The laughter of the woods

Each year there is a moment when the world changes. Though the shadows are still tinged purple and blue with the ice of winter, the air is warm against your face. There is the scent of earth and sunlight like a voice in your spirit and you feel an urge to smile. It is Creator whispering to you “you made it my little one, well done. Now dance for me and let me see your joy.”

And so you do dance. With each step you sing your songs of gratitude and each step in turn becomes your dance. Each slow step upon that fragrant earth builds into a dance of joy, a celebration of the promise of life, chasing away the snows of winter and waking the seeds that lay beneath you. The dance will build in speed as the year becomes older, but it’s in that first day that Creator and Created can dance in simple joy before the work of living begins.

Small steps, steps that lead out from your door and into a world which is waking from sleep, brushing the snow from her dress and allowing colour to seep back in. The sentinels of the woods are heard to call again. The bright flash of scarlet as a cardinal dances among the green of cedar that’s no longer dressed in white. There comes the movement of a deer rather than the static picture you’ve become so used to. Your dance leads you out, out through the garden, on into a world that had been lost to you for what seemed to be forever. Through paths still dressed in the brown and yellow of old leaves yet there is now the drumbeat of sap rising and hearts awakening from hibernation. This is the sacredness of dance. The song of your creation and the music of a world. This is life and the eternal circle. And as you dance the world in turn dances with you. In the flight of birds now feeling sunshine on their wings and the animals that emerge, smelling the sun and answering the same pulse you do, the pulse of root and branch.

This first dance is sacred. Alone within the wild, wet woods you spin as the circle of life does too. It can never be shared because the partner you dance with is your creator. He will be within the spinning descent of a leaf that made it all winter on the tree, or in the feather that skips with the breath of wind over the woodland floor. It is a gift, a blessing, it is Creator reminding you that you are his little child and that his love for you is as eternal as the mountains and the seas. It is the rhythm of two hearts beating in perfect timing. Yours and Creator’s and understand the place you have within this beautiful world. As sacred within the circle of life, and the woods laugh with joy at your being alive.

spirit bear by Paul Nicklen


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