Thursday, June 12, 2014

Meditations from the Little Cottonwood Trail

I woke up either with the worst case of allergies I have ever had, or a summer head cold. Still, it was a gorgeous day, and the hike I had planned was pretty easy, so I set out on my first hike of the season. My husband was planning to paint on this hike, so I packed a small pack with some things to do:  a camera, bird book, slim paperback, small notebook, water and a snack. I figured that should tide me over while he painted.

Abandoned mill in Little Cottonwood Canyon

We quickly reached our destination, and I spent some time photographing. Today I had fun focusing on close up shots. The small automatic camera I packed is actually pretty good, and I had fun experimenting.

Little Cottonwood Creek

Rock Wall

Leaves over the creek.

Then I attempted to sketch. I don't think I have drawn anything in a couple of years. To say I was rusty is a gross understatement. Sketching didn't last long. I took pictures of my husband painting instead.

My husband has settled in to paint.

Okay, there are only so many shots you can take of a guy painting. So I pulled out my book. I had grabbed Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift From the Sea" off my shelf on impulse. It is on my list to read this year, and it was lightweight enough to stick in my pack. The opening pages swept me away with wonderful wisdom. 

"Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, and the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open, empty as the beach, erased by today's tides of all yesterday's scribblings. ...Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea."  --Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Here I was, in a very beautiful setting, trying to occupy myself. Suddenly it all seemed wrong. I put the book away, got comfortable, and looked around. The roar of the rushing water filled my ears. Occasionally, droplets of spray flew up and hit my skin. The air was cool and fresh. Wildflowers were starting to bloom. Two robins chased each other through the air.


I reflected on my fitness goal for this week:  meditation. I have had mild, but chronic, tension headaches for the past couple of months, and daily minutes of meditation and relaxation are starting to help. Why not meditate for a few minutes here? The water came into focus, and then blurred in my sight as I relaxed and let go of the tension in my face.  A mountain biker asked me for the time. I responded, and turned back to the water. Two hikers came and went. Meditation has as its goal a stillness of thought, however, distractions come. The important thing is to acknowledge them, and then let them go. Back to the mountain. Back to the water and the play of light on leaves.

I don't have Lindbergh's beach, but I do have the mountains. And for just a little while this morning, I had time.
Time to watch the light change on the ruins of the mill across the creek.
Time to watch the pattern of the water flow.

Time to see butterflies warm their wings in the sunshine.

Time for my hands to turn icy here by the snow-water rushing down stream.

Time to think.

Time to

For directions and info about hiking the Little Cottonwood Trail, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this post brought to mind this passage from Mary Oliver:

    "When it's over, I want to say, all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement,
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms...
    I don't want to end up simply having visited the world."

    Thank you for reminding us to let the world envelop us in return.