This dreary, rainy day and the soft music on TV have put me in a meditative mood, so I thought I’d post this piece I wrote a few years ago for a workshop.
The workshop never happened — the weather was horrendous — and the time of year was autumn, not summer, but I think the meditation is still appropriate. A Native American flute CD was supposed to play in the background, so find something similar or just as soothing to listen to. It’s best if someone else can read this quietly for you. If that can’t happen, read it over a few times first and then just listen to the music as you settle in and close your eyes ……
Relax into the music, let it refresh your spirit as you take a few minutes to release any demands on you or concerns you have. Take some slow, deep breaths and feel the oxygen regenerating your body.
We’re going on a short journey together, to find our muses and to find our own unique voice.
By now you may see an aura behind your closed eyelids … maybe a brilliant sunflower, stars, or flashes of green and blue lights. Enjoy them for a moment, thank them for starting your journey for you with such beauty.
As these slowly fade away, you see you’re on a wide path deep in the woods. It’s a crisp, invigorating day in the early fall. Sunlight streams through the trees, a breeze sends a shower of multi-colored leaves around you as you walk, and you spot a partridge gliding past you on feather-covered feet that make no sound at all.
As you enjoy the sounds of the leaves joining those that make the tapestry in which you move, you inhale the rich, fertile fragrances of damp earth, the humus of the pine duff, the whiff of wood smoke that reached you just now.
You’ve come to a small glade of hemlock, oak and beech trees and you spy a granite and marble boulder among the intertwining roots. It’s as if the trees and the boulder are anchors for each other, holding the other into and onto the ground just for you. Near the granite ridge of the stone’s top, there’s an indentation that makes a comfortable place to sit.
So you sit … and listen to the silence of no traffic, the rustling whisper the leaves make as they fall … to the occasional bird murmurs, chattering of the red squirrel, squeaks of the chipmunks … As the silence fills up around you, you hear the sound of water and discover this peaceful spot is just above a mountain stream, heavy from a recent rain, rushing over boulders and stones placed there eons ago by a glacier as it scoured the mountainside.
You take a deep, deep breath, enjoying the cool air that rises from the water below to meet the warm drafts of sunlighted breezes playing among the trees. You’ve slipped off the boulder seat onto the musty ground; lean now into the stone behind you and close your eyes ……
Sometime later you awaken. The sun is lower, the woodland creatures are quiet, even the breeze has stilled. You’ve lost all track of time, but you know it’s that magical time when afternoon seems to hold its breath before it slides into dusk. It’s time to start back.
You start to rise from your nest of ground and boulder … and in doing so, your hand overturns a palm-sized stone smoothed and ridged from the stream. Then your foot dislodges another one of similar size. Turn them over to admire their simple yet complicated beauty, the marble veins gleaming in the late sunshine tilting through the trees, and appreciate their soft heft and weight.
When you turn them over, you find there is writing, something roughly etched as if with a smaller, sharper stone or knife, or maybe woodland faery spirits. A close look reveals a word on each: “Voice” on one, “Sing” on the other.
Curious now, you kneel to dig a little more and find an irregular circle of similar stones underneath the leaves, each with its own word. You place the first two stones inside the indentation on the boulder, and each subsequent stone finds its place there as well. The stone words include ‘Risk,’ ‘Promise,’ ‘Empty,’ ‘Find’ … and there are several more.
Without intending to, you realize you’ve made a poem as you placed the stones onto the boulder. Perhaps this is where they started, then, after that unknown person or spirit scraped these words and placed them on the altar of the boulder near the stream. Perhaps a squirrel or a heavy wind sent them into hiding, to wait for you to find them.
You place the last stone in the center of the circle, its word “Gladness” uppermost, and you back away. It’s time now to retrace your steps along the woodland path. You give thanks to the spirits of the woods, the stream, the stones and boulders, the creatures. Dusk is nearly here and you must be able to see your way out; but it seems that a light from behind you shines in just the places you need to put your feet.
It’s the words, you think. They’ve made the way easier and brighter. When you come through the woods again, you turn around and the light is gone. Gone along the pathway, yes, but there is new light in your heart.
You stand there for a moment or two because you want to remember the poem you left back in the glade. You want to write that poem … or song … or paint a picture … or tell a story ….
And you want to come back and add your own words for another to find.
© ERR/November 18, 2009