Fields of Awareness

Joan E. Chapman discovers taking nature as a lifelong guide to perfect stillness.

Joan E. Chapman

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PEOPLE OFTEN TALK about being “alone in nature.” I find that odd. On the particular summer’s day I’m thinking about, when I was nine, with nothing to do but lie on my back in a farmer’s field in southern Ontario and gaze up at the blue sky, I was in the company of one yellow-and-black caterpillar; one very busy bee; three black crows perched in a dying elm tree; a battalion of ants; a gopher who thrust a little dirt, but not his head, out of his hole; several angry wasps who made a rushed appearance and then vanished; a throng of birds moving as one; countless creatures I could not see, but sensed; trees, grasses, vines, and all sorts of other plant life; and a brilliant sun that warmed me like an embrace.

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