I am definitely finding a reluctancy to plug back into the frenetic pace of life. I feel like that movie A Waking Life where it’s this wonky combination of real life film overlayed with animation. Walking yesterday out of the office at lunchtime to go meet up with some folks, I found myself looking up a lot more – seeing the trees, wondering how they’re doing in the smog, and looking at the glimpses of sky through and sun on the tall buildings. Although I felt rather serene in doing that, I also feel a sense of resignation or sadness to “have to” jump back in whole hog to everything.
I sort of feel like my priorities have shifted. Like everything that was consuming me before I left is like an echo of a memory of a dream. 😉 And I sort of like this ‘one foot in this world’, ‘one foot in another’ kind of feeling, and am sort of curious if I can, and how long I can “keep it up.”
I kept on remembering the very clear sound of the crunching of the leaves and branches under my feet as I wandered off the paths on the 300+ acre camp this weekend. The feeling of my legs lifting up over the dried wiry plants, catching my jeans on them, pausing to plot the best route through the poison oak. (Luckily, I learned a while ago I’m not sensitive to poison oak, but I don’t rub my face in it.) We were given time to simply go sit with nature, find a spot, and sit. Things are so alive and moving out there. It’s like, even if you’re just walking, you don’t even notice. The redwoods creak. It sounds like someone stepping on an old floor board. The sound of the wind coming through the dry leaves on the trees made me wonder at first if there were a highway or a stream near where I was, but no, it was the ebb and flow of the wind having a conversation with itself.
A small bird was pecking its way through a bramble bush near where I was sitting, and although I couldn’t see it for quite some time, I could acutely hear where it was and hear its progression closer to me through the underbrush.
I also took a walk on my own on Sunday morning while a good portion of the women did yoga. I wanted to be outside. I said that I’d had the strangest urge to rent Castaway when I was sick last week, and that I think it was part of my desperate thirst to touch base with the elements. This weekend wasn’t “real” camping, or any kind of fend in inclement weather. But, it was certainly natural.
I walked into the unknown hillside, knowing where the stream was, and wondering if I could get to it from my side. When I couldn’t be sure I could actually get back up the steep drop in time to join the others for breakfast, I still felt drawn to go hang out by the creek. So I went around the other way, climbed over the wooden fence, and crouched by the trickling stream. It was nice to have spent some time not near the water, as sometimes that sound, although harmonious, drowns out what other sounds there were – like the small bird’s progress, and the creaking of the swaying redwoods (which was, by far my favorite sound).
But I squatted by the river – I read once that this stance used to be much more common, and aided in childbirth, but we’ve come away from it as a society – it was nice to squat there, to feel my hip bones sort of melt open and my body familiarize itself with the stretch of my calves and achilles’ tendons. I know according to Seinfield, squatting is a bad naked pose, but that’s okay – I wasn’t naked 😉
I watched the stream’s progression for some time, and noticed where the water level must have previously been judging by the carved out, mossy underside of some tree roots. And I drank from the creek water. (I told a girl later that if I die in a few days, they know why.), but it was so clear, and it was from a running portion of the creek, and … it tasted better than Fiji water. It tasted like clarity, life, calm. And it was so cool, a freshness that I felt as I sipped it from my cupped hand.
You can imagine why, now, coming back to the current reality –which looks like me in front of a computer screen, copy machine, or cataloguing library books– is lacking in a sense of enchantment for me. But, it’s alright. I remember all that of this weekend very clearly. And I made a note too that the stream is now a part of me. I drank from it. Whatever clarity, calm, wholeness it embodies (or doesn’t, maybe it’s just water), I now have that source within me. Surely, perhaps I always have it, but as I crouched down and noticed the fresh eetsy beetsy red leaves of a new poison oak sprout, I laughed at its cheeky, unwavering confidence.