Writing taken from the Forest Therapy Ottawa newsletter from February 2023.
I’m living connected to the earth, close to the clouds, here on the 21st floor.
On their fall migration, the geese passed directly in front of my windows. I watched as they followed the path of the Ottawa River and turned south when they reached the point of land at Britannia Park.
I followed the river too, and have landed in my new home!
In August I wrote about being in between homes, yet held by a sense of home in the embrace of nature. (Find that post here.) Then I bought this small condo overlooking Britannia Park, beside Mud Lake, a 5-minute walk to the Ottawa River, and moved in November.
Being so close to the sky, I decided to keep some stones close at hand to help me stay connected to the ground. I placed them along my windowsill.
I caught my breath every time I looked out the window at the changing face of the sky and the many moods of the river.
But when I looked at the scene inside, the boxes to unpack, paintings to hang, paint colours to choose, I felt… tired and a bit overwhelmed…
So I decided to leave some unpacking and painting for later, and to focus on landing on this patch of earth. To not only admire the beauty through my windows, but to get outside more and be fully present when I was out there.
I’d been feeling pretty impatient with my dog, Amber, when we were out walking and she wanted to stop and sniff. Often. I had wanted her to hurry so I could get back to my to-do list. Then I realized she was my guide! So I shifted. I let her take her time, while I looked around and brought my attention to the place where I stood, to the feeling of connection with the ground under my feet. When I did that, I noticed my shoulders relax and felt the stress drop.
I started pausing to pay my respects to the biggest, oldest trees along the shoreline. Found tucked-away spots to practice my Four Directions Movement Prayer. Noticed the changing angles of light as the days got shorter. And in the morning of the December full moon, I caught this glorious moment when the moon was setting while the rising sun brought a glow to the opposite shore of the river.
After the big December winds, I gathered fallen pine branches and brought them inside for Christmas decorations. And in so many ways, so much of what I found outside has brought a brighter feeling to the process of getting settled inside.
I’m giving myself time to create a cozy nest here on the 21st floor. And soon I’ll invite the neighbours in. Meanwhile I’ve been meeting my more-than-human neighbours, and growing roots in these lands that hold this nest. That feels right. That feels like home.
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Andrea Prazmowski is the human being connected with Forest Therapy Ottawa, doing her best to listen to the voices of the forest and shoreline, sky and earth, who guide her guiding and her writing.