Some years ago, in my twenties, I found myself standing at the edge of a huge lake in the heart of the Swedish countryside. It was early in the morning and I had wandered down barefoot from the country house where I was staying with my family on holiday.
China cups and plates were quietly tinkling in the background as I left the wooden veranda door swinging behind me, my Mother preparing coffee and breakfast.
As I reached the shore, the birds were singing in the trees around me and our small rowing boat was bobbing in the water by the weathered jetty. There was such stillness. I looked out on the beautiful morning vista – the lake was vast and magnificent. Calm and inviting.
I was a tiny dot in the presence of such greatness. A tiny life. Who had come to these shores before me? I wondered. In the years gone by? Days and lives now turned to dust. This lake had known a million trillion heartbeats before mine. Friends, families and lovers.
For centuries this lake had been welcoming the changing seasons, weathering the storms and witnessing great beauty. Yet she had remained constant, stoic.
I stood very still and opened my heart and soul to her power. Back at home in London, my life was in perpetual turmoil as I attempted to navigate young adulthood. I was striving to achieve so much. And I always wanted more. My new career was demanding and challenging and the real world filled me with anxiety.
This lake, I thought to myself, was here when I was crying myself to sleep last week. And when I struggled to get out of bed the next morning, for the fear of being swallowed up by the darkness. She has always been here, riding out the storms. And she will be here tomorrow. And the day after that. She will be here when my children are born. She will be here when I am somewhere else, perhaps at my happiest and perhaps at my saddest. She is true greatness.
And in that moment I gave myself to the lake’s greater power and felt the wilderness of that summer’s morning embrace me. Eventually my Mother called me back for breakfast and as I walked up to the house I felt happier and stronger than ever before.
I often think of this lake and her constant strength and stillness. She taught me how to seek solace from the restorative power of nature and it is something that I will always be grateful for.
When I am outside in the wild I will often place my hands on the rugged textures of nature… to draw strength, to feel at home, to hear my heart beat and to feel alive. Since the morning at the lake I have had two children and it is something I am looking forward to teaching them too.
Try it 🌿