Within nature we can connect with different aspects of ourselves that were previously hidden.
While walking along a beach on day a tern scurried along the sand in front of me, dodging waves that swept up onto the shore.
And then I saw the child that I had been…right there in front of me, running from the waves before her feet got wet.
She ran up to me, smiling and breathless. I smiled back and held her hand as she skipped and jumped beside me. Every now and then she looked up into my face and smiled. A loving energy of compassion and caring flowed through my body to that little hand in mine, and I felt warm all over.
The child was carefree and happy. I felt centred in love and peace while we walked. And then that child grew to become twelve-years-old and she broke free to run by herself on the beach again.
By the time I had crossed the bridge to walk through the park near my home, joy and happiness had filled me to overflowing.
I could hardly contain the excitement when Harry, who tended the park gardens, stopped to talk to me – as was his custom each morning. “You look so happy today,” he said.
Then a babble of words described my morning on the beach with the child who had once been me.
Harry’s eyes began to twinkle and a smile spread across his face. “What a great idea. I’m going to take young Harry with me this morning and show him what I’ve learned from the trees in this park.”
The following morning, while I was sitting on a bench seat in the park, I heard footsteps behind me and turned around to be greeted by the biggest smile I have ever seen. “I did it,” Harry said, his eyes glowing. “And I felt all that love, too. I was very patient and showed young Harry all the things I do. He loved being here with me. And he grew as we shared things, just like you said. But what I want to know is: How am I going to bring up my own son so he feels all this love?”
“Just love him the way you loved little Harry yesterday,” I said.
“Ahh…raaght…” He smiled and shook my hand. “Big changes will be made… I think I will take little Harry with me again today.”
The way his eyes sparkled I couldn’t help but smile.
A few months later I found myself teaching art at a summer camp for girls. On one wet day programme I had a group of forty twelve-year-olds to keep busy. So I told them a little about my travels, but that the real journey I had taken was inside myself to discover what was there.
The girls drew pictures and wrote about the special child within themselves. Their writing was clear and simple:
“Find the beauty of love in everyone…”
“It’s not what you look like that matters, it’s what you are inside…”
“To love myself is the way I’ll always stay happy.”
The girls finished their pictures and left the room. Their joyful unfolding made me feel so alive and my inner child smiled and was happy.
First published in Ballarat News, April 6, 1994