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After a full night’s sleep, I awoke at 7:30 A.M. with this dream:

Inside a darkened theater filled to capacity, I sit alone and watch a musical. From the orchestra pit, musicians play catchy tunes to accompany the songs and dance steps of children, dressed in red-and-white striped bodysuits. They execute clever routines upon a wide set of stairs on center stage.

This dream reveals lively energy in my psyche. The darkened theater suggests a venue of playfulness that diminishes harsh lines of reality and activates imaginations. Identification with the performers opens cramped worlds, often, strangers to the hilarity of play, as is my case.

Again, I am alone, my former practice of attending the theater and other artistic events. Having a companion watered down the impact of the experience for which my psyche yearned. So desperate I was for nurturing, for new learning, for enlargement of my world. Following such experiences, my musings were rich, especially if they were derived from musicals, on stage or films; they seeded my loneliness with elan for a short while.

In the orchestra pit, an unseen director, Precious God in disguise, coordinates the musicians, also unseen, and the dancers: their red-and-white striped bodysuits blur pinkish as they traipse up and down the stairs, just for the fun of it. At least, it looks that way.

This dream feels like a teaser: its invitation to explore my own playfulness, to open out my laughter, long buried beneath fears of physical diminishment. Such is critical for the full development of my humanness, a Godly dimension.

I do have a new helper, though.

We wait in silence…

Wetness saturates the air with droplets. Overhanging maples, with run-off teased by breezes, splatter upon my slicker. Around me, shrubs pay homage to the once cracked ground, oozing underfoot and chilling my sandaled-toes.

It is Saturday afternoon by the creek: a confluence of multiple rhythms that compels even deeper listening. I pause in my tracks as my spirit yearns for moisture. I shout into the stillness. Gladness wells and refreshes my cramped psyche: Again, my Inner Writer breathes. Such is the restorative power of walking in the woods.

That evening I happened upon Beethoven’s Symphony # 6 in F Major – The Pastoral (1808). Beset by health and relationship issues most of his life, he often left Vienna and took solitary walks into the country; there, nature’s rhythms nurtured his passion for composing. Such must have occurred with his Sixth Symphony. Unlike others, it contains programmatic notes for the five movements: Awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrive in the countryside, Scene by the brook, Merry gathering of country folk, Thunderstorm, and Shepherd’s song and cheerful feelings after the storm. Fortunate for us, Beethoven later wove these rich experiences into this symphony; its melodic lines breathe into the psyches of the listeners. Contentment expands into smiles. All is well.

Like him, we are never the same after such walks.

 

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