02 October 2011

Sunday Meditation #8: Water Through Stone and Tree

September 11th, 2011, along the Patapsco River.  Morning, standing on railroad tracks.

For the first time in a long time I was just far enough away from the roads and the machines of modern life that I could truly hear the sounds of nature.  The river was some tens of yards away, and the valley was thick with green leaves.  It was some minutes before it sank in to my head that the only sounds I could hear were my breathing, the crunch of boots on gravel, the trill of water over rocks and the cries of birds out in the trees.  I stopped to consider this small miracle.

I was on my way to the ruins of an abandoned hospital for a photo shoot.  The path I took to get there was along the rail line that followed the river.   The route took me across a bridge and through a short tunnel bored under a small hill.  The tunnel was made of brick, stone and concrete, constructed in 1903.  I was slightly nervous approaching the tunnel.  As short as it was, I had the small fear that a train would come along as I was in the middle of it.  It was wide enough to step safely away from the tracks, with small niches in the brick for a person to stand, presumably out of range of coal smoke and steam back in the early days.

I hurried through, just the same.

It was as I approached the far end of the tunnel that I heard it all.  Drip, drip, drip.

Water was seeping through the arched roof overhead.  Small puddles on the rail ties, glimmering like mercury in the light shining in from outside.  I slowed down a little to watch my footing.  As my breathing slowed, my hearing became more acute.  There, I heard it!

It was a hawk, keening from the trees ahead.  Its sharp cry put all other sounds in sharp relief.  My pace slackened further as I stepped out in to the silvery daylight from the overcast sky.  The hawk cried again, and I could hear the river murmuring sweet nothings to the rocks over which it flowed.  I ceased walking, and stood still.

I could hear the blood rushing through my ears.  A faint rustling from the trees as a small breeze blew.  I could not see the sun, the clouds were opaque, but its presence was known.  Another cry from the hawk.  I stood and listened, to the water through stone and tree.  I heard no cars, no planes, no raised voices.

I heard peace.


  1. I'm really glad you ramble and cannot shut up because I love hearing about these things you do, hear and think.


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

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...