By Phillip McKnight, Nature Worx Guide
A group gathered by a pristine stream somewhere in the forested piedmont of Maryland. They gathered to see if it was really true that nature can heal. They sat along the banks of the stream and some got into the creek and felt its cool cataracts waking them up out of the heat of the summer day. Some sat on the creek's edge and took in the sights and sounds, the rhythms and patterns of the natural world. Some chatted with each other, as their comfort level of the natural world increased. Some sat silently taking in smells and sounds. One of the guides asked the group to find a rock that you connect with and mentally place any trouble that you have on the rock. Once the trouble had been placed on the rock, they were asked to give the rock to one of the people in the creek who would then submerge in the creek and let the problem go. The guide shared that for centuries, people had used rivers as ways to heal and release, so perhaps they could experiment and see if it was true.
One of the people quietly approached the guide and asked in a whisper, can you take my rock and my trouble? The guide made friendly eye contact and received the rock. Everyone gathered on the shore of the creek and watched as the people in the river waited to release the rocks which held the group's troubles. A person on the shore counted to three. 'One, two, three'.... and the people with the rocks slowly submerged in the creek letting the rocks and the troubles that were placed on them be released down the pristine spring waters of the creek. When the people in the creek emerged, there was a stillness that hung over the group as we sat together in the dappled sunlight of the summer day. Creek, birds, and community, all letting nature help humans do what they want so badly to do: heal.
As the group walked back up the trail chatting kindly, the guide thanked the person for putting trust in them to release their trouble. The guide said, 'You know, I struggle with that too, and I want you to know you're not alone.' The participant smiled, feeling a sense of belonging after having connected with all that nature had just offered and said "I know."