During the middle stage of a meditation walk (the “holding the silence” phase) I will sometimes use this time to allow a most perfect picture to come to me. This is unlike vacation photos where we try to capture the essence of a trip through a multitude of photos – where getting a good shot can take precedence over being fully present to the event/environment itself. This is about being fully present, without searching for a “photo op” and instead staying open to what our surroundings reveal to us in due time and without fanfare. These are more like “oh my” moments that “wooo-hooo” moments.
During this phase, keep yourself focused on the here and now – your pathway, your breath. But also ask to be open to anything in the environment that would make you glad that you stopped and absorbed a moment in more detail. Although I use a small digital camera for photos, you could use your cell phone camera; or, if sans camera, you can take a mental picture by outlining a virtual frame using your two index fingers and thumbs to form a square. Give yourself permission to take up to three pictures, which allows you plenty of silent time along a trail – fewer pictures and your focus disappears too early; more pictures and your walk turns into a photo expedition. I have found that focusing on my walk and allowing my peripheral vision to bring something into focus works best. And, I photograph objects “as they are” – leaving the object, background, shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns unchanged.
The end result is a sense of slo-mo walking, an appreciation for the diversity of life, and an increased sense of awe in the minute details that surround us.
Whenever I think about my favorite hiking spots, not only do I remember my favorite trails, but I also remember my favorite trees. How is it, or perhaps more poignantly, why is it that my mind has this need to identify a specific tree in each location? Or, what is it about a given tree that even puts it on my radar? Here are some of my favorite trees from different trails in the Raleigh, NC area:
I’m undecided if it’s uniqueness or a sense-of-art that brackets my tree choices. But, what I do know is that while I’m ‘connected’ with my trees I feel a sense of wonder and joy and freedom. And, I couldn’t tell you a thing about what type of tree any of these are, because in the moment of connecting it’s all about a hearty ooh-ahh feeling rather than a heady bing.com description!
Trees locations (in order of appearance): 1) Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve (Swift Creek Loop Trail), Cary, NC; 2) Umstead State Park, US-70 entrance (Sycamore Trail), Raleigh, NC; 3) Umstead State Park, I-40/Harrison Ave. entrance (Company Mill Trail), Raleigh, NC; 4) Hinshaw Greenway, Cary, NC; and, 5) Lake Crabtree County Park (Lake Trail), Morrisville, NC.
Posted in Let me say THIS about THAT
Tagged Cary, favorite trees, greenways, Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, hike, Hinshaw Greenway, Lake Crabtree County Park, Leslie Gernon, NC, outdoors, photography, Raleigh, trails, tree photographs, trees, Umstead State Park, walk
It was to be a straight forward dinner get-together with friends on a Friday night. At 6 PM that all changed when my teenage son called to say that his car was at a gas station and wouldn’t start – wouldn’t even turn-over. Since he was nearby, I offered to come by and coach him through his first what-to-do-when-your-old-car-leaves-you-stranded incident. I called my friends to tell them that I’d be late, then headed out on my newly assigned adventure …
- A tire store near the gas station had one of its employees walk over to my son’s car to try to jump it, and to check the battery power. NO GO – but what wonderful unbidden help.
- My son’s friend’s father came by with jumper cables to try jumping the car from his car. NO GO – but I learned about big changes in their family.
- A tow truck driver who couldn’t find the car he was supposed to tow stopped to help us diagnose the problem. In turning the key, to listen to the cranking sounds, the car started! GO – way before our tow truck showed up!
- We drove the running car to our mechanic. At the moment we pulled into the lot, our mechanic for the last 25 years walked out of his repair shop. We talked about worldly social issues and car noises. GO – he would work on the car on Monday.
- Then we drove off in our other car – dropping my son and his friend off at the house. I then headed out to dinner with my friends. GO – back to our original adventures!
No angst, no worry, perfect weather, helpful strangers, important connections – my day was enriched by this detour rather than diminished – for in my attitude of “this is the adventure that I have been given,” all of the pieces fell into place with grace – ease – synchronicity.
Thanks to Alden Jewell for the tow truck photo (Flickr).