Nature Church

snowy-woods.jpg
Kamalla Rose Kaur
Last Sunday, Ken and I picked up our friend Tim in our truck and headed off
to do what we call “Nature Church”. Ken, Tim and I could have headed into the San Juan Islands, or sought out the company of eagles, or visited major rivers, lakes or woods or farmlands, but last Sunday we headed into the wondrous Cascade Mountains.

We were completely serious about it being a sacred time. Ken was driving and in charge of seeking out the best destination and navigating our way. Tim, who is quite into Taoism, was delegated to discern any meaning, insights and or sermons that might be important to share during Nature Church. Tim can be trusted not to babble and blither, lecture or rap, when given the pulpit – I can’t. Ken usually maintains complete silence when participating in Nature Church. I volunteered to focus on holding us all in LOVE, by process of Naam Jaap.

I sat on the truck bench-seat between the two men, gazing through the rain and
wipers at the climbing, winding, road-canyon as it sliced through the tall, majestic, green/gray forest. It was a cold and rainy day, and the wipers were going high speed, setting a basic beat of “vaheguru, vaheguru, vaheguru, vaheguru.” The truck was running smooth and strong as it climbed up ever-rougher roads, the engine droning Vaaaaahegurrrrru, Vaaaaahegurrrrrrru. The Defroster sang a steady harmony of “vaheguruuuuu, vaheguruuuu, vaheguruuu”. Countless drops of rain were free-falling from the heavy gray sky, and I imagined them each yelling “vaheguruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!” as they plunged, and then chirping another short “vaheguru” when they hit -splat! – and ran down the windshield, “Vaaaaaaaheguruu, uuoo, oo…oo…u”

Outside there was the magnificent Pacific NW forest all around us and I
imagined each tree chanting the Naam – their limbs dancing the Naam, branches
waving the Naam, each green needle, quivering with the Naam.

As we climbed higher there were waterfalls beside the road and the tall
evergreen trees started wearing sweaters of green moss as if for protection
from the growing chill. We were grateful for the cozy truck heater as we
climbed and searched on.

Had the weather been clear and sunny, a rarity here, we would have seen the
snow peaks all around and above us, but not last Sunday. Last Sunday it was too rainy for that, the mountains were blanketed in thick gray clouds.

But I felt the Cascade’s presence; “vaheguru, vaheguru.”

We didn’t know where we were going. We were on some logging road, narrow
packed gravel and dirt, somewhere in the North Cascades, searching for
whatever the Divine wanted to show us. We had been twisting and tunneling up
through the dark green primal rain forest for an hour or more, looking for
something. Looking for the experience of Nature Church.

Tim had said a nice prayer or two at the beginning of the journey and he had
even led us in a goofy attempt at a hymn, “Rock of Ages” or the like, but
after that Tim had stayed completely quiet as the miles of intense wet and
deep green beauty unfolded. No one had spoken.

Suddenly Tim said, “The light is changing. O my GOD, look!”

We all leaned forward and gazed intently through the truck windshield. The
forest had become misty and glowing with a soft white light and it was
strangely hard to see clearly. We could make out a curve in the narrow dirt
track just ahead and we were still climbing at a pretty steep grade.

As we turned the bend, it happened. The thing all of us were hoping for actually happened; yet none of us had had one conscious thought about this wondrous possibility.

It was snowing.

Creation was shimmering and swirling with light and all was white and bright,
and quiet, and so very pure. We stopped the truck immediately and tumbled out
into this heaven. Small crystals were dancing down from the sky; “vaheguru,
vaheguru” they sang. The towering trees and the ferns all around us were
being frosted with shimmering snow blessings. We turned our faces up and let
our faces receive the Grace – each snowflake felt cool and refreshing, melting against our flushed cheeks. We communed in wonder’s land.

Later on this journey through innocence and purity, a bit further up the
road, we stood out in the middle of a bridge that spanned a roaring river. On one side of the bridge this large river fell from the sky, thundering. I looked up and could not see the top. The river appeared to be falling from the clouds, falling like the snow. On the other side of this bridge, this massive wall of water fell into an abyss and I could not sight the bottom. The water seemed to fall into clouds and mists, far below.

“vaheguru” I thought, when I could think again that is.

The full power of this mystery had caught me suspended in time and space, me
so small, and infinity, the “vaheguru, vaheguru” so vast. The weight and
force and power and thundering sound of endless tons of fresh “vaheguru”
pouring between voids was making me feel weightless and transparent. It was
so vast that I surrendered my life totally into the healing mystery and
fundamental awe of the experience.

Wow Guru!

We drove home sometime later, in silence. We stopped to get warm drinks and
to eat some treats. It felt like langar to me and I was deeply grateful to the “vaheguru vaheguru” for the prasad.

Every once in a while the “vaheguru, vaheguru” says:

“It is time for a break. Dress for the region and the season and the weather,
and leave the city behind you. The great Ek Ong Kaar is calling. Come human;
Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, or Other. Come All! Come take part in
Nature Church.”

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Filed under Kamalla Rose Kaur's Writings, Multicultural, Pacific Northwest, Sikhi

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