Six of us went to the mountains this weekend, settling in to nature over the course of Saturday like leaves soaking up the damp of a forest floor. I never quite got there. By all other accounts the journey was successful. We ended the trip with the same number of people we started with - no losses of health or good nature. The food and camping proceeded without a single hitch, and our photographs came out beautifully.
Still, as we wended our way back down the mountain, I realized my error. I had come to the mountains to be soothed, but never sat still enough to feel her touch. What did that flower look like? How did the bark of the tree feel? What was the taste of those s'mores? The pages of my journal sat unfilled, and I too, remained empty.
Days later, I realize the slow workings of nature. On Tuesday I sleep for 11 hours, in such torpor that nothing awakens me - not alarm, phone call or conscious memory of obligations made. When I finally open my eyes, I have to tell myself "morning. it's morning." But that day, I dance for nearly 3 hours, drowning in the pleasure of my muscles reawakening, nerve endings reconnecting, the floor holding my feet.
While the weather changes moods - one moment clear sunshine and warmth, the next a steady pour of rain, and the next a clarity of stars in an undisturbed sky - I sit here sipping my noodle soup, warding away the encroaching chill, feeling very still. This is time, in life. We give it carelessly, we give it happily, we give it grudgingly. How rare to be able to just sit, absorbing the time. Sorting my thoughts. Tasting the broth.