Where does a toddler trek in the forest? Off the beaten path! The adventurous spirit of a young child naturally tests limits . . . everyday and in every way! Nestled in the forest, he takes steps towards dense foliage where tangles of vines and low lying shrubs intermingle with ferns, mosses and trees of all shapes and sizes. The soil is barely visible underfoot with luscious green growth and tree debris everywhere. Every step is a mystery and has an element of unknown to it. But this has no impact on the toddler. He curiously treks forward, one little shoe at a time . . . akin to baby steps! The path is revealed moment by moment and the destination is a surprise to behold. How far will he venture? Where will he stop?
His pathless path eventually leads to a narrow secondary path where wild animals may have trekked before him. This path widens downhill towards a trickling creek which immediately captures his attention. He starts to walk downhill with increasing speed and in less than a minute, his feet are at the water’s edge. There is no foot bridge here except for one large rock situated mid-stream. The toddler’s legs are not long enough to stride across though and he is obviously not compelled to step into the water, so he stays put observing all that is around him.
Suddenly, a high pitched “Ehhhh!” erupts from the little boy as he joyfully waves his arm and points his finger at the dancing bubbles all around his feet. Like two old friends reuniting, the toddler and creek continue a conversation in delightfully spirited language! Soon birds join in, chirping and fluttering overhead. Then a little brown squirrel leaps into view as it squeaks and scampers up a tree to watch what is going on below him. All of this is magically enlivened with a soft breeze blowing aromatic forest scents throughout the area At that very moment, a precious and pure smile washes over the toddler’s face. His eyes sparkle, forehead glows and teeth gleam. His cheeks become full and round reflecting the luminous qualities of a new moon on a warm summer evening!
This paradise-like moment united all living things. The child’s spirit and natural energies of the forest became one. There was a glorious intrinsic beauty all around. There was no divide, no separation, only oneness with all. Remember that we humans are not separate from the natural world but an integral part of it. Mother nature reflects our soul and our soul is deeply soothed by her in myriad ways!