I was tired when we began our walk. I wasn’t even sure it was a good idea. But as I trudged up the hill, my feet heavy in my boots, my mind started to clear.
I told myself I didn’t want to think of all the things I still needed to do, I wanted to be present. I wanted to feel the trees as I walked by them, to fill my brain with what was in front of me at the moment I was seeing it.
I focused on my breathing and felt my chest swell, as if it were leading me, the rest of my body following. I let the thoughts that ran through my head do what they wanted, ignoring them, so soon they floated away. As I walked, my feet felt lighter as if I were being pulled along by the upper part of my body.
I breathed in opening my heart and kept it open when I breathed out too.
Suddenly Fate and Zinnia left the path and ran into the woods. I followed them with my eyes and saw the flash of the long upright white tail bobbing like a ghost through the trees.
Soon I got to the place where the deer had been before we interrupted her.
I could tell she was there by the smell. Like urine without the sting and decaying leaves. Not a bad smell, it was earthy and real. Then I saw how the leaves were pushed aside and the ground scratched at where the deer had been searching for something to eat.
The dogs came back as they do and we moved on until Fate stopped. She waited ahead of me where the path can either turn right or go straight. I stopped myself to decide which way to go when I saw the turkeys. There were two of them moving quickly and very quietly, for turkeys.
They hurried out of sight and I decided to take the long path so we wouldn’t disturb them.
I thought of the owl and how we hadn’t seen her in a while. Maybe she had enough of us. Had checked us and figured we were okay and not going to do harm to her woods. I did pay attention to the trees with the holes in them and wondered if she lived in one of them.
My walk in the woods turned out to be restorative. I was less tired when we left the woods than when we started. And now I had perspective about all those things that had occupied my mind, that seemed so important and had to be done right away.
I think my walk in the woods opened me up to earth time. So much slower than human time. Time measured by the season, by a leaf suspended, or a fern still green when all else is turning.