It is completely and utterly spring. it was 37 degrees this morning and made it to 70 degrees this afternoon. The grass is green, the farmers are mobilizing, and there is not a moment of silence to be found on an early morning walk. Not from any mechanization, but from the natural world completely bursting forth in song and noise.
Here's an interesting exercise-- focus on just one sense at a time. This morning I walked and listened. My feet on the gravel, geese, ducks, rana pipiens (the frogs), red wing and yellow headed blackbirds. I've come to love the song of the yellow headed black bird... It has a lyrical beautiful song with a rasping croak at the end. I long to hear their call. I know just where to find them.
A couple days ago I stood facing east my toes to the edge of the water, my eyes closed, drinking in the spring. When SPLASH!! a muskrat slapped the water just 2 feet away from me. I jumped and gave a startled scream. He swam about 4 feet away and made a big splash again. Playful, territorial... whatever. I like to watch them swimming. I see them everyday.
Then Sunny comes trotting up from behind with an offering of good will and bumps the back of my leg with a freshly dead 2+ foot long member of the rodent family. A huge mink -- it's body about as thick as a huge summer sausage. Again with the screaming. But Sunny is not detoured. She runs around me in tight circles proud to offer some really fresh meat to her family. Poor thing wasn't expecting me to yell "ewwwww ewwwww ewwwwww-- get AWAY from me!"
Last sound of the morning was the lure of loud frogs in the prairie preserve. As I crossed the prairie I could hear them from just over a small ridge. I made my way there... I'd been there before. This year the grass is really slow in growing and so I can see the contours of the land so much better. There was what looked like a hollow- about 30 feet around. I made me think of a buffalo wallow- and maybe it was. This low spot had water in the bottom and it was filled with the sound of frog.
When a person focuses all their attention on just one sense it can be overwhelming. Just overwhelming to be present and mindful of what is.
In beauty may I walk...
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.
A Navajo Indian Prayer of the Second Day of the Night Chant (anonymous)