and about. When the young woman spotted one, she gleefully exclaimed, “I’m never the first one to see things!” I smiled inside and out as the women eased deeper and deeper into peaceful connection with the forest beings—toads, spiders, and all.
Towards the end of our forest immersion, I invited them to sit with a rock and listen for any stories it may have to tell from its millennia of existence. After we finished the sit spot, we shared what came up for us. I listened to these two generations of black women share their stories—unique, profound and beautiful lessons they heard from the stones of the empty stream bed. It was a simple moment, easily taken for granted for those of us privileged with ready access to woodlands. I realized in that moment that as a guide I get to see people at their best—when they have returned to their home in Nature. And this is how I came to love people."
These are the steps up and across the ledge
"Stone on the land for me is personal. When I’m disconnected from what grounds and nourishes me, it’s not long before the forest beckons. There my old friends greet me, even those I don’t recognize, calling out for their part in a cairn or stone steps. Sometimes we just sit together quietly.
Since ‘Stone’ is not a language commonly known or practiced, it’s usually just them and me together. But the other day, my sister Beck joins me in a step-building project up and across a steep ledge. She’s no stranger to full engagement in such an enterprise, so part of me knows not to be surprised when each time I call out for a very specific stone profile, she delivers pronto. She hears the response from below moss, leaves and dirt: “Pick me!” Each time she nails it, my giddy expectancy for what might come next increases. I’d felt this synergy before, with the one person who knew this land and its beings like no other. Basking in our delight on the land together is our mother and Manitou mother Pam, love and life force flowing through to us and this place of magic."