Sunday, August 23, 2009

skin deep

Guided by the young teen on the cusp of manhood, I marvel at his awareness, his knowledge of the birds’ calls (teakettle teakettle), the Carolina wren, the woodland hawk, the cardinal. Compared to the professional naturalist’s one hummingbird nest found in her almost 50 years (and she is one of the best naturalists I know), he has found five in his fifteen years.

He has been listening to, talking with, observing, eating, comparing the natural world around him all his life, so every plant, tree, animal, insect, and of course birds, are within him and part of his skin. He shares this wonderful knowledge with those of us who are accompanying him on the nature walk, with a deep modesty a part of his self-confidence.

We are skipping our single stones across the surface, whereas he has dived into the depths time and again.

He introduces us to the equesitum (horsetail) and its properties, a low-growing feathery and rather beautiful plant whose leaves can clean and scour pans, giving it his respect by informing us (twice) that it is one of the ancient plants.

Sitting now facing the lake, my time for quiet and observation, and, as always, feeling the healing and restorative power of this place. The strongest force for me is the wind, bringing the coolness, the smells of the air so fresh, the beautiful music of leaves, rustling, also delighting in the sight of these leaves winking swaying from the branches. The lake gives its approaching concentric ripples, beautiful in their constantly changing but consistent patterns. A little bit of bright yellow (woodland sunflower) and purple (loosestrife) appear among all the many greens surrounding and on the lake.

The music of the wind and the trees continues to be played; no silence here. It is an August morning, but there has been a change today and the fall approaches.

I am content.

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