Forest Reflections May 14, 2019

The landscape was quite changed since the last time I joined Jim and his interns on a forest walk. It had been early spring then and things had yet to leaf out, so as I walked down the path, I did not easily find the spot I had settled the time before. I went further I believe, and found a large fallen truck, smooth of all bark, made golden by sunshine. The canopy was raised above it, honeysuckle did not crowd it and the stream was right below. I lay back upon it and stared up. So often I feel we go about walking through the forest or even life either looking down or right ahead. So rarely do we look up. And so I looked up. It was a cool morning, a morning for fleeces and when you want a spot in the sun to soak up the warmth. Above me the canopy was in layers, the sunlight filtering through, and on one branch, the leaves were dotted with insect eggs and the sun cast their shadows across. The air was alive with birds and insects and the breeze. It was harder than normal for me to still my mind this time, to just rest and be, but everything kept cycling back, and eventually I just let it. Sometimes you just have to take time to sit back and listen to yourself as well. As much as I wanted to just feel the forest, this was a time I needed to hear myself. And yet the forest was still there. I stood after a while and stretched a long weekend of work out of my limbs, breathed in the forest and then just stood. And then eventually we were called back. I followed the path back almost in a haze, my eyes still blurry, my mind still at the log, but by the time I joined the others I was back. It all was like a long, slow deep breath.

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