Field Notes: Fall 2020
On a path
This morning Asha and I turn down a narrow trail.
This trail is in no hurry as it winds its way between trees, around stone walls, through a spruce grove and across a stream, frequently looping back upon itself.
Today fallen leaves have hidden the trail but I’ve walked it enough to know more or less where it goes.
At one point, as I make a wide loop, I suddenly imagine a person watching from above. What is she doing? Why is she going so far to the left and around when there’s a much shorter and more direct route she could take? this person might wonder.
And I smile, knowing although it might not make sense to anyone else, I know I am on a path.
“A treasure!” my two-and-a half-year-old friend Cora exclaims.
She picks up a half-inch hemlock twig and puts her treasure in the small plastic bag her mother had handed me, at Cora’s request, for this very purpose, when Asha and I picked her up to spend time in the woods together. Before long, the bag contains many hemlock twigs, several acorns and handfuls of dried leaves.
To my adult mind, her choices seem random, so I ask, “What makes the twig a treasure?”
“I’m not sure,” she replies with furrowed brows.
Fair enough, I think and hear magic and mystery in the word.
So I lean into Cora’s liberal and exuberant use of the word. Aren’t all the hemlock twigs treasures? Isn’t each acorn, each leaf as precious as the previous one? Aren’t the entire woods encompassed in “treasure”?
Yes, they are.
For years I thought of November as a gray month, suspended between fiery October foliage and quiet December snow.
But today as Asha and I visit a favorite place where two streams converge, I marvel over the soft light streaming between the now leafless hardwood trees and find that November isn’t so gray after all.
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Winter 2020/2021 – Circle in the snow; Snow: Beyond shoveling; Returning
Spring 2021 – A change within; How I spent the morning; A glimpse; The time it takes; Glide
Summer 2021 – Stretching lessons; No stepping stones; A red-feathered lesson in priorities
Fall 2021 – Second annual Gentian Day; Sitting with Tea and Tang; Eyes-closed listening; Not alone: Companions in the woods; Learning a new language: Then and now
Late Fall 2021 – I almost said; Letter to myself after reading Hafiz; First snow