My cat and I just began a sojourn into the deep south; following the Appalachian trail and Underground Railroad routes to a land I have never traveled.
I contemplate the endurance and courage it took to be a runaway slave in this country at a time when humans were legally owned, exploited and traded like property.
I drove for hours and hours through a space where those seeking freedom walked for weeks and months through swamps, forests, and over mountains to safe houses along the way. People entrusting their lives to each other in the name of truth.
I reflect upon the places I am still held captive; to fears and attachment; to resistance and anger; to impatience and separation. This is my cage.
“We’re not just trying to run away from our suffering. We want to transform our own suffering and be free in order to help other people transform their suffering.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
I am in good company with the many who have spent extended experiences in the natural world seeking peace and freedom. The Appalachian trail connects Georgia to Maine, my homeland. I followed the mountains south to Culvers Gap in upper New Jersey. Molly and I crossed the Hudson and the Delaware Rivers to rest in the mountains. I smiled through the misty rain as my feet rested upon this trail that thousands have sought to find refuge from the world as they knew it. Molly seemed quite enthralled as well.
Hawks have been with me for longer than I can remember. They show up often when my eyes are high and I am paying attention, looking for messages from the natural world. They teach extending vision for our lives and moving towards our soul purpose more dynamically while still keeping our feet on the ground.
Thus ends this first day on this freedom quest. I landed in the heart of the civil war and tomorrow will discover what Gettysburg addresses.