11 November 2010

Life Cycle: Meditations

Fall is here, this time with more than a hint of Winter in its recent weather.  No snow or ice, not here, not yet...but I heard whispers on the wind.  Not the whispers of demons crouched in the shadows and filling ones head with fear and blasphemy; rather, the whispers of the earth and sky, trees and water.  Ancient spirits that truly understand the cycle of seasons, and the ebb and flow of life.

That sort of wisdom I crave to possess.  I would like to know in my bones, muscle and heart the true definition of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  I fear I would have to live to be a thousand before I could know such a thing.  Sadly for all us mortals, a thousand years is just not possible.

I'd like to know the turning of the seasons deeply and as part of an integrated existence in the universe.  All too often, in the noise of modern life, the seasons are too quickly defined by the inconveniences they bring: storms, heat, cold, snow.  They are too often portrayed as phenomena to be tolerated or overcome.  I believe this is no surprise, really, when viewed in the light of a Modern Man that sees the natural world as a resource to be exploited and a nuisance to be avoided.

This disconnect I do not know how to overcome.  I pondered this question last Sunday, on a two-hour hike through the woods, along a stream.  My trip began and ended at a parking area between the river and the woods, and its halfway point was a trail head alongside a road that forms a boundary to the park.  In between I walked through thousands of leaves, many patches of sunlight and crossed the stream numerous times.  There were moss covered stones and worn wooden footbridges, illuminated by silvery gold November sunlight.  I heard the call of birds and the conversations of squirrels.  Crows and hawks were seen.

I heard the wind in the leaves, and fancied it was the forest gods speaking to me.

I passed quite a few hikers, joggers and mountain bikers.  I chatted with some, curious about the pictures I was taking.  For the first time, I didn't feel foolish trying to explain why I was so fascinated with tree fungi laying in pools of sunlight spilling through the leaves.

I take pictures of them because they are beautiful, and serene.

Somewhere, maybe in the middle of my hike, I stopped.  I thought I heard something, or sensed something.  I strained to hear, and to see...so close, I thought, to that wisdom I was seeking.  The wind shifted, a branch fell, and I heard a biker coming down the path.  The spell broke.  I still didn't have my answer.

But I am close.  Someday, I hope I'll know.  Until then I'll keep walking, listening...and learning from the seasons passing.


  1. Beautiful! I found myself there with you, stretching for enlightenment. Awesome post.

  2. I've had these moments, just on the cusp of grace opening up and spilling into the world at your feet. And just like that, with a breath or a blink, it's gone again. Almost almost...

    I hope you had a splendid birthday, wee dram and all. :)

  3. It felt to me as I read your words that you did find the answer. Each season has a different smell and sight to it. The damp decay of fall leaves is a heavenly smell to me. I like those tree fungi as well.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

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