A “medicine walk” in Slovenia
A “medicine walk” in Slovenia
June 9, 2018
During my intensive Forest therapy training week with ANFT (Association for nature and forest therapy guides and programs) in the area of Cerkno, Slovenia, one of the assignments was to do a “medicine walk”. Substantially, it is walking alone, assuming to be invisible to other human beings, in case we meet one, and only listen to the extra human world, and the stories it tells.
As a matter of fact, during my hikes it happened hundreds of times to stay out from dawn to dusk, often meeting nobody, sit spotting, watching life; however, I never conceived these as “medicinal walks”.
My first “medicine walk” in Slovenia
With these premises, I left a bit skeptical. However, starting just from its very beginning, with the invitation “Follow your heart”, everything started turning into something unexpected. I already decided to follow my heart indeed, but this confirmation reached me strong and mellow, pouring a positive light on all my doubts. So I left for my journey, not exactly knowing what was going to happen, but determined, and light minded. As a result, I report the story that was inspired by this walk, as already quickly done during our training post-walk council.
The king of the humans gave me a commitment: “This is a mission for you, since I know that you are a wanderer and will like it; by consequence, I also have the feeling that all our community can trust you for this mission. Go, along this ridge, until you reach what is said to be the No man land. Beware, we have no other scope but knowledge: too many of our people went there, and nobody was back. Go, and tell us. Finally, be aware again: you must return, and step through this threshold in time; otherwise you will not be able to find us anymore.
Following his words, I left, with curiosity, a bit of awe, but with light heart and mind. I soon reached the forested ridge, heading to the open mountain where the No man land was said to be. The trail was smooth and easy, with ups and downs through the fir forest.
The ants’ kingdom
Suddenly, I realised to have entered the ants’ kingdom. I was walking among their majestic castles of fir needles, letting only imagine what could be inside; and outside, the forest was bustling with ants’ life and their activities; a world of everything: the workers, the carpenters, the nurses, the physicians, and all the other figures, so busy to not care of me. Nevertheless, I knew that all of them were observing me, including their house keepers, guarding their fir-needle castles. By consequence, I knew I had to walk with care and respect… and they let me through.
The no man land
After still a while, the track started ascending the last dome, where the forest gradually gave way to glorious open meadows, in face of the open top that was said to mark the border of No man land. And, at a wide saddle at the limit of forest and top prairies, I reached a last human outpost, where I was welcomed by the dwellers of the place, who anticipated my wonders.
“We are here, last humans, along this ridge. We do not remember how our story begun. Nobody of us knows who was here before us, and since when. However we know why we are here, at the limit of the No man land. What we know about it, is of a land where nobody has to fear of anything, anymore; a land of stillness and ease.
Many people came here before you, attracted by the No man land; but nobody who went there did ever came back to tell. We were the ones stuck by doubt. In fact, we could not go further, but yet, could not even return, and settled. We are now living here, forgotten by all. The ants’ kingdom allows us to stay, and guards us.”
And I asked: “Was ever somebody back to the human word ?”
“Did you ever heard some stories from here ?”. And that was all.
I looked at the bright dome in front of me, with an inviting path winding to its summit. It should be just a short walk, to see the No man land the other side. But… I remembered my commitment from the king of the humans, and headed back. The ants let me through again. When I arrived at my starting point, nobody was there, but my threshold yes, still there, still in time. I crossed the threshold and was caught again by the human world. The king of humans told me again “Follow your heart”.
At the end, I do not know the reason why I did not continue to the No man land, where nobody has to fear of anything, anymore, a land of stillness and ease; at the same time, a land from where nobody did ever come back. If it was because I had to honour my commitment, or for my fear of the unknown.
Medicine walk. Filippo D’Antuono. piudimille.com. All rights reserved.