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  • Writer's pictureRachel F

Earth's Longing for Emergence

There is an emergent beauty in spring that luxuriates in the space between what is known and what hasn’t yet been dreamed. The apples, which set their buds in hope of the year’s growth during the onset of winter, blearily open to the new world of spring wondering if their winter’s imagination will meet the realities of this unfolding year. Like them, the gardeners, who spent months on designs, maps, and seed catalogues, step forward into the liminal space between imagination and materiality. It is a grace upon grace to witness such winter desiring become enfleshed in the unfurling body of a tender pea or an exuberant beet.

This particular spring at Heartberry Hollow Farm & Forest, we are witnessing another layer of unfolding and emergence: a relationship with The Retreat House at Hillsboro. Many of you will know the beautiful corner of Hillsboro that is just off of the Tuckahoe river, surrounded by farm fields, and nestled in a corner of the town. A mutual desire to witness and lean in to God’s invitation for spiritual growth through relationship with the land drew the marshes of Maryland and the mountains of Vermont into this new level of relationship. So this winter, while the apple trees and the seeds were dormant and planning for their growth in hope, so were we.

It is still unclear what fruit is being nurtured in the intentional joining of these two hillsides, but we are walking forward rooted in community; we’d like you to come with us. Come with us either physically or virtually, to share in the peace of the mountains and the gentle presence of the river. Come with us to lean into the places that God is drawing you deeper into Herself through the created world. Come with us, to learn what it means to be human by learning more about the unfurling creation. Come with us, and bring your own imagination, your own longings, your own curiosity about what it means to be living and loving the Divine through embodied prayer wherever we are in the world.

As I write this the magnolias are blooming in Maryland, and the snow is finally sighing into the soil one last time in Vermont. Programs, conversations, and prayer shared between Hillsboro and Roxbury are taking shape like ash leaves in the canopy. The call to be, to deeply witness, and to walk with is resounding. We will walk together and see and we'd very much like to walk with you as well.

Invitation into A Practice: Forest Walk or River Walk

Forest Walk

Each evening as the spring has settled into our hollow, Jonathan and I have walked slowly and deliberately on the perimeter trail through the woods. This is a practice of being deeply present in our bodies to the land, and we invite you to do the same - either here, or at the Retreat House in Maryland, or wherever you are. Simply take a moment to breathe in stillness, then as you walk in silence, feel the earth under your feet, smell the air, trees, or dirt, listen to the sounds that declare themselves, and taste the wind as it moves past you. This is a prayer practice of deep engagement and surrender.

River Walk

On the Eastern Shore the presence of the rivers adds another type of meditation “walk:” a river walk. If you have access to a river (there is access in Hillsboro just down the road from The Retreat House), push out into the water in whatever vessel you are comfortable with. Feel the water holding your body under you, smell the air over the water, listen to what emerges, and watch the water as it dances its journey. This is the same practice of movement and stillness that move our prayer from the mind deep into the body.

If either of these practices catch your intention and you would like further engagement or support in them, please reach out: You are invited to join in a small community for a “Prayer Paddle” on the Tuckahoe River on May 21st in Hillsboro MD to deepen this practice.

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