Reflections on a Day of Wandering - June 2018

In June 2018 several men from the Southwestern Ohio Illuman Small Group participated in their second annual day of wandering at Caesar Creek Sate Park. The men in attendance were invited to contemplate the masculine side to what most people describe as "Mother Nature." What follows are the reflections of two men who participated in this event...

Caesar's Creek - A Day of Wandering

A Day of Wandering: Searching for Father Nature

by Mick Owens

Tom Sparough, Dan Vanoli and I gathered at 9 AM on Saturday, June 16 at Caesar’s Creek State Park. Tom’s son, Jes, would join us later. Sitting at a quiet picnic table, we checked in, then Tom provided us with a letter with suggestions to give us structure/ direction for the next 2 1/2 hours when we would wander alone, in silence. Of course, his suggestions were optional. Two significant themes were to be in this “sacred space, this sacred moment,” and “to look for attributes of masculinity reflected in nature.”

My initial response to Tom’s invitation was that I was too busy, too much “stuff” to attend to. It would be a waste of time. But another part of me pulled me to this time to “pause,” to just “be.” I am so grateful that I listened to the second voice. I am reminded of the line from The Little Prince, “It is the time you have wasted on your rose that makes your rose so important.”

For 2 1/2 hours I strolled along a shaded trail, sat down a few times on a welcoming log to write a few thoughts. To me, “wandering” implies an openness, a time of quiet awareness of surroundings, allowing distracting thoughts to come and go, but to embrace what captures the spirit.

During this time I felt an inner peace and joy that I so often lose in the busy-ness of daily routines. I held these feeling close to my heart as I wandered and as I journaled. Even weeks later I am able to revisit these moments.

I was amazed how quickly the 2 1/2 hours slipped by. At 12:00 we gathered back at a secluded picnic spot. We were delighted when Jes walked down a path to join us. Tom lit a charcoal fire and roasted some brats and mets and also proved some fruits and veggies. As we shared our food, we shared our thoughts and experiences, expanding and reinforcing our time alone. I discovered a deep gratitude for this time by myself, with Father Nature, and with my brothers Tom, Dan, and Jes.


Wandering June 23rd

by Dan Vanoli

There it was on the forest floor – a huge feather, an eagle’s, I think.  It was the kind proudly displayed in the headband of a young native American years ago as, perhaps, he explored this same forest.  I sat in that very spot and paid attention.  At first, I noticed the tall stately trees reaching skyward and providing a cool umbrella of shade.  Then I noticed my breath going deeper sucking in the sweet air of the forest.  I heard a symphony that the birds above struck up almost like an orchestra warming up.  First one distinct call like a clarinet, then an answer like an oboe, then another like a trumpet.  A woodpecker provided percussion on a nearby tree.  Call and response, call and response in endless praise and worship of Nature’s Creator who made it all possible. 

But the forest I sit in is small and the symphony I listen to has frequent intermissions: a passing car on a nearby highway, a motor boat roaring on a nearby lake, a small plane buzzing over the trees quiet the symphony until diminutive musicians regain their composure and resume their composition.  And I cannot help wonder if the forest and its creatures are the protagonist in this story, and those man-made interruptions are the pending omens of the inevitable approach of the antagonists.  And deep down do the forest creatures know that and fear for their home?  I am sorry for my ramblings; sometimes I think too much!