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  • Aram Mitchell

slate sky

After a walk on the trail by the river near our house I stopped and stood still for a spell under the bridge by the trailhead. I spend my days encouraging people to slow down to a pace that allows their spirits to glean sustenance from natural elements. I prompt people: Notice the steadiness of rock. Notice the dynamism of wind. See the pulsing glow of distant stars. See the complicated union of nearby soil.

This is the nature of my work, to encourage people to pay attention to the nature of the world. And still quite often I hurry from one moment to the next, postponing the practice that informs my promptings.

But not yesterday. Yesterday evening after the sun had set I paused for a moment so that my spirit might glean. In the faint light the bare limbed trees on the opposite shore stood stark against the slate of the sky. Their trunks were bundled near the base and branches spread up and out into distinction, like a fistful of wild flowers passed from a child to his parent or a lover to her other.

When I hurry past these encounters I miss most of what they have to offer. But a simple pause and a careful look — just a few breaths worth of time and attention spent tuning in to the music of the wild — in my experience, is enough to open me up to the full swell of that generous moment.

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