(listening time: 3:11 minutes)
Asha lies in puddles to drink. She pounces through roadside streams in pursuit of frogs. She retrieves sticks from shallow water. She does not swim, however. The couple times she’s fallen into a stream, she hasn’t been happy.
Today the spring sun is shining for what feels like the first time in weeks, so I plan a longer than usual walk. When we arrive at a spot where a stream flows through a culvert under the trail, Asha gives me her Well, are you going to throw a stick? look. I find a stick and throw it, aiming for a shallow-ish section. I forget to consider that it is a bit of a drop from where she stands to the water below.
Asha leans over and stretches as far as she can, but can’t reach the stick. She runs over to the other side of the stream and looks back at the stick. Then she crosses the stream through a shallow section. By the time she circles back to her starting point, the stick has drifted to the edge. She leans over and pulls it out of the water.
I laugh, enjoying the physicality of Asha’s thought process, then thank her for this reminder to consider questions and dilemmas from different angles and perspectives.
But as we walk, it’s the stick drifting slowly to the edge that captures my thoughts.
Since I was watching Asha run around, I missed the fact that she could have waited and let the stick come to her. Her instinct is action (and sometimes she runs in excited circles as soon as I pick up a stick and doesn’t see where it lands).
Sometimes I too leap into action when waiting would be an equally (or more) appropriate response.
I’m in a period of transition, a time of reevaluating my work. I have many questions on my heart, some of which hover just beyond words. At times it feels like clarity is just out of reach, and no matter how much I run around, I can’t grasp it.
The image of the stick drifting to the edge of the stream offers me comfort. It reminds me that waiting is not the same as doing nothing. It invites me to let go of the struggle, the effort, the trying-harder and encourages me to make room for ease. It quiets my inner critic, who is impatient with unknowns and the slow unfolding of change. It lets me know that answers will drift into my heart.
For now, I will walk, weave and write, and trust that answers are on their way.
Susan Howard says
I closed my eyes and was transported into the woods with the stream filled with bird song. Your voice lifted the story to a whole new level. Lovely.
Oh, thank you so much, Susan. Recording the stories is a new adventure and it makes me happy to know it adds to your experience of the story.
Sarah Benedict says
Thanks for inviting me along for your walks– both in the woods when we run into one another as well as right here. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I am especially appreciative of the sage reminder that waiting is not the same as doing nothing.
I’m happy to have you join us, Sarah, both in person and here online. I’ve really enjoyed our conversations and look forward to more.