If Thoreau could have a pond, so can I.
I have been going out to the Bear State Forest about 25 minutes from Lenox and it has become my refuge. It is beautiful, solitary, and I’m watching the seasonal changes happen before my eyes. I have only had time to go once a week on my one day off, so it is my church, my sanity, my communion with nature and myself. I need it and crave it.
I thought I would be finding a new hike to explore each week, but every Sunday I am drawn back to the same pond. I guess if Walden Pond was good enough for Thoreau for a couple of years, once a week on Benedict Pond is ok for me. Silence is broken only by leaves noisily crunching under my feet.
It seems as though I’ve actually learned this whole resting thing that I sought way back in my first post (Meander-81 posts ago!). I am comfortable with the unknown and the realization of “what will be will be” that I learned at the Medicine Wheel (Lessons from a cattle drive ), and it is allowing me to rest in the path laid out before my feet.
As I was hiking around the pond I was struck by something I heard this week in the acting conservatory about our bodies being containers. I let this rattle around in my brain as I hiked and it really started to make sense. The idea is that I am just a container filled with stuff (wisdom, beauty, goodness, anger) whatever the text may need at a given moment. In my daily life this principle works too. I am the container for beauty. I am not beauty but I am the conduit that beauty passes through to others. I’m not wisdom but I am the conduit that wisdom passes through. If I stay open I can be anything! I can be charm, I can be discernment, intelligence because I am just the container. A willing fabulous container. I do have to make a conscious effort to open my lid to be filled and pour out on others, but what a lovely way to live! It takes away all responsibility and greed. I am just the container for good things to pass through to others, so I can’t really take prideful credit, it’s not my doing!
My pond is very special. Someone has made a note box and inside is a composition book, pencils and sharpener. It is situated right near a lovely bench that looks out on the pond. I stop each time and draw and write something in the book. Today I drew a picture of a pitcher, my container, being filled and pouring out wonderful things.
I walked past a tree that is being gnawed by a beaver. When I was little one of my favorite movies was Lady and the Tramp and since that time I have had a soft spot for beavers and dogs eating spaghetti. I can still hear the animated, buck-toothed, lisping beaver saying with a whistle “sthaay, it workths sthwell!” (watch a clip on YouTube ) I’ve always wanted to be able to make that whistling lisp but have never been able to master it. So to see a tree in a partially gnawed state along the path that looked just like the one in the movie, flooded me with excitement. I found a few more toothed trees and then found the smaller pond where there were beaver huts. I cannot wait to go back next week when I have a bit more time and sit silently and wait to see if I can actually encounter my first real beaver in it’s own habitat possibly busy at work storing up food for winter.
My life continues to amaze and delight me. There are new things happening everyday, from hurricane warnings, meeting with school officials for the Shakespeare Festival, being asked to be in a play working with psychiatric patients, watching actors hone their craft, walks in ankle-deep leaves, sharing wine and having reunions with old friends. I am completely where I want to be for now. There is a deep satisfaction in knowing I am where I am supposed to be. And it’s all because I learned to patiently put one foot in front of the other and trust that I am on the right path even if it looks covered with weeds and dimly used.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment;
that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
from the “Conclusion” to Walden