He Dared to Call it She
Did you do it as a child? Lie down in a field, look up? Did you watch the clouds— see now a dragon eating a fairy... see the fairy morph into a boat sailing away from fire? Did you let nature show itself, name itself, speak?
During a year of daily outdoor solitude, I saw the world with childlike openness. The hemlocks were Rip Van Winkle, sleeping. The pine a manly tree of life and then a mother's lap. A bush, leaning with crooked fingers seemed to be Grandmother. The squirrels were cowboy vigilantes.
I took this as imagination's fine work, based on deeper sensibilities that urged themselves upward— the way I suspect certain languages were formed, that assign gender to words (Why is a table feminine in Spanish, and why a painting? Why is money masculine and an eraser masculine too?)
Rereading May's The Wisdom of Wilderness: Experiencing the Healing Power of Nature, I noticed what I had not observed the first time around. May experienced nature as a She. I know he struggled with this at some level because he says...
I've thought about it a lot. I considered that the whole experience might be my own creation. It began in a midlife time when I had suffered losses and was under stress. Could my psyche be kicking up its Jungian heels and manufacturing a disembodied woman-sense to meet some unconscious need? I could never say for certain...
I'm guessing that some of us might struggle with May's experience too, particularly since he concurrently sensed the Divine in nature. I think May knows this. I think it's partly why he spends a moment trying to explain. But then he forgets about defense and simply shares his experience. He dares to name the She he senses... like a child, simply watching the clouds, letting them speak.
Sky photo by Sara. Used with permission.
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