Nature

A Great Hush

The woods were filled with many sounds that day: birds singing, leaves rustling, squirrels moving around.

I was painting a picture beside a stream in the late morning. The stream flowed around many large boulders. This view of rocks and water is what attracted me to this place.

Suddenly, everything was quiet. I mean absolutely quiet. Even the water became quiet.

Everything became unexpectedly still. A great hush came over this place. You could hear a pin drop. And so it continued for about 2 minutes. It reminded me of how it is right before a storm.

Fire

Why does fire seem so alive?

That flame on a candle seems so peaceful, so meditative -- like it, itself, is putting out a presence.

A candlelit dinner. How charming.

One of the houses I pass on my walk has a gaslight lamp, that always has a flame burning.

I really like that.

I remember sparklers that we would light on the fourth of July. They’d leave a trail of light in the night air.

Perhaps these things remind us of our own sparkling light.

Tangled

I love to see things that are so tangled they defy all logic to untangle or even understand their pattern.

Near our house is a Byzantine church. That in itself is so beautiful when they play the church bells with something like a piano keyboard. Anyhow, there is a huge nettle, a giant, wild hedge with small birds darting in and out.

Hundreds of birds seem to live in there. It is so amazing that they can so quickly and accurately navigate this dense and obtuse tangle of hedge at such a high speed. They must be geniuses.

Rain Drops

I like to see the rain drops after the rain.

Find just the right tree, and they hang there like glistening jewels.

Sometimes it’s the way they decorate a bush like tiny ornaments.

Or on a window pane how they line up all in a row.

And of course, it’s a real find to see a single drop poised on the turning edge of a leaf.

I like to see how they gather together on broad cabbage leaves that are dusty, blue green.

Or how they bead up on the hood of a car.

Sunflowers

I love sunflowers. I mean, here is a flower that grows bigger than me. It is gigantic. And the seeds are so visible, so wildly bountiful, and so orderly arranged.

I see them growing in the community garden, and I admire their towering, poetic, lilting stance.

There are two local farms that plant thousands of sunflowers – acres and acres - and let you walk among them. It is breath-taking. So many circles of purple-black with a rim of yellow against a backdrop of greens and a light blue sky – like nature is looking with 10,000 eyes upon the world.

The Scroll and the Tree

I read in a book how in Japan, at cherry blossom time, people write little poems, roll them up, and hang them with long ribbons from cherry blossom branches, to honor the trees.

I can imagine all these pink and white blossomed trees everywhere, with sensitive people writing thoughtfully and emotionally, rolling up a little scroll, and tying it with a ribbon, probably red, to a tree branch.

What a kind gesture to the earth.

And then the poem energy fills the air, like prayer flags do in Tibet, and is taken far and wide, as it sways in the wind on the blossom branch.

Path in the Woods

Did you ever walk through the woods on a path?

How many people before you did it take to wear that path into the forest floor?

There’s a trust in following it. That it will lead to someplace very good, and be safe and interesting in the journey.

And in a very literal way, I am reliving the journey of the people before me on this path. I can almost sense the other people still here, in a very real way, their imprint.

King of the Hay

Everyone has certain special things that make them smile. For me, one of those things is being around goats.

I remember one of the times my parents and I went to a local farm that we visit frequently. That particular day there were 2 baby goats, so small they could barely walk, their little legs wobbly, and their tiny voices high-pitched. One baby goat was shy, afraid, seeking shelter near his mother. But the other baby goat wanted to experience everything the world had to offer.

Fresh Apples

Once a year in the fall, my uncle would drive us to a place filled with all kinds of fresh apples. They were in hundreds of tall, round baskets. The place was called Aspetuck. It was an old farm stand, a large wooden room, like a barn, filled with apples everywhere.

The aroma of the apples was overwhelming, like a perfume made from all the different kinds of apples. We’d bring the aroma home with us. And they were beautiful to look at, too. The yellow leaves had fallen, and were falling, all around us. This is pure New England fall.

Hum of the Meadow

I love walking in a meadow of tall grasses. It’s like wading though dry water. I can hear the “swish, swish” of the grasses as they speak among themselves.

And then the best part – the high pitch hum of the crickets. Not individual crickets, but all of them united – one unending, beautiful sound. I always really like this sound, and look forward to hearing it. However, it became even more profound for me after I started meditating many years ago. Within 3 days, my ears started ringing during meditation with exactly this sound of the crickets.

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