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  • Writer's pictureAram Mitchell

on the trunk of the maple

Yesterday I explored a sanctuary of wild nature in my area. It was new to me. There is an old stone wall, once upon a time formed by who knows how many hands and hours. It is low and mossy and it runs alongside the trail that shoulders the ridge on the western edge of the sanctuary. There is what used to be an orchard, now enveloped in the new ecology of a forest that is striving for maturity. There is a stream and the remnants of an old mill. The stream becomes a river. The river becomes an estuary.

I made my way down to the bank of the stream to see if I could find a good spot to sit. These days, I’m trying to remember to sit still for five or ten minutes at a time, even when I have trails to explore. Even when I have new trails to explore, stone walls to build, harvest to reap, grist to mill. Even when I have phone calls to make, meetings to plan, reports to write, strategies to scheme, retreats to schedule, a lawn to mow, meals to prepare, and a shower drain that’s leaking into the basement to fix. Even then, especially then, I’m trying to remember to sit still for a little bit here and there. In the midst of all there is to do, from time to time, I sit still and abide in a moment of being.

There is a pine tree on the bank of the stream that is growing straight up to the sky. I hung my pack on a broken branch on the pine. There is a maple tree that is growing out of the bank at an angle such that the trunk reaches out over the mud and the water. I climbed out on the trunk of the maple and perched for a parcel of stillness. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was mine for a moment and it was enough.

Later I made some phone calls and worked on a project. Today I’m going to find a plumber to fix the shower. I might mow the lawn. And I’m going to see if I can find another spot to perch for a little while.

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