There is nothing quite like a walk in the rain, especially out in the woods on a weekday morning. There is a certain kind of quiet, soft and gentle, an ease about the trees, that truly calms the mind. Something about the landscape is really just being, and it makes me feel like I am just being with it. Not observing, but I’m right there, in it.
I’ve decided lately to go deeper into learning the land, to name everything, and it has made me realize how little I know. I never felt it was important to go too deeply into classification. Right now it feels like a lifelong commitment, in a good way. In the meantime, the knowing that is more mysterious is the knowing that’s just a meeting of beings—I do think this is just as important, as say the botanical knowing of names, the classification that humans exert on the world. Do the trees know my name? Do they classify me? Or are we just together? Knowing a thing by its name is useful if you are looking to use it: to eat, as a tool, as a material. But just to know it, you don’t have to know anything. The koan here is to know things without knowing them.
These were good thoughts to chew on as I wound clockwise around the pond this morning. Mist was low, threaded through the dark rain-stained trees. Leaves coated the path like damp crepe paper in a mix of rich autumnal colors. Acorns lined the way as well, large fat sturdy ones, small dainty ones. I lined my pockets with them so as to know them better, later on with a book. The pond was a silver pool through the trees, scattered with yellowing lily pads and leaves. The rain a soothing sound in the background. Wind rustling the leaves—a sound I take note of because soon we won’t hear it for months. A snake startles me on the trail, a tiny ribbon snake—why would it be out in the rain? Perhaps it asks the same of me.
A quick note this week: I will be leading a kid’s walk (with parents!) at 1 p.m. on Monday, November 11th, which is Veteran’s Day. Please sign up at the form on the bottom of the Walkwright page for details. The group will be kept small, and all ages and abilities are encouraged. There is no cost. We’ll walk a little, write a little (those who don’t want to write may sketch), and have a snack. My son, who is 11, will be with me! Please join us!