There All AlongNov 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Rosemary Kimble
I have been a traveler all of my life. I have traveled thousands of miles to have wildlife encounters. I have been to the Amazon, where I have seen and heard the rare oropendola, a bird of beautiful color with an unusual song that sounds like it is underwater. I have traveled to Africa, where I have seen some of the biggest and the smallest animals in the world, including the tiny bush baby, whose large eyes peered at me in the dark from a small tree, and the enormous rhino, that stomped through the dirt, creating a cloud of dust around itself.
I’ve done the same for spiritual experiences. I’ve traveled thousands of miles to participate in ceremonies of different cultures around the world. I have been blessed by Voodoo Orishis in a Candomblé ceremony in Brazil; I’ve sat with medicine people for vision quests in Colombia; and I’ve been given a bone reading session by a Sangoma mystic in South Africa.
Each time I come home, I’m already thinking about where to go for my next adventure. I am so charged from the last experience that I can’t wait to leave again. I am excited to experience something else new all over again. I have traveled away from home to have these deep experiences so many times. It has been the story of my life for many years now.
Over the years, I’ve sometimes wondered why I have to travel so far to do that. What if the experiences I was seeking could be found right in front of me all along? If I paid closer attention, could I find it nearby more easily?
Recently, I had a eureka moment. I was in my backyard, listening to a sound I’ve heard for many years—a sound I’d always assumed was a birdcall. But when I listened and looked more closely, I was delighted to discover that the sound I’ve been hearing all these years was not from a bird at all—but a squirrel! Why hadn’t I noticed that before? I began to wonder: What else have I been missing?
It was not until I met a medicine man here in Georgia that it occurred to me that I could be a part of special ceremonies in the U.S. He’d been living in the same city I grew up in for as long as I have lived here. His community welcomed me, having been in my own town all along!
I started to think about all of the things that were right in front of me that I might have missed throughout my life journey. I always thought I had to travel far away to have a unique wildlife encounter or to be in ceremony. How often are we seeking something that can be found in plain sight? If I take the time to notice more of what is happening around me, maybe I’ll have many more wildlife encounters and more spiritual experiences.
The realization gave me a whole new outlook on how to experience the world. After all these years, I’m discovering that I don’t have to go far at all to discover new things or to have profound spiritual experiences. The medicine person I might have traveled quite a ways to meet was in my neighborhood all along! A special wildlife encounter can happen in my own backyard! I can explore what’s right around me and have just as enlightening or exciting of a spiritual experience or wildlife encounter as I’d get from traveling across the globe to find it.
Today, I am excited to explore more of what is already happening here in my own town, just waiting for me to see it. ❧