Eric’s birthday was quiet. Eating together, reading, snuggling. We were tired and still not feeling completely well. Sickness and germs and bad moods. Our bodies and our spirits needed simple family togetherness. As the sun was sinking low on the horizon, our feet found their way to the weathered wood of the board walk at Great Falls National Park. We, as a family, seem to crave nature during times of celebration or loss or transition or sickness. This day was so many of those things. A time to celebrate Eric’s birth and to be grateful for our life together. A time to release the past and embrace the future as our family continues to change and evolve. A time to nurture our bodies and reconnect with the power of nature. A day to be humble and to wonder.
We first discovered this magical place during these cold, windy winter months and our bodies keep bringing us back. A quiet ritual. We recognize the passage of time as the seasons change in this beautiful and familiar place. The colors were quiet and soft as the light faded from the day. Dark grays, rich browns and cool greens, all of them washed out, faded and cold. A calm, hushed palate of color surrounding us during this rest time for Earth’s growing things. During this time to revel in stillness. During this time to appreciate the silence and to anticipate the overflowing of nature’s coming bounty. Little signs of what is to come are everywhere if you look with open eyes and listen with open ears. The soft downy seeds of the cattails floating on the wind, seeking a bit of earth to take root in. The footprints of living things hiding, watching, resting. The distant calls of birds nestled safely away. Babies will be born, flowers will bloom and the sounds of the forest will erupt soon enough. In time, in time.
Before the sounds of the rushing Potomac river can even be heard with our ears, we can feel its fierce power vibrating through the earth with our feet. The wind begins to rush faster and a rumble begins to build with each step approaching the water. The usual and familiar chatter of our little people begins to quiet as we near the roaring water. Their eyes open wider and their fingers point here and there as the notice so many wonders. Birds of prey soaring on the wind, velvety moss creeping up every rock and branch, shells left marooned by long receded flood waters. We breath more deeply. We slow down. Yes, this is good. This is what we needed.