9-11: We walked again today, this time west until we crossed the bridge and turned east and eventually found a fallen pine a hundred yards from the River where we sat in silence for a while. Twig seems an unusual dog in that she can sit still as long as I am observing and appreciating her surroundings. We were in the midst mostly of black oak, ponderosa pine, and incense cedar; a fire, probably prescribed, had been through a few years ago and trunks were scorched fifteen or so feet up. Grass, forbs, and bushes along with other dead woody debris cover the land. Soughing of the River made for completion. Sounds probably don’t get nearly the credit they deserve as sources of delight; this beautiful landscape would be diminished without River’s patter. (I read once that the supposed taste of celery was actually mostly its crunch synesthetically merged with its intrinsic flavor—this is like that.) Sitting as I am, I always close my eyes for several minutes to better notice unobtrusive sounds: the few birds calling, breeze and leaf, insects when they’re speaking, and in this place the River. The trees, especially as I have come to know more about their relationships, above and belowground, with one another and with fungi and microbes, become an ashram of sadhus permanently meditating while surreptitiously managing their needs for moisture, nutriment, protection of self and community. They are admirable in so many ways and easy to love. No creature on this Earth is for use only.


Photo by Shane O on Unsplash

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