Sacred Wandering in Thatcher Woods

 Photo by Kris DaPra from Cook County Forest Preserves.

Photo by Kris DaPra from Cook County Forest Preserves.

By Krista Mikos

“Not all those who wander are lost.” —JRR Tolkien

“It’s nice to give the Trees a chance to speak. At Sacred Wandering, I feel like there’s time for nature’s holiness, time for peace to seep into my skin. Because time slows down when I’m Sacred Wandering, I notice things I didn’t notice before. And, afterwards, time and my day feel more expansive.” M.G.B.

For seven months now, a group of 20 people, give or take a few, have been practicing Sacred Wandering at Thatcher Woods, the third Saturday of each month. We start with some community-building conversation, a standing meditation, and then we walk slowly to our first meditation spot where we sit for about 15 minutes, focusing on the nature surrounding us. We then wander to our second meditation site, and finally we walk meditatively back to our starting spot where we share tea and conversation to finish our Wandering. 

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“I have always been drawn to trees. Being immersed in their company feels like being surrounded by beneficent guardians. Intentional wanderings into the woods like we do in our monthly gatherings narrow the aperture of my attention to their presence around me. My heart opens, and I let their energy weave itself with mine as I sit with them in silence. I feel their support- their patience- the stability they lend without expecting anything at all from me. In turn, I feel my own strength increase and my sense of purpose and presence in the world to be enhanced. It is a sacred experience, indeed, to be “wandering” among the trees.” Terri B.

We begin at 8:30 a.m. and finish at 10:30 a.m. regardless of the weather, so please dress appropriately. Bring a portable chair and a cup for hot tea. Thatcher Woods Pavilion is located at 8030 Chicago Ave. in River Forest., on the north side of Chicago Avenue and across from the Trailside Museum parking.