We are who we are because of what we have done, where we have been, where we reside. We are different after experiencing new places, performing new tasks.
I may never again go to Taxco, a colonial “silver city” of Mexico with cobblestone streets, but I am not the same person as I was before I visited there a number of years ago. Literally, physically, those molecules I picked up there are now part of me.
Likewise, the basalt and granite of the High Sierras are probably still under my fingernails, perhaps are even a part of my fingernails or bones. Both physically and spiritually, I am changed after biking in Stowe, Vermont. I am forever nurtured after eating king crab in Bodega Bay; renewed even now after sharing the Sea of Cortez with hundreds of dolphins; still awed by gray whales breaching a few feet from the shore at Todos Santos.
All of that is part of me now; I will always be elementally different from what I was before.
Our connection with all that is around us works both ways. What we have seen and felt is now part of us, but we also have become part of all we have encountered; “I am a part of all I have met,” as Tennyson phrased it in his poem Ulysses.
I love to garden because the warmth of the soil in my hands reminds me I am part of it and it is part of me. Lavender, purple coneflowers, pink skullcap and St. John’s wort, lemon balm and mountain laurel, golden groundsel–all arise from the same source as I. The same sun pulls us up, warms us, and, with its pulsing center as we circle it, reminds us to grow in spring and bloom in summer, to become serene in fall and to rest, rest in our winter.
The energy that is in the sun is in me; I warm to it and remember I am part of something larger, a small thread in the fabric of the cosmos.
What places are now part of you? What will forever nurture or renew you?
What everyday tasks remind you of the connection we have to all else? How do you picture that connection?