June 4, 2014: Longing for My Complement Self

~by Virginia Rhys Anson, OFS

Doe nibbles the bush, feeding alongside her fawn, an attentive ear alert for danger. A micro breeze trickles through the forested leaves amidst piñons’ fragrance, creek’s song gurgling over and among smoothened river rock. Crow’s caw and squirrel’s chatter echo through foliage tapestried hills. Such is the idyllic world of my yearnings, all too often experienced virtually through nature videos and documentaries. Occasionally enjoyed within the pseudo forest of the local park and the tree-scaped cemetery kitty corner across the street. My whole being longs to the heavenly heights to be at one with nature. To live, hike, and rest within the elegance that is nature. To be immersed in and find my Dear Lord in His creation. Oneness with animals, with spruces and sage brush, with winged creatures, with the breath of God in the wind. My soul pines so very intensely for union with primal wilderness.

Yet the forests of my youth that grew my passion for nature and the woodlands that I crave, elude me. I am relegated to enjoy them through mere surrogacy. Deprived am I of more than a cursory exposure to woods and hiking trails. Dusty country roads, although quite pleasant and serene, afford only a morsel that inadequately feeds my spirit. I grieve the nature I do not have.

From childhood, I have been drawn to God’s handiwork of native creation. Trees crowded in magnificent splendor, the rush and gentleness of flowing streams, the tinkling of leaves in a faint breeze. Nature is my being. Yet I am split. I only half exist because my counter self, my being’s complement, is missing—too distant to nourish my yearning self. Words fail me. Mere words do not express the intensity that is my heart’s aching for coexistence with forest and its untamed life.

My unquenched craving for nature exists parallel to my soul’s desiring to be lovingly cradled in my Creator’s bosom. His arms—the woodland environ—wrapping me in fatherly safety. His breath speaking tenderly in the lilt of the breeze. His love tears falling as drops of rain, bathing my face in divine joy.

Though I search Him out in His nature, seeking God has no earthly bounds. Seeking God wherever my life path leads me should be my consummate ideal. As much as I long to be united with my beloved nature, my thirst for unity with my Creator should be infinitely more intense. Alas, it is not. My being is still intent on finding Him in commune with Mother Nature, with her creatures and her flora.

Lest He thinks me His ungrateful, spoiled child, I do thank my God profusely for the nature that is my back yard. Squirrels entertain and chickadees enchant. To sit on the porch and feel the touch of Brother Sun’s warmth on my cheek imparts a nano speck of my complement self. The delicate breeze wafting through the oaks and locust trees and lone bald cypress that would be my yard’s mini forest puff a waltz through the strands of my hair.

Stills, I grow impatient, ungrateful as I seem. My spirit hungers to find God in His woodland creation. It longs for lengthy walks among arboreal canopies and foraging wildlife and sparkling waterways. It is stilled when it is so deprived. It yearns to allay the stagnation that has created its want. My complement self strives to emerge, creating, once again, my unified, complete self. So longingly does self fantasize the company of deer and piñon and stream. So longingly does it fantasize unity with its complement self.

Counterproductive as it is, pining will not alter the meagerness of my surrounding nature. Meager or no, she is nature still—scaled down, but truly nature. Though not a coveted forest, birds still chirp, trees still sway, and breeze still tousles my hair. My God is content to reveal Himself in my meager, pseudo woodlands. As wildlife contents in adapting to scant suburban wilderness, so must I, allowing even a mere fraction of my complement self to escape the bonds of my discontent.


Virginia Anson grew up in the shadows of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. Family camping trips may have sparked her passion for nature. She holds an A.S. in Electronics Technology, a B.A. in Writing, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certificate in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Her book, Mother Earth’s Caretakers, targets middle school youngsters and is published as an e-book for Kindle. Virginia is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her volunteer endeavors see her as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sacristan in her parish and as a habitat steward for the National Wildlife Federation. She especially cherishes her life in the Secular Franciscan Order, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.

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