Just before noon, after a particularly nice sound meditation, Pasha and I strolled in the sunny woods. A few more weeks yet before the leaves are out, a lovely time to appreciate the bounty of sunlight. Soon, the oaks, beech, birch, maple and cherry trees will fill in and darken the forest considerably. The large oaks and beech around the house help keep me cool in the heat of summer, but I dance between wanting to trim and let more light in and appreciating the cool shade they offer.
Pasha at "our spot"
Our stroll today took us to a place I have begun to call "our spot". It was heavily damaged in the ice storm a couple years ago and many large hemlocks are uprooted all around. It was always one of my favorite places to sit and watch the mosses grow, so, when the trees went down, I was initially devastated. A friend came and cleared the path, which helped, and he made me a little bench with fallen logs. Pasha and I like to sit there, now quite a sunny clearing, and listen to the forest. There is still plenty of work to do here, and I'm not quite sure exactly what that will be, but I have begun to appreciate the increased sunshine, especially in the middle of summer when most of the rest of the forest is shady and cool. Its one of the only areas at RavenWood, other than around the house, where there is a significant clearing. Pasha likes to sit under a tree opposite the log bench while I sit, sing and practice melting into the forest.
One view from the bench is a rhythmic dance of lines.
Just above the bench, the more dappled light of the thicker wood and the mossy path leading to the forest circle.
Heading back to the house, at the other end of the downed tree clearing, Pasha pauses on a mossy spot to wait for me. Once I've moved on a bit, he raced past me and up a nearby tree, amazing me with his agility and strength and most of all, communicating his delight in our walking ritual.
An old, very tall mountain laurel trunk.
One needs to practice discernment in the clearing. The forest wants to take over. Though I leave much of the rest of the woods to itself, around the house I choose what stays and what goes. The little birch I didn't weed years ago is turning white this year. I almost cut it thinking it was yellow birch, but paused to take in the shape of the leaves and decided it was probably white. So, it stayed. What a gift to be somewhere long enough to witness the small birches turn white, to get to know each little sapling and watch them mature. Years ago, when I had just a little plot of garden in Providence, Rhode Island, I mentioned to a friend that I didn't like thinning my carrots. Her response was simply, "You are the gardener". I call on that wisdom again and again here in this forest, and I now understand what deep wisdom it is indeed. Around the house, I am the gardener. Out in the surrounding forest, the gardener is the wind, the ice and snow, the deer, bear and porcupine, and the ancient spirit of the forest who beckons me to watch, listen and be.