(listening time: 4:11 minutes)
Asha and I have returned once again to the familiar wooden bridge in the clearing.
I was drawn here today because beavers are building a dam under this bridge. With the resulting changes to the landscape, this spot feels like a microcosm for the world which is changing so rapidly. More than any other place along the trails Asha and I walk regularly, this pond-in-progress invites me to be with my emotions about the coronavirus pandemic.
While Asha sniffs, drinks and otherwise explores, I look out at the water, then kneel on the wooden planks and inspect the construction. I can see how the beavers have built up mud and brush. They’ve added some large logs since our last visit but most of their stick work is hidden beneath the bridge.
My walks teach me about change. The reassuring seasonal ones that I look for and count on. Right now it is early spring and I delight in the lengthening days, the appearance of green leaves and spring ephemerals. And then there are the unexpected changes, such as the tornado that roared through these woods three winters ago and felled many trees. Or the building of a beaver dam.
I feel saddened by the changes brought on by the beavers’ work. And that is why I’ve come today: to be with this sadness. To be with all that I miss. In this landscape and in my life.
I miss the soothing burbles of the stream that used to flow here. I miss throwing sticks for Asha and watching her jump across the stream to retrieve it. I miss sitting on the bridge, legs dangling over the edge. I miss crossing it and continuing down the now flooded trail along the satisfying loops Asha and I explored last year.
I miss borrowing books from the library and getting my hair cut. I miss welcoming people into my studio and chatting over cups of tea. I miss hugging my beloved, a nurse practitioner in a hospital. I miss the illusion of certainty. And I wrestle with the urge to dismiss my feelings in the face of all that so many others are suffering.
I miss what was …
At the same time, as I look around me, I’m curious about the new and different that is emerging. I have so many questions.
Will the beavers dam up the places where the water flows out?
Will the flooded trail become accessible again in the summer when there is less water?
Will Canada Geese settle on this pond come spring? What other birds and animals will make a home here?
I find it harder to articulate my pandemic-related questions because they float in the realm of feelings, not words. I have no language to talk about some kind of “after”. And it’s too soon for answers.
We have lost – and are losing – so much.
So I stand on this little wooden bridge, accepting its invitation to be with the complexity of change and to feel what I feel.
Two Great Blue Herons circle above us. Asha and I both look up and watch until they disappear behind the trees. Then Asha tells me it’s time to head home. I know I will be back soon.
Susan Kramer-Mills says
Hartmut and I listened to your first blog and enjoyed it greatly. Indeed, we are missing so much this season and through this pandemic. Thank you for articulating it so thoughtfully.
You are most welcome, Susan and Hartmut. Thank you for listening and letting me know it spoke to you.
I have been exploring Conway woods for at least 65 years, first with my Dad, then by myself, later with my sons, and most recently (for the last 40 years) with a series of wonderful dogs – Wog Dog, Eeyore, Stormy, Sassy Sadie, and now Tingley Eyes. The fur buddies are always ready for a new story, so if you see me walking along, chattering like an old red squirrel, i am only sharing my stories and observations with my current companion… Sincerely enjoyed your walks with Asha commentary.
Fur buddies are great creatures to chat with!
(I didn’t know that Sadie had a “first” name.)
Me neither! Sassy was the name of the first dog that L and I had together. Much beloved and of lovely memories.
Lyn Allen says
Whenever I come back to Walks With Asha, I find listening to your stories soothes me in ways I had not realized were needed. Something inside me that had been caught up in the tension of everyday busyness gets to push “pause” and let go. Thank you, Marilyn, for helping me see your world through your eyes. It helps me return to my world with a refreshed “seeing.”
Thank you so much, Lyn, for sharing your experience. I’m so honored that Walks with Asha stories touch you in unexpected ways, release the tensions of everyday busyness and enable you to return to your world refreshed.