|Early morning after the rain|
Lacey-Keosauqua State Park is close to home, and I've camped here many times. Although there are road-bicycling opportunities, the trails are for hiking only; therefore, this trip I left my folding Montague Allston at home because I wanted more time among the trees and on the trails. Especially after a rain, walking the fall trails is a pleasure. I can walk in silence because the wet leaves don't crunch with each footstep, and in that silence the small sounds of forest life are amplified. I feel myself merging with the sounds, pausing to be part of the silence and then moving along the trails that follow old deer paths, keeping to an even elevation that laterally follow the ridge lines which conserves energy, minimizing climbs and descents.
|A Basecamp for my old bones|
|Lichen and leaves on a stone bridge|
My brother passed away three quarters of a year ago, and I thought of how he would have enjoyed the walk around the lake. He would have enjoyed being out among the oaks and maples; he would have enjoyed sharing the moment with me when a buck leaped across the trail and up the hill, full-muscled with the fall rut season, its antlers gleaming pale among the darker fall colors. Mostly, though, I just walked and then stopped for a time, walked again and stopped again, enjoying each moment and allowing myself to ease into each moment--and maybe even forgetting time and just being in the woods, as simple as sunshine on a green leaf.
|Earlier Keosauqua times with the "Green Goddess"|
|Just a walk through the woods|
Being a loving and responsible member of my family, sometimes I find myself worrying, feeling the burden of these perilous, pandemic times with their health and economic challenges. I feel physically every hard knock my family takes, teeter on every precipice they have to negotiate. Being out in the woods and moving, hiking up the rises and carefully down descents slippery with leaves glistening with rainfall from the night before, just being more in the active moment helps me find a more stable perspective. I realize one situation I'm worrying about won't come to a decision point for another six weeks, that some decisions aren't mine to make. The best approach to many challenges is to act when the moment is right and to not dwell on negative possibilities prior to the cusp of that moment. I think hiking in the woods helps remind me of this. Nature reminds me that pivotal moments exist within larger rhythms and cycles, and that worrying about those pivotal moments doesn't hurry them along; the time to act is when the time is ripe. We have to learn to enjoy each moment and maybe to come to realize and live the ultimate truth--that we tend to superimpose "moments" upon cosmic reality, that we our plans should make life simpler, not more complex. We should make plans and then put them aside until the time of action arrives.
|Watching the river flow, Ely Ford, LKSP|
This is my reality right now, my remembrance of the fall woods and the joy of being well and hiking on a brisk fall day. My moments of serenity and light become like a string of pearls, unified into one single life, one of many lives and many shining moments. Camping in the "basecamp" of my body, I sit beside a campfire, night having arrived. Brilliant is the light, unfathomable is the darkness. Let the fire die down. I'll add more wood while it lasts, happy and warm in the moment.