(Song Dedication: Kids by MGMT: ...Take only what you need from it….A family of trees wanting to be haunted)
This moment of Beingness brought to you by my lesser known writer self (whom I am becoming better acquainted) who is about to wax poetic (which happens to be another way of being verbose; a slippery slope of eyerolls and there she goes agains, bordering on preachyness) but wanted to attempt to capture my engagement with nature this morning in an attempt at presence.
This story goes back to last night when my husband and I decided to switch vehicles to have the snow tires put on my car, thus me taking his truck for the day. He is a pretty thoughtful guy and so in preparation to take the car, he emptied out the contents I stash in there (perscription sunglasses, gloves, water bottle, etc.) so I had access to them today.
As my son and I were headed out the door I noted the absence of my headphones, realizing they were still stashed in the console of the car. I could have easily grabbed one of the other 6 pairs of apple issued earbuds, but alas, with last year’s smartphone upgrade…I am now relegated to use the lightning headphone jack rather than the normal one. (Don’t worry, this is not me being poetic just yet, I am basically stating facts to set the scene and releasing some complaining which I can do nothing about at the same time)
I quickly ran back to the bedroom and retrieved my wireless headphones that hadn’t been used in about 5 months, tucking them in my purse and out to the truck we went. After drop off at school, I attempted to sync the wireless headphones, which as I expected were out of juice…just like they were 5 months prior, I know weird, right? I decided to drive to Canadian Tire (because Staples wasn’t open yet) to see if they had the adapter I needed…they did not. Upon my return to the truck, dog waiting patiently for her walk, I weighed my options…I could drive all the way across town to get my headphones from the car…but wait, they could be in the shop with the winter tires…hold on. Stop.
In this pause I realized what the moment was trying to tell me. You don’t need your headphones today, take a break from the sounds of others; music, podcasts and audiobooks (all of which I relish on my morning walks.)
This disappointed me at first, but acceptance took hold pretty quick (I think this is what they call surrender). And the rest of this story is about my account of being without distraction of my audio senses (and the others as well).
As Lucy and I headed down the path the first thing I noted was the air, it’s regular Northern chill was absent, it was incredibly warm. Pleasantly so, the way you swim through that warm pocket in a cool lake in the middle of summer and think ooooh that’s nice and then second guess that treat as a red herring of another swimmer’s pee pool. (That was basically accurate except for the urine part.) Walking into the wind, it gently breathed warm air around our bodies as we relaxed into a comfortable cadence of human and dog, tethered by leash.
Continuing down the walking path, I could feel the cushioning of leaves under my Nike’s, I could hear the dehydrated paper-like yellow and brown fragments crackle and disintegrate between our footsteps and the pavement. I could smell the compost of autumn. Smell the rich warmth of air, and in this, my pain momentarily left its strongholds in my body, allowing me to be fully committed to this moment.
Halfway into our walk, I felt the lure of the Fraser River shoreline, which we rarely venture onto for a few reasons. One, I usually am preoccupied with whatever is playing in my earbuds so I don’t consider stopping. Two, the dog will get muddy paws. Three, we may run the risk of stepping on a used needle (as there is a secluded spot nearby that people access to privately inject their drugs). I followed the compulsion to explore, Lucy happy to have a new sensory experience…I guess we’re not so different she and I. Here I took a few pictures to capture morsels of this time together.
In the final stretch, I began to experience the trees and wind as one entity. Strolling down the leaf strewn path I marvelled at the way the wind gently brushed the tree’s branches coaxing their stems to detach from their perch on high, drifting slowly to join the others already talked into this annual leap of faith.
I likened this experience to love. The romance of trees, who grow tall and sturdy and serve our planet so selflessly, so all living breathing things can continue to do so. It is a beautiful relationship. Each season bringing it’s own colour and flourish of stunning beauty.
When the breeze picked up again, I noted how the leaves fell like paper airplane love letters blanketing the ground, sometimes far far away from their point of origin. It is amazing to me how a stationary thing like a tree, rooted firmly in the dirt is able to touch down in another space through the transport of it’s falling canopy. I like to think this is the tree’s way of walking, able to experience a riverbank through one of it’s tiny leaves taken by it’s friend the wind.
And so at the end of our walk, gratitude coursing through my limbs; I marvelled at the experience of walking on this canopy of tall trees, without effort only presence. The beauty of this transition completely humbling and grounding.