Boss gave us a day off –
“take time to reflect and relax”
Smart, he knew we all needed it
So here I am, taking my writing book to my favourite trail
Bench #1 - Letting go
Deep breaths, the prescription for relaxation
just inhaling the scent
balsam, cedar, spruce, pine
I took off my sunglasses
so I can take it all in
So, we’re on to a new phase, re-opening --
Just when I finally got used to
the low-grade anxiety
the wiping of all the things
the distancing and isolation --
And now I’m supposed to just trust again?
Bench #2 - Noticing
I want to touch everything –
the rough lichen-clad trunk
soft baby-skin of young maple leaves
mounds of moss, soft but wiry
the contrast between prickly old
and rubbery new spruce needles
And now my hand is sticky with sap
The runners passed as I was crouched taking a photo –
the delicate pink nut-sack of a Lady’s Slipper just off the trail.
“Good eye!” she says.
Yes, I do have a good eye.
I was the kid who always found stuff on the ground
and that’s why this walk might take me all day…
But in my distraction I forgot to touch the flower.
I wonder, would it feel warm?
Bench #3 - Awe
The beard moss feels like real beard, a yellow butterfly circles my head, the pine cone in my hand is full of potential, the trees are speaking, the birds sing along, wind breathes on my cheek, a pile of middings means a squirrel had lunch on that stump, dead trees are wise and beautiful, buttercups grow out of black muck...
...And I am overwhelmed.
Can’t take it all in.
my senses are too slow
to fathom the mysteries of forest.
In front of me is another grove of Lady’s Slippers.
This time I’ll touch them, when I get up.
One mystery at a time.
Bench #4 - Purpose
I came here for a purpose –
Archaeology shows that people have lived here
for over ten thousand years.
Such arrogance in my forebears –
to look at this place and call it “uninhabited”
simply because the inhabitants hadn’t visibly altered its beauty.
It’s likely I carry that same arrogance – what do I not see?
This lush, vibrant world has no need of me.
Given time, I’m likely to make things worse, rather than better.
A mourning dove joins my lament as I walk, pondering my worthlessness.
And now, sitting with my back against a tree,
I listen to water tumbling in the brook.
When did it start? When will it end?
That flow is eternal,
and worthless as I am,
nevertheless, I am here now.
I love that someone posted the original Mi’kmaw names
on the waterways here.
Mikjikj Sipujij – Turtle Brook.
Someone else carved their name in a stump.
We do things like that.
As if it could add to the perfection.
Bench #5 - Humility
Still trying to listen,
to the forest and the trees,
to discover my part in it.
All it keeps saying is
“it’s not about you”.
it’s a satisfactory answer
for just about every question.