Occasionally I am sent away. Relocated. Shoved to the furthest edges of the world through the medium of what is known socially as “Work”. Whilst I consider it an honour to be offered the opportunity to travel so far, occasionally I am left spiritually bereft by the choice of location.
When I heard that I was to be going to Austin in Texas I had mixed reactions. On the one hand I knew that Austin was a vibrant city with a fantastic music festival called South By South West (SXSW). Coincidentally, I would be there right when the “South By” festival was in full swing. Hooray!
However, I also suspected that Austin would be a built-up featureless and relatively barren area of the globe with little opportunity for me to “go wild” and experience real green spaces. For the most part I was right about those fears.
However, well into my two-week stint I had identified a green space a few miles north of the northern Domain area in which I was staying – a trendy shopping and eating area with some interesting street art. I decided to spend a dull cool Sunday walking to Walnut Creek.
Walnut Creek is about 4 miles north of the hotel I was staying in. The day was cold and dour, not unlike a typical English Spring day. I had been promised sunshine for the weekend. It the forecasters had become increasingly gloomy as the week progressed. With only hours to go they began to get accurate. I had to wear two layers not the get a chill.
On entering the creek I felt something like Spring. A bird of prey began circling above me and all around were signs of flowers emerging. Especially abundant were the signature blue bonnet flowers of Texas:
The signs of Spring petered out, replaced by signs warning of bends in the path along the concrete walkway, and concrete funnels aimed at taming the creek to a trickle. I became less enamored of the walk and sought to get off the path where possible. Numerous side trails snake through the main path but they were designed for mountain bikes and often became impossible to walk. I soon succumbed to the inevitable predictable concrete course.
An hour later I made it into the heart of the country park. Now things began to get interesting again. There were brief glimpses of wildness – permitted wildness. I turned around after reaching the very heart. I felt uninspired and alienated from this landscape despite recognising many of the plants.
As I began to retrace my steps I heard a fuss in the woodland. Something, some bird, was wanting my attention. I looked st the location I was being directed towards. It felt right. Inviting. So I went. I found an animal trail and followed it.
By the slow running creek I found a bright slender walnut tree. I settled down and did my usual protection and connection. Seemed to work. Handy to know that stuff is international.
I soon got into meditation. It was a light trance but seemingly sufficient to make a connection. I contacted the tree and asked for permission to connect, and then sat with the space for a while. The space reacted.
In my mind the spirit of the place was a young “sassy” lady. She was a cowgirl and had totally embraced the emotions and the feelings of Austin in order to represent that energy. I was surprised, having expected something more traditional and more … Ethnic!
I offered a touch of the spirit of Albion, and traded energies. I have love wanting nothing I return. I wasn’t getting anything either! Then a pair of large birds flew from nowhere above me and squawked at exactly the right moment.
I was careful to dismantle my protection and connection, and then re-emerged onto the main path. As I reached the edges of the park, about to leave it’s limits, I heard a familiar noise of large wings above me. The bird of prey flew over me only feet away from my head! It landed on a nearby pole and I stopped. We stared at each other and an energetic connection occurred.
The walk back seemed quicker than the walk to get here. I had a certain spring in my step, if you’ll excuse the pun. Maybe this year was beginning to happen after all?